If any Heller Ehrman attorneys were hoping that a major firm would sweep in and hire a whole bunch of Hellerites, the Dissolution Committee is warning you not to hold your breath. The Recorder reports:
On Tuesday, Peter Benvenutti, the chairman of the dissolution committee now controlling the firm, confirmed whispers that Baker & McKenzie and Winston & Strawn, both one-time merger candidates, had withdrawn proposals to pick up large groups of lawyers and their expensive real estate. While Benvenutti would not say whether deals on this scale are being discussed with any other firms, he did say there’s interest in taking over certain of the firm’s leases, and “we expect to have clarity in a day or two.”
At this point, why would Baker or Winston Strawn take on expensive lawyers when they can just sit back and cherry pick the superstars they want? We haven’t heard any story of a Heller rainmaker saying “If I come, these 30 people are coming with me.”
We mentioned that litigation boutiques would likely be big winners from the market collapse. Some small firms are already cashing in. The bankruptcy boutique of Luskin, Stern & Eisler has merged with Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
There was enough room on the Hughes Hubbard bandwagon for everybody at Luskin. All eight lawyers will be joining Hughes Hubbard’s bankruptcy practice, with name partner Richard Stern becoming the co-chair of the group.
The merger makes perfect sense if Hughes Hubbard is trying to position itself to capitalize on creditor actions coming out of the Wall Street meltdown. Of course, that is not what Hughes Hubbard says they are doing:
Hughes Hubbard says it is merely a coincidence that the deal was finalized after a week of heavy financial turmoil.
“We had wanted to do this for a while,” James Modlin, co-chair of the firm’s lateral hiring committee, tells The Am Law Daily. “Starting last summer, we realized the time was right to bolster our bankruptcy practice. Bankruptcy goes in cycles, and we were thinking this might be a boom time.”
Maybe Hughes Hubbard does own the world’s best Magic 8 Ball. However they planned this acquisition, they got the execution exactly right.
In case you hadn’t heard, Wall Street is in meltdown mode right now. Our colleagues over at Dealbreaker have been working over the weekend and around the clock to cover all the latest developments.
Here are the two big stories from the financial world. First, the top-level parent company of Lehman Brothers, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (But no sleeping in for Lehmanites; they have been informed that they’re still expected to show up to work this morning.)
Second, Merrill Lynch, the investment bank that some feared might be next to go down the Bear Stearns / Lehman Brothers path, has reached a deal to sell itself to Bank of America, for $50 billion.
What do these deals mean for lawyers? Well, at least in the short term, they bring good news: more work. (Over the long term, of course, the news may be less good, as current and potential future clients vanish from the landscape on Wall Street.)
For its bankruptcy, Lehman is turning to Weil Gotshal & Manges, long known for its top-notch bankruptcy practice. From Dealbook:
Lehman has hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the law firm that handled Drexel [Burnham Lambert]‘s bankruptcy filing [in 1990]. Harvey Miller, the head of Weil’s restructuring practice, is known as one of the deans of the bankruptcy bar.
In addition, Lehman is trying to sell its more valuable assets, including its broker-dealer and asset-management operations. It appears to be represented in those efforts by Sullivan & Cromwell, according to TheDeal.com (subscription). Meanwhile, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a powerhouse in financial-institutions M&A, is getting a piece of the action on the Merrill deal. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Merrill / B of A deal was hammered out in “a marathon series of meetings at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the law firm which has long represented Bank of America in its deals.” Wachtell isn’t lending out their offices for free. As TheDeal.com reports, WLRK is indeed representing Bank of America in the transaction (for a fee that will be well into the eight figures — Ed Herlihy doesn’t come cheap). Merrill Lynch is being advised by Shearman & Sterling.
If you’re aware of other winners and losers from these deals, please share what you know, in the comments. Lehman Announces Bankruptcy Filing For Holding Company [Dealbreaker] Bank of America Reaches Deal To Buy Merrill Lynch [Dealbreaker] What a Lehman Bankruptcy Filing Might Look Like [DealBook] Bank of America to Buy Merrill [Wall Street Journal]
With the U.S. economy in the toilet, third tier or otherwise, law firms are building up their bankruptcy practices. They’re eagerly scooping up lateral associates in the field — and partners, too. From the American Lawyer:
A rough 18 months for Mayer Brown got a little worse on Monday, when San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced that Raniero “Ron” D’Aversa Jr., the co-chair of Mayer’s restructuring and bankruptcy practice, would join Orrick immediately.
Considered a rising star of the bankruptcy bar, the 44-year-old D’Aversa — whose book of business is said to exceed $5 million by sources familiar with his work and reputation — will be based out of the New York office of Orrick. The firm placed 27th in this year’s Am Law 100 rankings with gross revenues of $772,000 and profits per equity partner of $1.7 million.
As expected, bankruptcy attorneys are once again in demand. So we’re highlighting an opportunity for junior associates in this week’s Job of the Week, brought to you by Lateral Link. This position qualifies for Lateral Link’s $10,000 signing bonus. (Lateral Link has paid out over $200,000 in signing bonuses this summer.)
Lateral Link has junior bankruptcy positions at some of the more sought-after firms in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago (like the one below). For information on these other positions, please contact your personal search consultant. Position: Bankruptcy associate Location: Chicago, IL Description: A top Chicago-based law firm seeks junior bankruptcy associates. For more information about this position, or to apply, please see Position 9585 on Lateral Link.
If you are not already a Lateral Link Member, you can apply at www.laterallink.com. Also, because of the tremendous growth in Lateral Link’s membership, Lateral Link is actively looking to hire additional search consultants in Washington DC and Texas. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Just One Word: Bankruptcy! [New York Magazine]
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but résumés from refugees of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft are all over the street right now. One recruiter, at an outside headhunting firm, described receiving “a flood” of CWT résumés in the past week. An in-house recruiting coordinator at an Am Law 100 firm agreed, noting that, interestingly enough, a number of the CWT submissions appear to be from lawyers in departments largely untouched by the layoffs. People at Cadwalader seem to be heading for the exits, in droves — even lawyers in “safe” practice areas.
We can hardly blame them. When it comes to career planning these days, being proactive and playing defensively is smart. If you think there’s even a chance you might be laid off from your law firm (or that your law firm might dissolve), start exploring your options early. As the conventional wisdom goes, it’s generally easier to find a job when you have a job.
To be sure, five months of severance, which is what Cadwalader is giving the 96 lawyers it axed last week, is generous (but justified — lawyers who survived the January layoffs were told they’d have jobs at least through the end of the year). But five months goes by more quickly than you’d think — and the job market, as everyone knows, is crappy not great. As reported by Am Law Daily, ten of the victims of the January layoffs at Cadwalader have yet to find new jobs, some seven months later.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, Cadwalader continues to bring on new people, even as it sends almost 100 attorneys into the unemployment wilderness. We got our hands on an email that was sent around firm-wide today, without even taking the dismissed attorneys off of the distribution, announcing the arrival of a new bankruptcy associate.
Check it out, after the jump.
Earlier in the week, this email went out to all the lawyers in the Restructuring Group at Kirkland & Ellis, from the head of the group:
04/01/2008 10:58 AM To: #FW Restructuring Attorneys Subject: Upcoming Dress Code Program
As part of our KIRT [Kirkland Institute of Restructuring Training] programs, I am pleased to announce a “dress for success” program, which will be held on each Monday for one hour for the next four weeks. I have arranged for outside speakers from a number of prominent men’s and women’s fine clothing stores to lead the programs. In light of the number of button down shirts being worn with suits and the number of associates (mostly, male) wearing boring and mismatched ties and shiny suits, the program is highly needed. Attendance for the program is strongly encouraged.
We’ve seen how bankruptcy lawyers dress. This is a wise idea. Just don’t bring in the Cleary Anti-Afro Lady.
Also — was the reference to the sartorial dubiousness of wearing button-down shirts with suits a shout-out to ATL? See here.
More after the jump.
As we previously mentioned, Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma announced his plan to resign from the bench, after he was arrested for DUI (while wearing women’s clothing). We questioned Judge Somma’s decision to step down:
Is this really that big a deal? When you strip away the women’s clothing, colorful but irrelevant details, you’re left with a DWI arrest — which, while not exactly commendable conduct, is something other judges have survived.
And we’re not alone. This message is making the rounds of the bankruptcy bar:
As I am sure most will agree, the news of Judge Somma’s resignation was disheartening. We are hopeful that Judge Somma will reconsider his decision with the support and encouragement of a significant portion of the bankruptcy bar.
Attached is a letter which several of us intend to submit to Chief Judge Boudin of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, with a copy to Judge Somma. If you would like to join us, please advise us at your very earliest convenience, and we will add your name as a “signatory”.
We intend to submit the letter to Chief Judge Boudin by the close of business tomorrow, Thursday, February 28, 2008. In the event that you cannot respond by then, but nonetheless are supportive, please so advise either of us by return email at your earliest convenience, and we will endeavor to supplement the list of supporters as may be appropriate. Otherwise, as no amount of support can be too great, if you wish to send your own personal letter of support, we also encourage you to do so as well.
Please feel free to circulate this email to those who may not be included in our list of email addresses and thank you for your assistance.
Alas, it appears the submission deadline has passed (close of business yesterday). But if you’d like to submit your own letter of support, you can use the previously sent letter as a model. Check it out, after the jump.
By all accounts, Robert Somma had been a top-notch U.S. bankruptcy judge since his appointment to the bench in 2004 and a top-notch bankruptcy practitioner for many years before that. The sense of many in the Boston area is that the 63-year-old’s retirement Friday from his $158,000-a-year bench seat is a tragedy….
A footnote to this story is that a legal-blogger may have contributed to the judge’s decision to resign.
No, not us! By the time we got to the story, it had been all over the news. Also, for the record, we fully support transvestism.
More after the jump.
There are reasons to read the New Hampshire Union Leader even after primary season is over. Check out this great article:
A Boston-based federal judge wore a black cocktail dress, fish-net stockings and high heels when police arrested him for drunk driving after he rear-ended a pickup truck last week, sources said.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Somma, 63, struck a plea deal with the city Wednesday in which he pleaded no contest to a first-offense misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge in Manchester District Court. In exchange, the judge agreed to pay $600 in fines and penalties and a 12-month license suspension….
The arresting officer made no mention of the judge’s attire in the written report police provided to the media other than to note the judge “had a difficult time locating his license in his purse.”
Two sources confirmed Somma was wearing a cocktail dress, women’s hose and high heels when his Mercedes-Benz E320 sedan struck a pickup truck stopped at a red light on Elm Street about 11:29 p.m. on Feb. 6.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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