Blank Rome has entered into a $20 million agreement with the trustee of a former client that is now in bankruptcy to settle a complaint that alleged breach of fiduciary duty, professional malpractice and breach of contract claims against the firm.
The settlement, reached in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court case Miller v. Blank Rome, was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath for the District of Delaware on July 28. Walrath is overseeing the bankruptcy of American Business Financial Services, which is involved in a string of litigation in both state and federal court stemming from its bankruptcy and business dealings.
Blank Rome does not admit any liability or wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, according to the agreement.
Of course they don’t admit liability. Still, $20 million is a lot of dough. Who’s on the hook for that?
* Justice Clarence Thomas cut SCOTUS to go speak to a high school’s graduating class. [NBC Washington]
* The Second Circuit puts the brake on the Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings. [Washington Post]
* Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: New York judges get a vote ruling of confidence in their request for a salary increase. [New York Law Journal]
* Dan Slater wonders whether Morgan & Finnegan’s dissolution is proof that the end is nigh for IP boutique firms. [IP Law & Business]
* The mark of Rove in the DOJ? [True/Slant]
* Delivery woman brings a Miami-Dade prosecutor a pizza. Prosecutor greets her with a knuckle sandwich. [NBC Miami]
The big news story for today, as noted in Morning Docket, is the bankruptcy filing of General Motors. Developments on the GM front are being closely covered over at our sister site, Dealbreaker (which also welcomes a new writer today).
There are some legal angles to the GM story, of course. The bankruptcy will generate lots of work for several top firms, as noted by the WSJ Law Blog and Am Law Daily.
But you don’t need a law degree to play a major role in this drama. From the New York Times:
It is not every 31-year-old who, in a first government job, finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism. But that, in short, is the job description for Brian Deese, a not-quite graduate of Yale Law School who had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took on his nearly unseen role in remaking the American automotive industry….
“There was a time between Nov. 4 and mid-February when I was the only full-time member of the auto task force,” Mr. Deese, a special assistant to the president for economic policy, acknowledged recently as he hurried between his desk at the White House and the Treasury building next door. “It was a little scary.”
Maybe more than a little scary. But YLS grads students can do anything, right?
Find out how Brian Deese landed this gig, and take our reader poll asking what should be done with GM, after the jump.
* A dramatic closer look at Wolf Block’s collapse. [Philadelphia Magazine]
* The media buzz this week on Sotomayor: Her decision in the New Haven firefighters case could be a key issue during her confirmation hearings. [USA Today]
* Minnesota’s Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the Coleman–Franken election race. Yes, it is still going on. [Wall Street Journal]
* GM files for bankruptcy today. Wasn’t it always just a matter of time? [Associated Press]
* U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez has approved Chrysler’s sale of most of its business to Fiat. [Bloomberg]
* A Georgia man is facing execution for murdering an off-duty cop in 1989, even though seven out of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony. Should SCOTUS intervene? [New York Times]
* GM drove its Chevy to the bondholder levy but the levy was dry. Bankruptcy imminent. [Wall Street Journal]
* Is your support for same-sex marriage and opposition to Prop 8 strong enough to risk a citation for jaywalking? [CNN]
* … For more on yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling letting Prop 8 and existing marriages stand, see our post on the topic. [Above The Law]
* Do people outside of New York care about the Brooke Astor trial? The New York media are going crazy over it, but we checked Twitter — our new gauge for public interest — and there’s not much #Astor trial tweeting there. Things did get more interesting for Biglaw ilk yesterday though, when McDermott, Will & Emery partner Henry “Terry” Christensen III took the stand. [AmLaw Daily]
* Almost everything you could want to know about the history and personal life of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor. For example, during her time at boutique firm Pavia & Harcourt defending Fendi, she tracked down a suspicious merchandise shipment in Chinatown and hopped on a motorcycle to chase down suspected counterfeiters. There are also some things you might rather not know. For example, she likes to lunch on tuna fish and cottage cheese. [New York Times]
* Adam Liptak sticks to analysis of Sotomayor’s legal opinions in this piece. [New York Times]
* Republicans slam Obama for his “empathy” standard for his SCOTUS nominee, citing an earlier speech on the Senate floor emphasizing a different standard. [The Washington Post]
* Speaking of Obama, is he “the best lawyer to occupy the U.S. presidency since William Howard Taft”? [Foreign Policy]
* The Yankees held a moot court in a room off the clubhouse. Would you want to face a jury of Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon? [The New York Times]
* The Justice Department has arranged for the first Guantanamo inmate to be tried in a New York court. [The Washington Post]
* Shuttered Chrysler dealers may have a tough time fighting their closures in court, due to the freedom that bankruptcy laws give courts to tear up contracts. [The Wall Street Journal]
* Immigrants are being deported in the middle of their court cases. [The Los Angeles Times]
* President of San Francisco’s Federal Reserve says the economy is getting better. “For the first time in a while, there is some good news to savor.” If by good news, you mean that laid-off lawyers have taken to wearing track suits around the house “savoring” comfort food instead of 6-figure salaries, then yes, there is reason for optimism. [Bloomberg.com]
* Meanwhile, Chrysler’s bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez paved the way for a fire sale of most of the company’s assets. [Reuters]
* A Miami juror, who was on the jury deliberating the case of 6 men accused of conspiring to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago, was replaced for refusing to deliberate. Got to hand it to her for getting out of jury duty. [The New York Times]
* Souter says goodbye, telling the U.S. Court of Appeals that a jurist’s satisfaction is “not in the great moments, but in being part of the great stream.” [The Washington Post]
* Should there be more women in the “great stream” Souter described. Justice Ginsburg says the Court would benefit from another woman. [USA Today]
* Senator Chuck Schumer went to bat for Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who held the job under Clinton and who has just been re-appointed by Obama. [The New York Times]
* The bankruptcy judge has made several decisions to keep Chrysler afloat including allowing a $4.5 billion credit line from the U.S. and Canadian governments. [The Detroit Free Press]
* State attorneys general will meet with Craiglist to discuss the elimination of advertisements for “illegal sexual activities.” [The Associated Press]
* In the Court’s first public appearance since Souter announced his retirement–there were many announcements of decisions and upcoming cases–but no mention of the elephant in the room. One case that will be decided is whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to give minors life sentences for serious crimes like rape. [The Washington Post]
* A group of biker lawyers has gotten together to form a small Los Angeles firm that represents victims of motorcycle accidents. [The Los Angeles Times]
* The story of a Beijing lawyer who took on Communist officials in court is evidence of how little freedom Chinese citizens really have. [The Los Angeles Times]
* Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain testified for 2.5 hours yesterday in New York in Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, but wouldn’t say which employees got some of the $3.6 billion bonus pie before the merger with B of A. How are we supposed to know which men to date when we get laid off? Kidding….[Bloomberg]
* More than 100 clients of a man who pretended to be an immigration lawyer got free advice from Lawyers at the New York City Bar Association. [The New York Times]
* Meanwhile, a Pentagon official who inspected Guantanamo at Obama’s request is under fire from human rights activists for filing a report (which declares Gitmo humane) that is little more than good public relations for the administration. [The New York Times]
* What do you do when your boss gets indicted for securities fraud? You get another job. A team of seven bankruptcy lawyers left Dreier LLP for Epstein Becker Green. [EBG]
* A federal judge encouraged the Obama administration to decide whether to keep pursuing a case against 11 Vietnam War Veterans accused of trying to overthrow Laos’s communist government. [The Associated Press]
* Judge says: UBS must respond to the U.S. lawsuit seeking disclosure of 52,000 names of people who allegedly used Swiss accounts for tax evasion. [Bloomberg]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…