By Casey Sullivan
(Reuters) - The wind-down team of defunct Wall Street law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf revealed the identities of partners participating in a proposed $71.5 million settlement on Thursday night, and disclosed how much money each partner had agreed to pay.
The settlement, if approved, would be the first major recovery for creditors who claim they are owned more than $500 million.
Partners are agreeing to contribute back compensation -- between $5,000 and $3.5 million each -- in exchange for being released from potential clawback claims. The amounts contributed are pegged to the partners' compensation at the firm.
Lawyers who agreed to contribute the most to the settlement included Berge Setrakian, a corporate lawyer now at DLA Piper, who pledged $3.5 million; and white-collar defense lawyer Ralph Ferrara, the firm's former vice chairman, now with Proskauer Rose, who agreed to pay $3.36 million.
Morton Pierce, another former vice chairman of Dewey, now with White & Case, is slated to pay $1.02 million. Pierce, a prominent mergers and acquisitions lawyer, had been the chairman of Dewey Ballantine, which merged in 2007 with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in 2007.
Dewey once employed more than 1,000 lawyers in 26 offices worldwide, but in May it became the largest U.S. law firm to file for bankruptcy. Its demise has been largely attributed to compensation guarantees the firm made to a significant portion of its partners.
Other top lawyers at Dewey participating in the settlement include Martin Bienenstock, Dewey's former bankruptcy head now also at Proskauer, who agreed to pay $643,000. Richard Shutran, Dewey's former corporate head who moved to O'Melveny & Myers, is slated to contribute $665,000.
The list names 444 former partners accepting the settlement, which is slightly lower than previously reported. Out of the 444 former partners, 56 of them have agreed to pay the minimum allowed in the settlement of $5,000.
Three former Dewey executives excluded from the settlement including former chairman Steven Davis challenged the deal earlier this month, objecting to the fact that the identities of partners participating in the settlement were kept confidential.
The executives were left out of the settlement because they are considered to be the most culpable in Dewey's demise, a member of Dewey's unsecured creditors committee said Thursday. The executives said they needed the names of the settling partners in order to prepare for their defenses.
The disclosure of the identities came as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn considered the $71.5 million settlement proposal.
The former Dewey partners named in this story did not immediately return a request for comment.
(Reporting by Casey Sullivan; editing by Eileen Daspin and Andrew Hay)
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