Since its founding in 1875, Dechert has become
an international legal force to be reckoned with. In the United
States, the firm is particularly well-known for 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 time.
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 presence in 1995. In 2000, the firm undertook a
major expansion in the UK through a merger with Titmuss Sainer
Dechert, a leading London law firm. Since then, Dechert has opened
offices in Luxembourg, Germany, Russia, China, Ireland, and most
recently Kazakhstan, Dubai and Singapore.
Dechert's litigators are consistently rated
amongst the best in the U.S. 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 groups. The firm represents the most
significant fund complexes in the industry, drawing on both its
far-reaching domestic and international presence and its practice
leaders, who are considered some of the biggest players in the
Dechert has undertaken a unique training
program for its lawyers, giving every single attorney in the firm
training in legal project management. Small groups of attorneys are
taught how to better handle their client matters, with an emphasis
on increasing communication with the client at the beginning of and
throughout projects and creating visual roadmaps to organize and
streamline the process. The new training program was driven largely
by the firm's desire to provide more efficient service while
managing client costs.
Dechert advised Wells Fargo in relation to its
agreement to purchase commercial real estate loans valued at US$9
billion in the United States, U.K. and Canada from GE Capital Real
Estate as part of an overall transaction valued at approximately
US$23 billion. Wells Fargo purchased performing first mortgage
loans, and private equity firm Blackstone acquired U.S. and
European equity assets as well as first mortgage loans in Mexico,
Australia and the U.S., with Wells Fargo providing financing for
certain of Blackstone's acquisitions.
Dechert advised on the Amex travel business
spinout deal recognized as the Private Equity Deal of the Year at
the International Financial Law Review Americas Awards 2015.
IFLR recognized Dechert for its representation
of the Certares-led group of investors in its US$900 million
purchase of a 50 percent stake in American Express's Global
Business Travel Division. The investor group included Qatar
Holding, a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign
wealth fund; funds managed by U.S.-based investment manager
BlackRock; and Macquarie Capital, an Australian investment banking
New York Law Journal recognized
Dechert's commitment to creating a diverse legal community and the
firm's sustained efforts to reach that goal by including the firm
in its list of Diversity Initiative Honorees 2015.
In addition, Dechert received a perfect score
of 100 percent on the 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a
national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and
practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the
HRC. "We are pleased to be recognized for a third consecutive year
with a perfect score and we will continue our efforts to maintain
and cultivate an inclusive environment," said Dechert Chief
Executive Officer Daniel O'Donnell. "At Dechert we embrace our
differences and we strive to be a firm that reflects the diversity
of the world in which we practice."
Dechert has been named among the Financial
Times' Top 40 North American Innovative Law Firms, ranking
seventh overall. The annual report recognizes firms based on
"originality of the legal work," "rationale" behind strategy and
"the impact of the work on the client's business."
Dechert has also been named among the
Financial Times' Top 50 European Innovative Law Firms.
Dechert was commended in the Social Responsibility category for its
collaboration with Oxfam to conduct an analysis of Kenya's
ratification of the Maputo Protocol bill on women's rights.
Crown Holdings, a global leader in consumer
packaging, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire
EMPAQUE, a leading Mexican manufacturer of aluminum cans and ends,
bottle caps and glass bottles for the beverage industry, from
affiliates of Heineken. Dechert advised Crown Holdings on the cash
transaction, which is valued at approx. US$1.2 billion.
Dechert achieved a ground-breaking litigation
win on behalf of Wisconsin voters in a judgment handed down in the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. A pro
bono team of Dechert litigators spanning the White Collar and
Securities Litigation and Antitrust practice groups across four
offices successfully obtained a final judgment enjoining
Wisconsin's voter photo ID law following a two-week trial held in