Leadership at law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf might be engaging in some magical thinking. The storyline would take the form of pressing a "delete" button in the universe and ongoing media coverage of its problems vanish. Those articles in themselves, as happens all the time, might have become more of a headwind to deal with than the firm's underlying difficulties.
The media feeding frenzy started when the former sole chairman Steven Davis issued what many of us watchers considered an ill-advised bit of written communications. Had Dewey & LeBoeuf run that by savvy public relations counsel, Davis probably would have not put anything in writing during this transitional time at the firm, never mind a memo which coldly announced personnel cuts. This blog was among the outlets which covered that.
Since then the firm has restructured itself to have a multiple member Office of the Chairman. That seemed to be an appropriate and productive first step on a possible turnaround. Meanwhile, the media hunted for new angles to keep the story running. Mostly the focus has been partner defections. The latest and perhaps the weakest attempt is the headline in the RECORDER which reads "Dewey's Calif Rainmakers Bombarded With Calls As Defections Mount." The article reports that among those being bombarded are partners in Silicon Valley dealmaking, LA bankruptcy, and SF intellectual property.
However, rainmakers in just about every field of professional services are being bombarded with calls from headhunters. That's always been the way it is. And that's exactly why the leadership at those firms and agencies bend over backwards to keep the rainmakers happy. The name of the game in professional services is to bring in new business as well as attempt to increase business from current clients. It's not enough for a professional employed there, at least after the first few years, to be a good worker bee. It's rare those kind become partners in law firms and principals in public relations agencies. The up or out ethos includes learning to become an effective rainmaker. Here is a talk I delivered on approaches for this which go beyond simply leveraging social media Download Rainmaking. Value is determined by the quality and amount of rain made.
If media continue to keep this story alive through leveraging this kind of an angle there could be a backlash. Sympathy and support could start to form for Dewey & LeBoeuf. At this point, if I could bring in new business for the firm I would.