BDO administrators look at liquidation of Dewey & LeBoeuf

by Suzi Ring

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31 Jul 2012

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ADMINISTRATORS of Dewey & LeBoeuf's UK LLP have proposed moving the business, which comprises the defunct US law firm's London and Paris arms, from administration into liquidation.

The firm's UK LLP, which also includes the Paris office, was placed into administration in May, with BDO business restructuring partners Mark Shaw and Shay Bannon appointed as joint administrators.

BDO's statement of proposals, filed on Companies House last week (27 July), shows the LLP has received £4.2m in unsecured creditor claims, with its associated services arm receiving claims of about £1m. It is estimated that unsecured creditors such as the taxman are owed about £5.2m, Accountancy Age's sister publication Legal Week reports.

After a finalisation of the costs of the firm's administration and settlement of any preferential claims, which could include claims for accrued holiday pay by UK employees as well as claims from French employees who were unpaid in April and May, administrators expect there will be about £600,000 to distribute to unsecured creditors.

Creditors have until 6 August this year to call a meeting to discuss the proposals. The report provides a breakdown of outstanding creditors, with Lebanese firm Abousleiman & Partners – the largest creditor – owed £187,570, while former Paris Dewey partner Christophe Salamon is owed £177,526.57.

The next largest creditors are Eaton Search and Melton Legal Search, each owed £112,800 and £69,600, respectively.

Other details included in the proposal show former Dewey partners Mark Fennessy and Hazel Miller, who took up the role of solicitor managers at the time of the dissolution, were paid a total of £67,845.80 between the period 28 May to 16 July 2012.

BDO also included its current hourly charge out rates in the filings, with an adviser deemed "partner one" charging £658 an hour, while a "partner two" and a director cost £530 and £455, respectively. The breakdown also includes BDO's administrator fees for the period 28 May to 16 July 2012, which have totalled £182,982.43 for the UK LLP and £28,414.45 for the services company.

The news comes after a new Dewey bankruptcy filing has confirmed the identities of six potential merger partners that reviewed the firm's audited financial reports ahead of its collapse.

That list shows that Baker & McKenzie, Greenberg Traurig, Patton Boggs, Reed Smith, SNR Denton and Winston & Strawn were among those that signed confidentiality agreements and received due diligence packages during potential merger discussions.

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