Bankruptcy

Here in New York, the theater community is gearing up for the Tony Award season. Which shows will snag coveted nominations for best musical and best play?

In the world of Biglaw, though, there’s no competing with the drama now unfolding at Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once elite and now rapidly imploding law firm. Thus far, the story of Dewey has been dynamic but depressing, more tragedy than comedy.

But might that change? Could the tale of D&L end happily, like a Shakespearean comedy — with a wedding?

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What must it be like right now to be working at Dewey & LeBoeuf? One imagines a lot of whispered conversations, furrowed brows, and closed office doors. It’s a difficult and stressful time at D&L. To our friends at Dewey, keep your chins up (but, at the same time, do what you need to do to protect yourself and your career).

The anxiety at Dewey is increased by the firm’s cash crunch. Lawyers and staff at the firm are having a harder time doing their jobs because certain resources aren’t available to them.

Even in the digital age, with so many documents transmitted electronically rather than physically, FedEx is still a mainstay at major law firms — but not at Dewey. “We are restricted from using the account and now have to rely on UPS or express mail for overnights,” a source at Dewey told us. “Even if a package is labeled to go out via FedEx, when it goes down to mailroom it is relabeled for one of our new shipping methods. Do you know any other company that can stay afloat without FedEx?”

Will Dewey be staying afloat? Let’s hear the latest about other services that D&L lawyers and staff can’t use, some possible partner departures, and the firm’s ambitious plan for saving itself — via bankruptcy….

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(Plus more potential defections, and bankruptcy planning.)”

It’s time for your daily dose of Dewey & LeBoeuf news. There’s a lot to cover, including updates about incoming associates, overseas offices, and contingency planning.

Word on the street is that Dewey is deferring incoming associates to January 2013. We reached out to the firm for comment, and they haven’t gotten back to us yet. But it seems logical for the firm to defer associates to early 2013, given how the situation at D&L remains in flux. By next year, Dewey will have a better sense of its ultimate size and its long-term associate needs.

Of course, incoming associates at Dewey might want to make some backup plans. Which brings us to the other D&L news….

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Judge Bruce Markell

Were there ever a time to use “fail,” as the contemporary vernacular permits, it is now, and in reference to this deplorable display of legal representation: it was an epic fail.

– Judge Bruce Markell, in a recent opinion in a Las Vegas Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, which concluded that the debtors’ attorneys, Barry Levinson and Jeremy Mondejar, should be sanctioned for their ineffective representation.

(What did these Cooley Law graduates allegedly do to irk Judge Markell in this way? Take a look, after the jump.)

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* If Obamacare gets struck down, do you think insurance companies will allow children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26? My Magic 8-Ball says: “Outlook not so good.” [Wall Street Journal]

* There’s no crying in baseball bankruptcy sales! Which Biglaw firms hit a home run for playing a part in the sale of the LA Dodgers? Dewey & LeBoeuf, Foley & Lardner, and Sullivan & Cromwell. [Am Law Daily]

* “Just because you wear a hoodie does not make you a hoodlum.” But a hoodie will definitely prevent you from being recognized on the House floor. Just ask Congressman Bobby Rush. [New York Post]

* Things you can’t do on an airplane? Have a mid-flight nutty. Pilot Clayton Osbon has been criminally charged for his erratic form of in-flight entertainment, and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. [Reuters]

* Guess who’s allegedly been infringing upon a high-end fashion house’s trademarks to the tune of $124M? Gucci was in court yesterday to accuse Guess of engaging in a massive “knock off” scheme. [Bloomberg]

'Hahaha, and then I said that I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

* Was the Obamacare case brought prematurely? Did the Supreme Court’s judicial intervention come too soon? Yesterday’s arguments before SCOTUS can be summed up in four simple words: “That’s what she said.” [New York Times]

* Howrey going to get out of this one? The defunct firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, is trying to decide whether he’ll be bringing adversary claims against the dissolution committee and its members. [Am Law Daily]

* U.S. News is doing what the American Bar Association refuses to do: make law schools its b*tch. Listen up, administrators, because your next “reporting error” could cost you your ranking. [National Law Journal]

* Armed with a treasure trove of new evidence, Facebook has moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit. What does his lawyer from Milberg have to say? A hacker planted all of the evidence, duh. [Wall Street Journal]

* Apparently Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s got hos in different area codes. He’s been keeping his pimp hand strong — so strong, that he’s been charged with aggravated procurement of prostitutes. [Bloomberg]

* Broke your nose trying to walk through a glass wall at the Apple store and now you’re suing for $1M? That’s an app for that! It’s called common sense, and for a limited time only, it’s being offered free of charge. [Forbes]

* All your base are belong to… Rick Santorum? Error! Malfunction! Super Tuesday was not quite as super as Mitt Romney was hoping for. Looks like it’s time to reprogram the Mitt-bot so he can conquer the true conservatives. [CNN]

* And the Cebulls**t just keeps on coming. Now Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for a hearing and an investigation on the consequences of the federal judge’s racist email. [Associated Press]

* After wrapping up a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Lehman Brothers, Weil Gotshal’s bill came to $383M. And sadly, that’s probably going to be the only “spring bonus” associates will see this year. [Am Law Daily]

* Complete pwnage: a handful of LulzSec hacktivists were arrested after their leader, an FBI informant, turned on them. How will this affect the Anonymous movement? More importantly, who cares? [New York Times]

* No postponements for you, Casey Anthony. Try as she might, the acquitted ex-MILF just can’t escape the defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who was only supposed to be make believe. [Washington Post]

* Don’t like Maryland Law’s environmental clinic litigation? Offer another public law school $500K to represent the defendants. Because if anyone would take a bribe, it would be Baltimore Law. [National Law Journal]

Professor William Birdthistle

Welcome to the latest installment of Lawyers & Economics, our occasional video series on financial topics by Professor William Birdthistle of Chicago-Kent College of Law. He’s joined in some of these videos by an acting professional: Johnny Kastl, television actor turned 2L at Iowa Law, better known to some of you as Dr. Doug Murphy of “Scrubs.”

In the last video, Birdthistle and Kastl tackled the Greek debt crisis. Sadly enough, that problem remains unsolved, to the detriment of the world’s financial markets.

Today’s topic isn’t going away anytime soon either. If you have — or are thinking of taking on — student loans, keep reading….

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Howrey dissolved almost an entire year ago, but its bones are still filling warehouses and servers across the world, and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in storage fees.

The firm’s estate is embroiled in the painstaking process of destroying old files or returning them to former clients. There is still a long, long way to go. In today’s Washington Post, we get to see a vivid illustration of the problems involved in putting to rest a massive law firm that bridged the paper and electronic eras.

It is also a good cautionary tale for other firms: these documents will not just go away, even if your firm bites the dust…

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Some people, once they have been defeated, simply give up and fade into the cold, dark night. But others refuse to lie down and be devoured by wolves. Like Liam Neeson, they tape broken bottles to their fingers and strap their hunting knives to their frostbitten hands and fight until there’s nothing left.

A now ex-lawyer from Maryland seems to fall under that second category. She seems to have tried every trick in the book (and several not in the book) to fight getting disbarred.

It didn’t work. And now she’s on the receiving end of an absolutely vicious benchslap.

Was our ex-lawyer of the day unethical? Perhaps. Unprofessional? Maybe. But you can’t say she didn’t try…

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