Bonus, bonus, bonus time. Time to sit back and unwind.
The first bit of bonus news has leaked out of Biglaw. We’re not talking about spring bonuses, and we’re not talking about random mid-year bonuses. We’re talking about regular, end-of-the-year, take-it-to-the-champagne-room bonuses.
And sure, the early news is bad, but that’s to be expected. This first report is just what Biglaw wants you to hear.
But if the past year in bonus news proves anything, it’s that Cravath sets the bonus market, even when they do it late….
* I know we’re a little tight for money, but we should find some money in the budget to make sure faded American stars are bailed out of the housing crisis, just like the banks were. [Monsters & Critics]
* Illinois’s redrawn legislative districts draw legal fire. I have an idea: let’s use Illinois as a laboratory for direct sponsorship of Congressional seats. I recognize the distinguished gentleman from Pizza Hut. [WSJ Law Blog]
* If anybody at Citi would like to sue for stress due to the fire drill there today, there are a bunch of out-of-work lawyers who would love to help you. [Dealbreaker]
* Prosecuting your own stalker: it’s a good story. This being the most I’ve read in a Marie Claire, however, I need to go hunt something and eat its liver to rebalance my hormones. [Marie Claire]
Stephen Mark McDaniel
* Here’s a chatwrap with Amy Leigh Womack and Joe Kovac, two reporters who have been covering the Stephen McDaniel / Lauren Giddings case down in Macon. The last time I remember Macon being this relevant to my day-to-day life, John Rocker was involved. [Macon Telegraph]
* Having to purchase legal services from a Wal-Mart that looks like a Neiman Marcus is probably something that happens in Hell. But it can’t be much worse that having to buy your clothes in a place where you buy your food. [An Associate's Mind]
* Lady lawyers: looking for a way to spend that spring bonus or partnership draw? Here are ten handbags that cost five figures. [Fashionista]
Although it officially passed away back in March, when its partners voted for dissolution, the law firm of Howrey LLP continues to twitch in its grave — or maybe even step out of its grave and walk around a bit, like a zombie from a horror flick.
Howrey continues to have a presence on Twitter, for example. A D.C.-based reader pointed out to us that the April 2011 issue of Washington Lawyer magazine contained a partnership announcement for the firm, on page 44: “Stephen D. Palley and Andrew R. Sommer have been named partner at Howrey LLP.” (Both landed on their feet: Palley is now a principal at Ober|Kaler, and Sommer is now of counsel at Winston & Strawn.)
And, strangely enough, Howrey is still seeking client engagements….
Although Howrey LLP officially dissolved as a partnership as of March 15, some operations continued beyond that date. But at the close of business today, the firm is going into a more complete shutdown, due to a withdrawal of bank financing.
“Last night, we received notice via email that Howrey is closing as of today, because CitiBank refuses to pay the payroll,” one source reported. “CitiBank has also refused to pay our PTO [paid time off], and our pension contributions.”
“Citibank has closed the door on Howrey operations today, more than a month before the May 9th date listed on WARN notices,” a second tipster confirmed. “No PTO, pensions will be paid out.”
UPDATE (6 PM): Citi takes issue with Howrey’s take on events. From a Citi spokesperson: “We are deeply disappointed in Howrey’s mischaracterization of the situation. Citi is not responsible for the employment practices of a client and has acted in a professional manner throughout this process.”
It’s time for a brief postscript on one of this month’s juicier (and well-trafficked) stories: the dismissal of three women associates from litigation powerhouse Boies Schiller. We have a few additional tidbits that we can share with you.
But this is probably the last story we’ll be doing on this drama, since we don’t expect anything else to emerge. One piece of information we’ve received is that the associates were offered severance pay — “very generous” severance, in the words of one source — but had to release any claims against the firm in exchange. All three took the deal, including the expectant mother. So don’t expect any “Aaron Charney for pregnant women”-type lawsuits.
What other details can we reveal about the situation?
This morning brought more lawyer layoff news. As reported by Peter Lattman over at DealBook, David Boies’s celebrated litigation firm, Boies Schiller, last week laid off three associates.
(The DealBook piece refers to the dismissals as “layoffs,” and we’ve used that terminology in the title of this post and the first paragraph. But whether these terminations should be considered true “layoffs” is open to question — please keep reading.)
As noted in Am Law Daily, the three associates “worked on the firm’s representation of British private equity firm Terra Firma in its unsuccessful civil suit against Citigroup.” Now that the three-week trial is over, presumably the firm felt it could let the women go — and perhaps make them the “fall guys” (or gals) for the adverse result.
Two of three associates used to work in the firm’s former office in Short Hills, New Jersey. After that office was spun off last year into what is now Stone & Magnanini, the two jumped across the Hudson to join the New York office of Boies. So perhaps they didn’t have powerful patrons at BSF – NYC to protect them from the ax.
Back in September, we wrote about David J. Stern, “Florida’s Foreclosure King,” who earned our Lawyer of the Day title for his ascendancy from the fourth tier to the lap of luxury. At the time, we sang Stern’s praises. Stern, a graduate of South Texas Law, employs 900 people, made $17.8 million in 2008, owns $60 million in real estate, and collects yachts.
Thanks to the New York Times, we knew back then that Stern may have been a shady character. But we kind of brushed off those pesky little questions about his “ethics” and “questionable practice methods.” I mean, come on, how many lawyers can say that they drive a Bugatti?
Well, maybe we shouldn’t have overlooked these issues so quickly…
In a couple of years, we might look back on today as the first point where the giant, unsustainable bubble that is the student loan market began to burst. Check out this press release:
The Student Loan Corporation (NYSE:STU – News), a subsidiary of Citibank, N.A., and a leading originator and servicer of student loans, announced that The Student Loan Corporation (“SLC”) and Discover Financial Services (“Discover”) have entered into a definitive agreement for Discover to acquire SLC, and thereby become the owner of its private student loan business as well as $4 billon of its private student loans. Separately and immediately prior to the transaction, (i) SLM Corporation (“Sallie Mae”) will acquire from SLC $28 billion of securitized federal student loans and related assets and (ii) Citi will acquire from SLC certain federal and private student loans and other assets totaling $8.7 billion. Upon the closing of the transactions described above, shareholders of SLC will receive $30 per share.
So Citi is getting out of the student loan origination business (although they’ll still have some existing loans on their books). I guess they don’t want to be the Lehman Brothers of this failing market…
When last we checked in on Debrahlee Lorenzana (pictured), she was switching lawyers to bring on a fellow media hog, Gloria Allred (recently the subject of a lengthy NYT profile). Over the weekend, Lorenzana filed her first papers under Allred’s stewardship.
Apparently we need to make a call to Geneva or something, and have them check out Citibank. FoxNY reports:
A tearful Debrahlee “Debbie” Lorenzana read a prepared statement Monday morning explaining why she is a victim of sex discrimination.
Lorenzana and her attorney, Gloria Allred, are asking for a human rights investigation. She claims she was fired from her job as a business banker job at Citibank after complaining that male colleagues called good looks distracting.
In other breaking news regarding workplace human rights violations, when I walked in today, I’m almost positive that a Breaking Media colleague thought “Whoa, that’s a big dude.” Nothing was said, but I saw it in her eyes. Can somebody text me the number for The Hague?
Maybe her former lawyer is safer ground? A couple of days ago we mentioned that Lorenzana hired Gloria Allred. But yesterday news surfaced about the lawyer Lorenzana fired, Jack Tuckner. Dealbreaker claims that Debrahlee might have just fired the perfect man for her case:
Specifically, Lorenzana says that she was told not to wear pencil skirts or stilettos. And while Tuckner may be the creepiest lawyer of all time, it turns out he has deep knowledge of this sort of footwear (and the other accoutrement that might fill out the ensemble), and how its presence in the corporate world can only enhance business, such as when a stilleto is shoved up one’s ass.
Yeah, it turns out that Tuckner is no stranger to sexual harassment claims…
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