90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Dewey And LeBoeuf And The Woes Of The Legal Industry

We look at the business of law in trouble and the crumbling of the venerable New York firm Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Venus De Milo sculpture in front of the Calyon building in Manhattan, home of the Dewey & Laboeuf LLP headquarters. (Courtesy Michelle Verdugo)

Venus De Milo sculpture in front of the Calyon building in Manhattan, home of the Dewey & Laboeuf LLP headquarters. (Courtesy Michelle Verdugo)

For years, we’ve watched giants of American industry fall down and wondered where it would end.  Well, the law is an industry too.  Law firms.  The legal profession.  The business of law.

And this week one of the biggest law firms in the country – the world – Dewey & LeBoeuf, out of New York, is flying apart in spectacular fashion.  Millionaire partners fleeing.  Meltdown.  And a whole industry, from law schools to lone lawyers, wondering what comes now.

This hour, On Point:  the business of law, in trouble.  Plus, we check in on the U.S.-China deal over blind, “barefoot lawyer” Chen Guangcheng.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jennifer Smith, legal affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Trotter, partner at the law firm Taylor English Duma, he’s practiced corporate law for five decades. Author of “Profit and the Practice of Law: What’s Happened to the Legal Profession.”

Bill Henderson, professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow at Indiana University.  Director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

C-Segment: Chen Guangcheng Update

Jerome Alan Cohen, professor of law at New York University School of Law.

From Tom’s Reading List

DealBook “The crisis confronting the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf has stunned the legal profession. About 70 of Dewey’s 300 partners have left since January after their salaries were slashed because of the firm’s weak financial performance. Dewey’s woes hardly surprise Michael H. Trotter, a partner at Taylor English Duma in Atlanta who, in addition to a five-decade career as a corporate lawyer, has written two books about the economics and management of law firms.”

Businessweek “Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, as it faces a possible bankruptcy after losing more than 80 lawyers, is near an agreement with banks about extending its line of credit, a person familiar with the talks said.”

The Wall Street Journal “The former chairman of New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP was stripped of his remaining leadership roles Sunday, as law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP called off discussions on a possible deal with the struggling firm. While official talks are over, Greenberg leaders are continuing informal efforts to cherry-pick certain Dewey lawyers and practice groups, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment