Chadbourne to take over Dewey's New York office

NEW YORK Thu Sep 6, 2012 7:04pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chadbourne & Parke said Thursday it had agreed to lease the abandoned Manhattan headquarters of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the Wall Street law firm that filed for bankruptcy in May.

Chadbourne, a 400-lawyer firm based in New York, agreed to lease 200,000 square feet of space at 1301 Avenue of the Americas, about half the space leased by Dewey. The deal marks the largest lease transaction in New York by a law firm so far this year.

The deal will go a long way toward relieving Dewey's landlord, Paramount Group, Inc, of some of the suddenly emptied space. Dewey itself continues to occupy one floor in the building.

"We're delighted to have closed this complex transaction," Andrew Giaccia, Chadbourne's managing partner, said in a statement. "The deal allows us to take substantial space under attractive terms in the former headquarters of Dewey & LeBoeuf."

Dewey, once one of the largest law firms in the United States, filed for bankruptcy following a raft of partner departures amid mounting financial problems.

Out of 1,040 lawyers globally at the firm, 476 were in New York, according to an annual ranking by the New York Law Journal.

Chadbourne has about 200 lawyers in New York, a spokesman said. At the time Dewey failed, Chadbourne already had been searching for new space since its lease was expiring, said Moshe Sukenik, executive vice president of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the firm's broker.

"Sometimes you don't have to date that long before you get married," Sukenik said.

Chadbourne's lease will run for 20 years and includes two five-year options for renewal. The firm expects to move from its current offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza following the demolition, redesign and build-out of the office space.

Representatives for Paramount Group did not respond to requests for comment. Paramount remains Dewey's second-largest unsecured creditor, with a $3.78 million claim.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

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