Dewey & LeBoeuf

Miley Cyrus

* Dewey feel bad for Zach Warren? Totally. In the saddest revelation about his indictment, it seems D&L’s head honchos “had trouble remembering who [he] was” before arraignment. [New York Times]

* If you’re interested in going to law school (and if you want to pay off your loans), you’ll want to see the law schools where you’ll make the most bank after graduating. We’ll have more on this later. [Forbes]

* Fred Phelps Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, is near death. Not for nothing, but it would probably be fitting if people picketed his funeral in SCOTUS-approved protest. [Kansas City Star]

* The widow of Dustin Friedland, the attorney who was shot and killed during the Short Hills mall carjacking, has filed a wrongful death suit against the shopping venue’s owners. [Star-Ledger]

* Elizabeth Halverson, the former judge who rolled into our lives on a motorized scooter and was removed from the bench in 2008 for her courtroom antics, died earlier this month. RIP. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* Miley Cyrus is being sued… over her tongue. A man who helped build her tongue slide (a prop, not a sex maneuver) was injured — he claims he wasn’t warned about the potential dangers involved. [USA Today]

There are so many interesting parts of the Dewey criminal charges, it’s hard to count them all.

For starters, there are the emails laid out by the SEC in its complaint, such as:

  • “I don’t see how we’ll get past the auditors another year.”
  • “I assume you [k]new this but just in case. Can you find another clueless auditor for next year?”
  • “I don’t know anything about [the contracts] and I don’t want to cook the books anymore. We need to stop doing that.”
  • “I don’t know. He’s starting to wig a little. Maybe he’s hearing and seeing too much . . . .”

Sadly for people and happily for prosecutors, regrettable emails are simply a fact of modern electronic life. Still, “I don’t want to cook the books anymore” has to be pretty high on the list of things that one is likely to regret putting in an email.

(These emails, and more, are collected in the Bloomberg piece by Matt Levine wonderfully titled “Law Firm Accountants Were Bad at Accounting, Law.”)

But, probably more interesting than these regrettable emails is what the Dewey prosecution can tell us about white-collar prosecutions in New York more generally….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know Why The D.A., And Not The U.S.A.O., Is Going After Folks From This Former Firm?”

Judge Elizabeth Osborne Williams?

* If the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal defendants end up going to trial, it’s fair to say the star witnesses in the case will be those who’ve already pleaded guilty — all seven of them. [Am Law Daily]

* Biglaw firms are constantly shrinking in size, leaving many office buildings wide open. Landlords are desperate to put asses in seats, so it’s kind of like law school. [Washington Post]

* “A judicial post is not an hereditary position.” There’s nepotism, and then there’s nepotism, and this Georgia judge is really trying to keep it all in the family. He’s basically ensured that his seat on the bench will go to his daughter. [Daily Report (reg. req.)]

* Let’s keep the rankings party going with an infographic about job rates and median starting salaries. Law schools tied for first place with $160K Biglaw salaries: 21. Not shocked. [U.S. News & World Report]

* The family of Danielle Thomas, the woman who was murdered by indebted law school grad Jason Bohn, is suing the NYPD with claims that the police ignored her calls for help. Sad. :( [New York Post]

Rachel Canning

* Dewey know who Zachary Warren is? Per this failed firm’s insiders, he seems to be a “man of mystery” who apparently worked in the “bowels of the bureaucracy” that ultimately led to D&L’s demise. [Am Law Daily]

* “You can cross-examine the witness. You can’t cross examine an email.” Defense of the Dewey defendants may be tough when it’s time for trial — and you can bet your ass there’ll be a trial. [New York Law Journal]

* Fear not, friends, because Patton Boggs has found a way to weather the storm. It’s the same way most barely buoyant firms stay afloat: more layoffs. Expect more on this news later today. [National Law Journal]

* Paul Ceglia, the man who claims he owns half of Facebook’s fortunes, can’t toss his criminal charges. Sometimes wheeling and dealing with allegedly faux contracts will land you in the clink. [Bloomberg]

* Because no father wants to see his daughter become “tabloid fodder”: Rachel Canning, the New Jersey schoolgirl who sued her parents, is being “savaged” by the public. Aww, poor little Millennial. [Daily Record]

* Dewey know which D&L defendants did the perp walk of shame before their arraignment yesterday? Three of the ex-executives! Even Steve Davis, who quit his job as in-house counsel to Ras al Ghul Khaimah of the UAE last week. [Am Law Daily]

* It’s about half and half when it comes to states that have filed briefs with the Tenth Circuit in support of or against the rulings striking down gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Sadly, not everyone can be as fabulous as we’d like. [National Law Journal]

* Abortion clinics are closing their doors in Texas thanks to new legislation, and the total number of clinics in the state come September will be six. Let the Mexican medical tourism commence. [New York Times]

* Illegal immigrants can’t practice law in Florida, says the state’s Supreme Court, but they can in California. Good thing there’s eleventy billion law schools there to accommodate them. [Miami Herald]

* Webster Lucas, the fellow suing McDonald’s over an alleged race-based napkin denial that’s since prevented him from working, has sued fast food joints before. He’s a “vexatious litigant.” [NBC Los Angeles]

* Matt Levine describes how Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP should have taken a lesson from its clients and not used email so much while discussing possible frauds. [Bloomberg View]

* Should we be paying law student externs? Well, yeah, we should. That’s also the conclusion of Jay Edelson and Chandler Givens. [Legal Solutions Blog / Thomson Reuters]

* Speaking of Jay Edelson, his most recent high-profile case is a class action charging the now-defunct Mt. Gox — which stood for “The Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange” — with fraud in its loss of hundred of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins. Hopefully he’s not getting a contingency in Bitcoin… because he could end up with about 20 cents for all his trouble. [PC World]

* The Legal Geeks have a podcast analyzing the legal issues involved in the recent Agents of SHIELD episode and podcast with Judge Matthew Sciarrino. [The Legal Geeks]

* Senator Ted Cruz continues discounting the value of a Harvard Law degree. This time on the subject of voting rights. [Election Law Blog]

* The Center for Public Integrity has won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for its work on the black lung controversy. We previously discussed CPI’s work examining the lengths Jackson Kelly went to in fighting to deny benefits to dying victims. Congratulations on the award and the great work! [Center for Public Integrity]

* The picture after the jump is probably not an appropriate way to talk about slavery.

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Dewey & LeBoeuf: it’s baaack (in the headlines).

Criminal charges are on the way for Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine, and Joel Sanders — the former chairman, executive director, and CFO, respectively, of defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Almost two years have passed since the Biglaw firm’s bankruptcy filing, causing some observers to think that perhaps the Steves would never get charged. The argument, in a nutshell: they might have been poor managers or even downright moronic, but they didn’t commit any crimes.

Alas, sadly for Messrs. Davis, DiCarmine, and Sanders, it seems that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance doesn’t agree with that line of thinking. What types of charges can the trio look forward to?

(Please note the UPDATES added to this post, reflecting information from the indictment and the SEC complaint.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Finally Have Criminal Charges Against Ex-Leaders Of This Failed Firm?”

* Two Biglaw firms and their even bigger revenue meltdowns: Patton Boggs and Bingham McCutcheon have posted the most dramatic revenue declines revealed thus far by Am Law. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Dewey know why this malpractice case is being brought against an ex-LeBoeuf Lamb partner? You know your case is screwed if one of the questions the judge asks you is “[W]hy are you here?” [Am Law Daily]

* Those who remain at Heenan Blaikie, the imploding Canadian Biglaw firm, are pretty “pissed off” they haven’t received word on their severance packages. So much for that “orderly wind down,” eh. [Law Times]

* Career alternatives for former Biglaw attorneys now allegedly include breaking and entering and assaulting state delegate’s wives. We’ll probably have more information on this juicy story later today. [NBC29 WVIR]

* If you’re in the process of applying to law school and you’re taking all of your advice from online forums, then you’ll probably get in everywhere you apply. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

Although Am Law and ATL covered the story first, the long spread in The New York Times alerted the whole world to the woes of Gregory Owens, a former Dewey partner who’s now a bankrupt non-equity partner at White & Case.

The legal blogosphere naturally lit up over this story, with Scott Greenfield dispensing his usual simple justice and the Volokh Conspirators (and their many commenters) debating Owens’ personal and professional worth.

But my emailbox filled up, too, with assorted reactions from people at all levels in the law. The most interesting rant — and the one I’m sharing with you today — came from a person who looks a lot like Owens; he or she is a non-equity partner at a Vault 50 firm who’s in his or her 50s. This person disagrees violently with the conventional wisdom about non-equity partners. My correspondent sings their praises and insists that both law firms and many law firm consultants terribly misjudge the value that non-equity partners provide to their firms. . . .

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‘So it’s decided – we’ll be Cravath, Swaine, Moore, & Doritos.’

All those professional responsibility lectures, and bar prep, and boring CLEs that I attended after becoming a lawyer, and all the boring CLEs I dutifully watched on the Internet after I escaped the probationary period, consistently preached the evils of non-lawyer ownership of law firms.

It raises ethical concerns! It dilutes what it means to be a lawyer! This is a profession, not a business! All the usual complaints from a profession convinced that it’s made up of beautiful and unique snowflakes with unimpeachable judgment.

But with the rest of the world embracing new structures to permit non-lawyer ownership — and empirical evidence suggesting that those models raise fewer ethical concerns than the alternative — some argue that the U.S. firm model stifles innovation and cripples international competitiveness.

But the better question is, “Don’t non-lawyers own law firms already?” And to the extent the answer is “of course,” shouldn’t the profession be bending over backwards to approve ownership models that better serve the firms and their clients than the status quo?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should Non-Lawyers Own Firms? Do They Already?”

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