Le cabinet américain Dewey & Leboeuf a annoncé sa faillite (voir Les Echos), la plus grosse pour un cabinet d’avocat dans l’histoire des Etats-Unis. Il faut dire qu’il avait une dette de 245 millions de dollars, rappelle The Atlantic Wire !

Des raisons de la faillite sont expliquées dans cet intéressant article du New York Times :

Many observers say the root causes of Dewey’s fall are not unique. Several of the largest firms have adopted business strategies that Dewey embraced: unfettered growth, often through mergers; the aggressive poaching of lawyers from rivals by offering outsize pay packages; and a widening spread between the salaries of the firm’s top partners and its most junior ones.

These trends, they say, have destroyed the fabric of a law firm partnership, where a shared sense of purpose once created willingness to weather difficult times. Many large firms have discarded the traditional notions of partnership — loyalty, collegiality, a sense of equality — and instead transformed themselves into bottom-line, profit-maximizing businesses.

Ces dernières années, les cabinets ont repris la course à la taille, même si les plus petites « boutiques » prospèrent aussi.