Chasing the Dewey Orrick Name Mystery

Thomas E. Dewey famously said, “When you’re leading, don’t talk.”

As the promising merger between the law firm that bears his name, Dewey Ballentine, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe draws closer to completion, the parties are apparently taking his advice to heart when discussing the name of the new firm: “Dewey Orrick.”

Ralph Baxter Jr. and Morton Pierce, the co-chairmen-to-be, could not be induced to comment on the rumor, snatched off the Wall Street Journal’s law blog, that “the Thomas Dewey estate allows them to use the Dewey name only if it comes first.”

There was, however, one leader who was willing to say something.

Dewey Executive Director Dennis D’Alessandro said that the name of the new firm was not influenced by any such agreement. “During the merger discussions between Dewey and Orrick, there were, to my knowledge, no references to provisions in any agreement between the estate of Thomas Dewey and Dewey Ballantine LLP,” said D’Alessandro in a statement Friday.

Another good rumor is on its deathbed. But don’t abandon hope quite yet — while media representatives at Dewey and Orrick said they were unable to locate the agreement with the estate, both made assurances that once it was found all the details would be made available.

Zusha Elinson

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