May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP co-chairmen Jeffrey Kessler and Richard Shutran left to join rival law firms, leaving just two members of Dewey’s new chairman’s office in place.
Kessler, head of litigation, will start next week at Winston & Strawn LLP, said the firm’s chairman, Dan Webb. Winston & Strawn has hired 22 litigation partners and one energy partner from Dewey, the Chicago-based firm said in a press release. Shutran, head of Dewey’s corporate department, will join O’Melveny & Myers LLP with four other Dewey partners, that firm said in a statement today.
Webb, who was the New York Stock Exchange’s lawyer for its pay case against ex-Chairman Richard Grasso, called Kessler after Dewey told partners in an April 30 memo they were free to explore other job opportunities, he said. Kessler’s sports litigation group is the best in the U.S. and the hirings will add to Winston & Strawn’s group dealing with antitrust and securities litigation, he said in a phone interview today.
“It’s a big transaction,” Webb said. The Dewey lawyers will mostly be based in New York, where Winston & Strawn wants more litigators, with some joining in Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles, he said.
“Winston offers a platform that provides our group a strong foundation for serving our clients at the highest levels,” Kessler said in the press release.
Amid mounting defections in March, New York-based Dewey said it was creating a new chairman’s office with five co-equal members from its most profitable groups. They included Martin Bienenstock, who runs the firm’s restructuring group; Shutran, Kessler; and Charles Landgraf, who runs the Washington office and the legislative and public policy group.
Dewey ousted the fifth member of the chairman’s office, Steven Davis, formerly sole chairman, after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. began a probe into possible wrongdoing at the firm, Dewey told partners in an April 29 memo obtained by Bloomberg.
Michael Sitrick, a spokesman for Dewey, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the departures.
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