Dewey Was The First Law Firm To Get Caught Cooking Its American Lawyer Stats: Expert

Steven Davis Dewey LaBoeufEx-Dewey Chair Steven Davis

The bankrupt law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf’s leaders were Ponzi schemers and liars, a leading legal industry expert told BigLaw employees at a scathing panel discussion Thursday.Once-gigantic law firm Dewey went bankrupt in May, as partners began to abandon the firm left and right amid a huge debt load and a criminal probe against its chairman, Steven Davis.

The American Lawyer had to revise the revenue it reported for Dewey just before the firm went bankrupt, expert Bruce MacEwen said at a panel on “Teachable Moments from the Fall of Dewey.”

In April, The American Lawyer reported that Dewey’s management had reported $935 million in revenue for 2011 when the figure was actually $732 million.

“They lied to the American lawyer. This to me is a first,” said MacEwen, an expert on law-firm economics.

At the panel Thursday, American Lawyer reporter Sara Randazzo did not disagree with MacEwen’s assessment that the allegedly cooked revenues were a first.

MacEwen also likened the firm management’s heavy borrowing to pay partners from previous years to a “Ponzi scheme.”

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