Cars

gm-ten.jpgThe 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Deferred and Looking for a Project? Go Save the American Auto Industry”

Madlyn Primoff Kaye Scholer mugshot.jpgMadlyn Primoff, a partner in the bankruptcy and business reorganization group at Kaye Scholer, left her two daughters by the side of the road in White Plains. According to the New York Daily News:

A prominent Park Avenue lawyer was arrested after cops said she got so angry at her young daughters that she kicked them out of her car – and drove off.

Madlyn Primoff apparently couldn’t bear any more squabbling between her 10- and 12-year-old daughters Sunday and booted them out of the car in White Plains, Westchester County, authorities said.

A threat doesn’t carry much weight if you’re not willing to back it up, right? A tipster quips:

So maybe I won’t apply to Kaye Scholer … if their partners are this crazy.

But the 12-year-old demonstrated the dedication required of a future Kaye Scholer associate. She ran after her mother’s car, caught up to it, and got back in. You can’t stealth layoff that kid!

Unfortunately, the 10-year-old went to pieces:

The younger daughter wandered around the corner to Mamaroneck Ave., where a good Samaritan spotted her in tears about 7:30 p.m., bought her ice cream and then approached a cop in a patrol car.

The officer described the girl as “very upset” and “emotional” in the police report.

More discussion — including information about Madlyn Primoff’s $2 million home in Scarsdale, and a reader poll — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading Mommy Lawyer of the Day: Kaye Scholer Partner Leaves Bickering Kids”

White and Case logo.JPGCalifornians, as we understand it, really care about their cars — and their parking spots. So White & Case’s latest maneuver out in Palo Alto could mean war:

White & Case’s Silicon Valley office is in a Palo Alto office complex shared with several other firms. Historically, all the parking, including a large parking garage, has been shared among all firms.

Apparently, White & Case used the downturn in the commercial lease market to renegotiate its terms with the management company. Just after the new year, around a dozen primo parking spots in parking garage were rebranded to indicate that they were for “White & Case guests.” This did not sit well with the locals.

But if you think that White & Case backed down, you’ve got another thing coming. Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Good Exclusive Parking Lots Make Good Neighbors”

Weil.gifSo should Weil Gotshal associates be rooting against a government bailout of GM and the other big automakers?

GM bankruptcy –> more fees for Weil –> bigger bonuses (which WGM has not yet announced)?

UPDATE (1:00 AM): As of now, it looks like the auto industry bailout talks have failed. This makes a GM bankruptcy even more likely.

But even if GM does file for Chapter 11 (or even Chapter 7), thereby generating thousands of billable hours for Weil associates, it’s unlikely that Weil will pay out Skadden-sized bonuses (although the speculation sure is fun). As noted in the comments, Weil generally follows the market, and the market has settled around Cravath.

Paying above market could create problems for Weil. As one reader previously noted, “Weil will never be a bonus leader because there is concern at the firm that it would seem unsightly by the firm’s bankruptcy clients to lead the market with bonuses.”

That concern seems warranted. As GM director George Fisher told Bloomberg last week, “We are fearful, very fearful, of a prolonged [bankruptcy] proceeding that would just destroy our brand in the marketplace and therefore that is not considered a viable option…. These Wall Street geniuses and law firms are coming up with all these solutions that make them a lot of money.”

FURTHER UPDATE: As noted in the comments, as well as the original WSJ article, GM has also retained former Weil partner Martin Bienenstock, now at Dewey & LeBoeuf, to help it become a “futuristic” automaker for the 21st century. Good luck with that.

GM Hires Advisers to Weigh a Bankruptcy Filing [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]
GM Hires Lawyer Bienenstock to Reconfigure Automaker [Bloomberg]

Earlier: If the Big Three Fall, Which Law Firms Rise?
Jones Day’s Chrysler Bankruptcy Coup
Chrysler Hires Jones Day As Bankruptcy Counsel [Dealbreaker]

Jones Day Logo.jpgThe future of the Detroit’s Big Three is looking grim, as Congress has turned tight-fisted in response to the automakers’ request for $34 billion to stay alive. Chrysler is getting ready to throw in the towel, and has chosen Jones Day to do the throwing.

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

Chrysler LLC has hired the prominent law firm Jones Day as bankruptcy counsel, according to several people familiar with the matter. The firm was hired several weeks ago to help the ailing auto maker prepare for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Jones Day bankruptcy maven Corinne Ball, a partner in the New York office, will lead the effort should Chrysler fail to secure a $7 billion capital infusion by the end of the year.

Corinne Ball Bankruptcy Czarina.jpgJones Day co-head of restructuring Corinne Ball is handling the case, said the people familiar with the matter. She has worked on other automotive bankruptcies, such as that of auto-parts supplier Dana Corp., and many cases involving the United Auto Workers union. She represented GM in its acquisition of Korean auto maker Daewoo.

AmLaw noted the possibility for this major coup for the Jones Day team. This will be a massive deal. Sad for Detroit and the general economy. But what’s not these days?

Chrysler Hires Law Firm Jones Day as Bankruptcy Counsel [WSJ]

To Handle Potential Bankruptcy, Chrysler Taps Jones Day [WSJ Law Blog]

No Way! Jones Day Retained as Bankruptcy Counsel for Chrysler, Say Reports [AmLaw Daily]

Chrysler Hires Jones Day As Bankruptcy Counsel [Dealbreaker]

Grand Theft Auto IV MoFo Morrison Foerster.jpgLabor Day is behind us. You know what that means: no wearing white, no gin and tonics, and no qualms about sending summer associate stories to ATL. If you have an SA story to share that we haven’t previously covered, please email us.
This latest tale, posted below, puts the “MoFo” in Morrison & Foerster. These kiddies are badass. As always, please don’t name or provide additional identifying information about them. Thanks.
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This summer MoFo hosted a firm-wide retreat in Napa, first-class all the way — every attendee stayed in a private one-bedroom condo at the host resort, people got spa treatments, went on wine tastings, open bar every night, etc. Once the bar closed, the real troopers would head over to someone’s condo for an after party. The firm covered minibar tabs, so people would stop by their own places and stock up on drinks to bring along. Nothing out of the ordinary, as far as big firm summer blow-outs go.
The only problem with the trip was the tremendous size of the resort. The condos were scattered all across a large compound. Some rooms were miles away from others. The resort provided shuttle service, but often (especially late at night) the shuttles were slow in coming. Very slow. It was definitely a nuisance.
A couple of days into the retreat, two or three summers apparently got sick of waiting for a shuttle to take them to their far off condos at the end of the evening’s after party festivities. One of them was sick and vomiting or something, so they had a sense of urgency. In a haze of drunken entitlement (or perhaps a twisted sense of altruism: their friend was sick!), these summers decided to “borrow” a car from the resort’s valet to drive home.
Audi A6 Morrison Foerster MoFo.jpgThey busted into the valet key box and swiped the keys to an Audi A6 — first-class all the way! — got into the car, and started it up. Luckily for them, before they could get it into gear and get moving, a recruiter got wind of the operation and came RUNNING AND SCREAMING out of the after party. She got them out of the car; the keys were returned to their rightful place.
But the plans of drunken MoFos are not so easily foiled. Undeterred, they RETURNED to the valet box once the recruiter was out of their way, stole the keys AGAIN, and started up the car once more. This time a MoFo PARTNER saw the situation, ran over to the car, and put a stop to the ill-fated scheme.
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What happened to the summers in question? We don’t know for certain, but we’re guessing they got no-offered. While creative problem-solving and taking the initiative are usually desirable qualities for lawyers to possess, stealing cars and driving drunk raise character and fitness issues.

Harry Shasho Bentley hit and run driver.jpgWhat a colossal d-bag. From the New York Daily News:

A Coney Island businessman is suing the city for damaging the Bentley he was driving when he killed a Brooklyn dad in a hit-and-run accident.

Harry Shasho, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, says the NYPD failed to safeguard the battered black 2005 Bentley GT luxury sedan that was impounded as evidence of the fatal crash. He’s asking for at least $190,000.

It sounds like Shasho needs a bit of a reality check:

Shasho says the Bentley was in “excellent condition … with no noticeable defects or damage” when he turned himself in, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The police report tells a different story. It describes the car as crumpled and the windshield “depressed and fractured” by the violent impact with [victim Louis] Couch that left his body parts strewn across the street.

The suit seeks damages from the city, the NYPD and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

Not the kind of case you’d like to take to a jury.
Hit-and-run driver claims city didn’t take care of his Bentley after crash [New York Daily News]

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHere’s the second half of the “head-to-head” round of ATL Idol. If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on, background information is available in this prior post (or just scroll down the front page to the post immediately below this one).
You can check out the second half of the head-to-head round, featuring the blogging of SOPHIST and FROLIC AND DETOUR, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: Week 2, Head-to-Head Round (Part 2)”

luxury car logos Above the Law blog.jpgSome lawyers are really into cars. One prominent practitioner here in Washington collects Ferraris — but Tefft Smith is a fairly senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis, and you probably aren’t.
So what you should do in the car department? From the ATL mailbag:

I’m a 3L with an offer to BigLaw in California. I’m planning on purchasing a car, but I’m wondering what is appropriate for a junior associate. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but a friend of mine said that he saw some partners treat associates differently if their cars were nicer then theirs. He also said, clients aren’t too happy seeing young associates driving around in Mercedes and BMW’s. Is there any truth to this?

I don’t want to buy a Honda Civic or something; I want people to take me seriously. But I also don’t want to be too flashy. I was thinking either an Acura TSX or a Lexus IS 300.

FYI — I’ll be working in Northern California, so I don’t need to have a super flashy car to pick up the L.A. girls.

We can understand partners not liking it when associates have absurdly nice autos. But on the flip side, we once heard about an associate at a white-collar criminal defense boutique whose boss ordered him to upgrade his vehicle — a Civic, coincidentally enough — because it would be bad for clients to see him in a Honda. The partner helpfully provided the associate with a list of acceptable luxury car makes (and the associate ended up getting a Volvo, one of the more reasonably priced options).
So, ATL readers, whaddya think? We look forward to your feedback, in the comments.
Born to Run: Tefft Smith and His Ferrari Fever [Legal Times]

Audi A8 car Tomas Delgado Spain Above the Law blog.jpgThe rain in Spain falls mainly on… a**holes? Well, only if most Spaniards are like Tomas Delgado — and we’re guessing (and hoping) they’re not.
After all, since chutzpah like this doesn’t come along often. Our latest Lawsuit of the Day hails from Spain, via CNN:

A Spanish businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury car.

Tomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy’s parents to pay him €20,000 ($29,400) on the grounds that the collision that killed their teenage son also damaged his Audi A-8.

After public outrage ensued, Delgado dropped the suit — but was none too happy about it:

The businessman had insisted in a recent television interview that he was a victim, too. He was not present for a court hearing Wednesday. His lawyer told the court that Delgado felt that the extensive publicity amounted to a public lynching.

A high-tech lynch mob for an uppity Audi driver. Who was reportedly driving 107 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Who hit the boy from behind, according to the boy’s father, and “dragged [him] 106 meters (347 feet) along a rural highway.”
Read more in the full article (which includes an interesting digression about how quickly you need to file your notice of appeal in Spanish courts; their appeal periods make ours look like an eternity).
Driver drops bid to sue family of boy he killed [CNN]

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