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Patton Boggs, SNR Denton could pick up parts of Dewey & LeBoeuf

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Scott Eells BLOOMBERG Dewey & LeBoeuf 's offices in New York. Washington law firms Patton Boggs and SNR Denton are said to be in talks with embattled New York firm Dewey & LeBoeuf about a potential combination as Dewey continues to lose partners and negotiate with banks to extend a line of credit, the New York Times reports.

Dewey has lost more than 80 of its 300 partners since January, after lower-than-expected profits, promises of hefty pay guarantees to lateral hires and growing debt left the firm unable to pay its partners. Several more partners departed this week to Gibson Dunn, Morgan Lewis and & Bockius and Clifford Chance.

The firm recently ousted former chairman Steven Davis from the five-person “office of the chairman” that was created in March, amid an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into whether Davis misled lenders about the financial state of the firm.

A spokesperson for Dewey did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Times story cites an internal firm memo saying, “We are in discussions with other firms about a possible transaction and will consider those and other options for the firm moving forward.”

It’s unlikely that a single firm will buy what’s left of Dewey, but different firms may take parts of Dewey’s practice groups as part of a lender-approved bankruptcy plan, Bloomberg reported today.

Similar talks between Dewey and Miami-based Greenberg Traurig fell through over the weekend, Greenberg confirmed.

Washington-based Patton Boggs and SNR Denton, which is headquartered in D.C. and London, issued statements declining comment.

“From time to time we have conversations with other firms in connection with our interest in making strategic acquisitions to strengthen our practice,” Patton Boggs managing partner Edward J. Newberry said in a statement. “Out of deference to those with whom we speak, we have always refrained from commenting about such discussions.”

A group of four insurance attorneys left Dewey for Patton Boggs in April.

A firm spokesperson for SNR Denton said that the firm “never comments on rumors about specific discussions.”

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