Morgan Lewis to hire Dewey Moscow and Almaty offices and three more partners in City

Dewey & LeBoeuf is set to see further departures from its European network, with its Moscow office defecting to Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which is also set to hire an additional three partners in London. Meanwhile a German corporate finance team is leaving to launch a Frankfurt office for McDermott Will & Emery.

The Moscow team, which includes six partners, will launch a local office for Morgan Lewis, with all staff in the office understood to have been offered a job by Morgan Lewis although no-one has formally resigned. In addition to the Moscow launch, Morgan Lewis is also set to take Dewey’s Almaty office with the hire of its sole partner Aset Shyngyssov.

The firm has also agreed to hire a further three partners from Dewey in London, with City banking and finance partner Bruce Johnston set to join alongside Amanda Jennings (finance) and Amy Comer (corporate). Johnston had previously been planning to join Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in London. None of the three partners have resigned from Dewey yet.

News of London hires comes after Legal Week reported yesterday (3 May) that Dewey’s London managing partner Peter Sharp and litigation partners David Waldron – who co-chairs both the firm’s litigation group outside of the US and the energy litigation practice group – and Nick Greenwood are also joining Morgan Lewis in the City.

Sharp, whose last day at Dewey is today (4 May), is also intending to bring across five associates and as many trainees as possible.

Separately, a corporate finance team in Frankfurt has agreed to launch a local office for rival US firm McDermott. The team includes corporate finance partners Philipp von Ilberg and Joseph Marx, as well as local partner Martin Kniehase, and a group of Frankfurt-based lawyers.

The remaining Frankfurt partners are expected to join a range of US firms.

Confirmation of the Moscow team’s defection to Morgan Lewis ends weeks of speculation about the office’s future, with the base previously linked with White & Case, King & Spalding and Baker Botts.

Departures at Dewey have been escalating by the day, with the embattled firm’s London arm this week appointing a crisis management committee to assess options for an orderly wind-down of the business.

Meanwhile yesterday saw the news that the firm is losing an eight partner team to White & Case led by heavyweight US M&A partner Mort Pierce. The firm’s Beijing office, which according to the website has three partners, is understood to be in talks with a number of firms, including Winston & Strawn. Dewey’s Italian and Warsaw offices are also considering their future.