Dechert LLP
Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
No. of offices 27 total (14 international)
No. of attorneys approximately 900 (2013)
Major practice areas General practice
Key people CEO Henry Nassau,
Chairman Andrew J. Levander
Date founded 1875
Founder Wayne MacVeagh and George Tucker Bispham
Company type Limited liability partnership
Slogan Distinctively Dechert

Dechert LLP is an international law firm of more than 900 lawyers with top-ranked practices in corporate and securities, complex litigation, finance and real estate, and financial services and asset management. Dechert has offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It was founded in Philadelphia and is registered as a limited liability partnership under Pennsylvania law.


The firm's first predecessor was formed in 1875 by Wayne MacVeagh and George Tucker Bispham. MacVeagh had previously served as United States Ambassador to Turkey, and went on to become United States Attorney General under President James Garfield and also United States Ambassador to Italy during the 1890s. Bispham was made a professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1884. Another future U.S. Attorney General, Francis Biddle, also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, joined the firm in 1916. In its early years, the firm represented a number of banks, railroads, and coal companies.[1]

During World War II, the firm lost many of its attorneys to the war effort, and combined with another Philadelphia-based law firm, Dechert, Smith & Clark, which had been founded in 1930. The firm began creating specialized practice groups shortly after the war.[1] After a series of name changes in the early 1960s, the firm decided not to change its name whenever its most senior partners retired or died; it remained Dechert, Price & Rhoads for several decades thereafter.

During the 1980s, Dechert represented Getty Oil Company in its acquisition by Texaco. This is the deal that led to the notorious Pennzoil v. Texaco case, which resulted in a Texas state court verdict for Pennzoil for $10.53 billion, forcing Texaco to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[1]

International expansion

Dechert opened its first European office in Brussels in 1968. Four years later, Dechert opened a London office. The firm established a presence in Paris in 1995 and undertook a major expansion in the United Kingdom through a merger with Titmuss Sainer Dechert, a leading London law firm, in 2000. Since then, Dechert has opened offices in Luxembourg (2001), Munich (2004), Hong Kong (2007), Beijing (2008), Moscow (2009), Dublin (2010), Los Angeles (2011), Frankfurt (2012), Almaty (2012), Dubai (2012), Tbilisi (2012), Chicago (2012) and Singapore (2014).

Practice areas

The firm's core practices are corporate and securities, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and corporate finance; litigation, emphasizing antitrust, product liability, and white collar and securities defense; finance and real estate, with a focus on mortgage finance, structured finance, securitization, and investment; financial services, focusing on mutual funds, hedge funds, variable products, broker-dealer, commodities, derivatives, and investment advisers; and intellectual property, emphasizing patent litigation, IP prosecution and licensing, off-shoring and outsourcing, and privacy and data protection.

The firm also has well-established practices in tax, bankruptcy, employment, health, energy and environmental law, and international trade. The firm has a particularly comprehensive life sciences group.

Notable lawyers and alumni

Dechert's headquarters moved to Philadelphia's Cira Centre in 2005.

Pro bono activities

Dechert has been recognized among the top 10 U.S. law firms for pro bono work in The American Lawyer's Pro Bono Survey, an annual report which rates the nation's 200 highest grossing law firms based on their level of pro bono activity. The report measures the average number of pro bono hours per lawyer as well as the percentage of lawyers who performed more than 20 hours of pro bono work. In August 2014, Dechert received the American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award.

In 2011, Dechert lawyers averaged 101.4 hours of pro bono work, with 92.8% completing more than 20 pro bono hours. Suzanne Turner, chair of the firm's pro bono practice, was also noted for her groundbreaking efforts to increase pro bono work globally, including roundtables she has convened for U.S. and U.K. firms in Munich, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong since 2007.

"In many parts of the world, including the United States, the legal needs of the poor continue to go unmet," said Turner. "Dechert’s pro bono program aspires to play a role in narrowing that justice gap and ensuring that individuals and organizations, who otherwise would not be able to afford a lawyer, receive legal assistance."[2]

Dechert lawyers handle pro bono matters covering issues such as civil rights, international human rights, child advocacy, special education, access to public benefits, asylum, landlord-tenant matters and the representation of numerous nonprofit organizations. Since 2004, Dechert attorneys have been filing habeas corpus petitions on behalf of captives held in extrajudicial detention by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay.[3] Recent pro bono successes include securing a settlement on behalf of voting rights groups and individuals in Georgia for the state's failure to comply with the National Voter Registration Act; achieving a class action settlement on behalf of inmates in Passaic County, NJ to correct unconstitutional and inhumane conditions at the Passaic County Jail; launching private investment funds on behalf of the Eleos Foundation, a non-profit organization that invests in and partners with social entrepreneurs to help eradicate poverty in developing nations; and reuniting an Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. military with her two sons as part of a partnership with the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies.

Dechert is a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®[4] and is also a signatory to the United Kingdom's Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work.[5] The firm annually dedicates three percent of its total billable hours to pro bono work and requires all U.S.-based attorneys to perform a minimum of 25 hours of pro bono work per year.[6]

Dechert has received the following awards in recognition of its pro bono achievements:


External links

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