Dewey partners leave for KPMG and A&O as exits this year pass 70

Dewey & LeBoeuf has seen two more senior exits including the departure of London tax partner Fred Gander to accounting giant KPMG.

The latest departures, which have taken total partner losses so far this year past 70, have also seen Washington DC project finance partner Gregory Smith leave to join Allen & Overy’s (A&O’s) recently launched based in the US capital.

Gander, a tax lawyer who joined legacy Dewey Ballantine in 1986 and led the firm’s London office prior to its 2007 merger with LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, is joining KPMG’s US arm to head its US tax practice for Europe and the Middle East.

He is also the head of Dewey’s European supervisory committee and is known throughout the firm as one of its most successful tax lawyers.

He recently stood down from the firmwide executive committee as a part of a wider group of partners leaving the committee in protest at the way management has been dealing with the firm’s issues, according to partners within the firm.

Meanwhile, Smith, who joined A&O in Washington on Friday (20 April), represents clients in the development, financing, and privatisation of infrastructure projects, particularly in emerging markets. The magic circle firm launched in Washington DC last June with the hire of three O’Melveny & Myers lawyers.

US managing partner Kevin O’Shea did not immediately return calls seeking comment yesterday (23 April), but an A&O spokesperson confirmed the hire in a statement. A Dewey spokesman had no comment on Smith’s departure.

Smith appears to be the first Dewey partner this year to head to A&O, which has offices in 27 countries, including US offices in New York and Washington DC.

News of Smith’s departure comes on the heels of a week that saw Dewey lose at least 14 partners, including a five-partner energy and infrastructure team to Hunton & Williams in New York, a pair of corporate partners to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in New York, four partners to Dechert in London and Dubai, and individual partners to Cozen O’Connor, Dorsey & Whitne, and O’Melveny & Myers.

At least six of the 70 partners to leave Dewey so far this year were based in Washington DC, including the former head of the office, Abraham Shashy, who left for King & Spalding in early February.

With partner losses mounting and questions swirling about its finances, Dewey is weighing up various options for its future, with the filing of a so-called prepackaged bankruptcy reportedly under consideration. Greenberg Traurig, meanwhile, has confirmed that it has held preliminary talks about taking on an unspecified number of Dewey lawyers.

The Am Law Daily is a US affiliate title of Legal Week.

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