Since its founding in 1875, Dechert has become
an international global legal force to be reckoned with. In the
United States, the firm is particularly well-known for its
corporate practice, especially in international M&A and
securities. The firm also focuses on litigation and is recognized
for this work.
Dechert was originally formed under the name
MacVeagh & Bispham (and later was known as Barnes, Myers &
Price) by George Tucker Bispham and Wayne MacVeagh. MacVeagh would
eventually leave the firm to become US Attorney General and then
ambassador to Italy. During World War II, the firm saw many of its
attorneys leave to join the war effort. In response, the firm
merged with Dechert, Smith and Clark.
In the late 1990s, Barton Winokur became
chairman and CEO of the firm and began reshaping the firm's
business model. Winokur focused on becoming more specialized, and
like any savvy businessman would, he made sure those specialties
were high-revenue practice areas: private equity, intellectual
property and white collar criminal defense. The new business model
paid off, with the firm handling such matters as V&S Vin &
Sprit's-producer of Absolut Vodka-sale to French beverage company
Pernod for $8.9 billion and New World Resource's IPO, which listed
on three different exchanges in London, Prague, and Warsaw and
raised a staggering £1.3 billion-the largest European IPO at the
Dechert was also one of the first US firms to
expand internationally, opening a European office in Brussels in
1968, followed by a London office four years later. The firm
established a Paris office in 1995. In 2000, the firm undertook a
major expansion in the UK through a merger with Titmuss Sainer
& Webb, a leading London law firm. Since then, Dechert has
opened offices in Luxembourg, Germany, Russia, China, Ireland, and
most recently Kazakhstan, Dubai, Tbilisi, and Singapore.
Dechert's litigators are consistently rated
amongst the best in the country. Firm chairman Andrew Levander is a
leading white-collar criminal defense lawyer, and is no stranger to
defending prominent Wall Street executives including John Thain,
the former chief executive at Merrill Lynch, in a government
inquiry related to his role in Merrill's sale to Bank of America;
Ezra Merkin, a hedge fund manager who invested with Bernard L.
Madoff; and John Corzine, the former chief executive of securities
firm MF Global Holdings Ltd.
In addition, Dechert has one of the world's
premier financial services practices. The firm represents 18 of the
top 20 global asset managers, drawing on both its far-reaching
domestic and international presence and its practice leaders, who
are considered some of the biggest players in the market.
A Supportive Culture
Dechert has found a unique way of rewarding
mentoring within the ranks through its "Exceptional Teacher Awards"
program. Associates and practice groups nominate the most proactive
associate and partner teachers who have made exceptional efforts to
train and develop the firm's associates. Nominations are reviewed
by a formal committee of partners and associates and recipients are
awarded $10,000 and receive a commemorative plaque.
Free at Last
Dechert, together with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, has
helped Shaurn Thomas attain his freedom after 24 years spent in
prison for a crime he did not commit. On May 12, 2017, the District
Attorney's Conviction Review Unit agreed to vacate Thomas'
conviction in the interests of justice. On May 23, the Philadelphia
District Attorney's Office made a formal request to vacate Thomas'
murder conviction. Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge
Rosemarie DeFino-Nastasi vacated Thomas' conviction and sentence,
and he was released from the State Correctional Institution at
Frackville later that evening. The judge will hold another hearing
at which time the Philadelphia District Attorney's office will
announce if they will retry Thomas. Thomas, 43, was represented on
a pro bono basis since 2011 by Senior Staff Attorneys James
Figorski and Helen Santoro, and Retired Partner Thomas Lee.
Riding the Wave
Dechert LLP assisted The WhiteWave Foods Company, a leading
consumer packaged food and beverage company in North America and
Europe, in obtaining U.S. and EU antitrust/competition law
clearances, enabling WhiteWave to close on its US$12.5 billion
acquisition by Danone SA, a global food company, based in Paris. To
secure clearances to close, Danone and WhiteWave agreed with the
United States Department of Justice to divest Danone's U.S. dairy
subsidiary Stonyfield Farms, Inc. and with the European Commission
to divest Danone's "growing-up milk" business in Belgium. The
cross-border Dechert antitrust/competition team advising WhiteWave
included D.C.-based partners Paul Denis and Craig Falls and
Paris-based partner Melanie Thill-Tayara.
Securing the Cyber
BTI Consulting Group has named Dechert LLP as a leading law firm
in cybersecurity. BTI identified Dechert as a firm that stands out
among other large firms for its exceptional cybersecurity
practices. The law firms named to the list were recognized in the
report for being client-oriented and "proactively taking a
ground-up approach." BTI Law Firms Best at
Cybersecurity is based on 324 in-depth telephone
interviews with leading legal decision makers. Dechert's data
privacy and cybersecurity practice advises companies on global
cybersecurity programs to protect digital infrastructures while
continuing to maximize benefits of data profiles as they operate
The Financial Times has ranked Dechert among the
top 10 most innovative firms in North America for innovating
to solve clients' business challenges in its 2016 "North America
Innovative Lawyers" report. Boston-based patent strategist Andrea
L.C. Reid was honored as one of just 10 individuals
shortlisted as "Legal Innovator of the Year." Reid also won the
"Legal Expertise" category entitled "Enabling Clients to Innovate"
for work on behalf of drug discoverer Nimbus Therapeutics. The firm
also won the "Innovation in Social Responsibility: Pro Bono Cases"
category for its efforts in the trafficking of domestic
Law Firm of the Year
Dechert LLP has been named "Law Firm of the Year" in Mutual
Funds Law in the U.S. News & World Report and Best
Lawyers "Best Law Firms" rankings for 2017. The "Best Law
Firms" rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, peer
review, and information provided on the Law Firm Survey and the Law
Firm Leaders Survey. As a full service firm, Dechert is a leading
adviser to financial services firms, asset managers and investment
funds, representing clients ranging from small start-up and
boutique operations to some of the largest financial institutions
in the world.
Dechert LLP's representation of hedge fund manager Elliott
Management and affiliate NML Capital in relation to a 13-year legal
battle triggered by Argentina's 2001 default on $100 billion of
debt has been named Global Dispute of the Year by The American
Lawyer as part of its 2016 Global Legal Awards program. The
firm's representation of NML Capital in the Argentine bond dispute
was ranked first in the "U.S. Litigation (Finance)" category in
July. It was subsequently selected by The American Lawyer
as the overall winner among disputes that best exemplify the
challenges of transnational legal practice.