ERISA

Ed. note: Merry Christmas! We will resume our normal publication schedule on Boxing Day. We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and we thank you for your readership.

* Adoption, probate, and Elf. You know what child welfare really needs to look into is leaving kids to be raised in a sweatshop; that seems like a much bigger problem than an intestate parent. [The Legal Geeks]

* Were you looking for analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Kansas v. Cheever, but don’t have time to commit to a full article? Here it is in Haiku. [Supreme Court Haiku]

* Man declared a “quarrelsome litigant.” What’s the threshold for that moniker? Well, he filed a case against the Dominican Republic for “bad weather.” [Lowering the Bar]

* The Top 5 arrests of guys dressed as Santa. [Legally Weird]

* Professor Barry Sullivan of Loyola-Chicago explains how A Christmas Carol shaped his legal philosophy. And yet, if one were to pick one Dickens book to prepare a young lawyer for the profession, a better bet would be Bleak House (affiliate link). [TaxProf Blog]

* Happy anniversary to the Curt Flood case! [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* For everyone at the midway point of a bar exam: Here… [Dinmoney]

* Naked selfies: Not just for Carlos Danger anymore. A female police officer uses her workday to post naked pictures of herself. [Legal Juice]

* Speaking of NYC politics and placing Weiners where they don’t belong, Professor Lawrence Cunningham argues that Eliot Spitzer would be a horrible Comptroller based on his record as New York Attorney General. Cunningham then lists every reason Eliot Spitzer was an awesome Attorney General. [Concurring Opinions]

* An appeals court has upheld the ruling that killed Mayor Bloomberg’s large sugary soda ban. Drink up, fatasses! It’s your right as an American. In the meantime, check out this argument over whether the decision contains a curious paradox [PrawfsBlawg]

* The Sixth Circuit affirmed an earlier decision dismissing a suit brought by Cooley grads. But they did not repeat the classic, “an ordinary prudent person would not have relied on [Cooley's] statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more.” [ABA Journal]

* After winning Survivor, Cochran has decided to turn his law degree into the most expensive TV screenwriting degree ever. He’ll be penning a sitcom this Fall. [St. Louis Today]

* Susan Westerberg Prager, the incoming dean of Southwestern Law School, is the first female dean of a law school… again. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* One doctor. Four different signatures “under penalty of perjury.” I think we’re underestimating the evil quadruplet theory. [New York Personal Injury Attorney Blog]

* As someone without kids, I find this fascinating. Popehat has a poll asking readers their thoughts on monitoring the electronic communication of their middle schoolers. As a parent, are you more Edward Snowden or J. Edgar Hoover? [Popehat]

Nancy Sullivan

Partners make the Biglaw world go ’round, and when a partner dies, especially in a manner as brutal as this, the Biglaw world weeps.

Today, we’ve got some sad news out of Minneapolis, where Nancy Sullivan, a Barnes & Thornburg partner who practiced ERISA and employee benefits law and served as the pro bono coordinator at her firm’s office, was shot and killed by her boyfriend as she tried to move out of the home they shared together. Also wounded were Sullivan’s daughter, Kathleen Fay, and Fay’s boyfriend, Tony Brown.

Suspected shooter Johnny Simpson also died, but police are not yet calling this a murder-suicide…

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Patricia A. Martone

“You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away — a man is not a piece of fruit.”

— Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (affiliate link)

Take this famous line and replace “man” with “law firm partner,” and you’ve captured the gist of the lawsuit against Ropes & Gray brought by Patricia Martone, who alleges age and sex discrimination by her former firm. (Martone, a former IP litigation partner at Ropes, is now a Morrison & Foerster partner.)

When I broke the news of this lawsuit back in 2011, I expected a speedy settlement. Would Ropes really want to go toe to toe with a pair of high-powered litigatrices, namely, Martone and her formidable employment lawyer, Anne Vladeck?

But here we are, two years later, and the battle rages on. Ropes has hired a third leading litigatrix to defend itself. Let’s learn the latest news….

(Note the multiple UPDATES at the end of this post.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Ropes & Gray Hate the Old and Gray?”

As we noted in Morning Docket, many former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf are less than pleased with the proposed settlement between the D&L bankruptcy estate and ex-partners of the firm. Preliminary reactions “rang[e] from skepticism to anger,” according to Am Law Daily.

In the words of Mark Zauderer, counsel to almost 60 former Dewey partners, “I’m not seeing overwhelming enthusiasm for the proposal.” A former D&L partner was even more blunt: “I think this is destined to fail. Let the trustee [of a Chapter 7 liquidation] go for it.”

But not everyone holds such negative views. One ex-partner — who claims that he’s being asked to pay more than he thought he owed, and that he’ll have to postpone his retirement by several years due to Dewey’s downfall — told Thomson Reuters that he will vote for the deal anyway. “My view is there’s nothing less desirable than having this drag out for years,” he said. “I’m willing to pay a lot of money to have this go away.”

Dewey have other issues besides how to deal with former partners? Most certainly. There are pressing problems regarding the disposition of client files, as well as issues regarding retirement benefits for former Dewey & LeBoeuf employees….

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(And bad news for D&L 401(k) participants.)

In our last full post on Dewey & LeBoeuf, the fast-fading New York law firm, we tried to find some moments of humor in this generally depressing story. Now we’ll return to the hard — and gloomy — Dewey news. (We mentioned several D&L items in today’s Morning Docket.)

Without further ado, let’s find out what’s going on….

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We have previously discussed the subject of pensions at the deeply troubled law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. Right now it’s looking quite likely that the firm will wind up in dissolution or bankruptcy. If the firm does go down that path, what will happen to the retirement benefits of current and former employees?

Today we have some news on that front — plus UPDATES on other Dewey stories, of course….

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On Friday, we broke the news of Dewey & LeBoeuf issuing a WARN Act notice to its U.S. employees. As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor, the WARN law generally requires an employer “to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.”

We noted, however, that employees shouldn’t be lulled into complacency by the 60-day requirement. As Elie wrote, “Dewey employees shouldn’t expect to just show up to work every day until Independence Day. Remember, we’ve learned from the Heller dissolution and other firms’ dissolutions that things tend to happen very quickly.”

Very quickly indeed. We are now hearing reports that this Friday, May 11, will be the last day for an unknown number of D&L employees….

As usual with the fast-moving Dewey story, we have multiple UPDATES, including some from Tuesday morning, after the jump.

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Dewey & LeBoeuf's sign at 1301 Avenue of the Americas. (Photo by David Lat. Feel free to use.)

“Our catering service requires a credit card; client matter numbers no longer accepted. Seamless food ordering requires a credit card or a corporate card.”

“It’s not clear that we still have health insurance.”

“Dewey has cut off subscriptions, and expenses are no longer being reimbursed.”

“Everyone is pretty much packing up. Bankers boxes are on backorder in supplies.”

“Dewey is quietly removing the art from the walls. Perhaps it belongs to the creditors?”

These are some of the sad stories we’re hearing out of Dewey & LeBoeuf today. Let’s discuss the latest news and rumor coming out of the deeply troubled law firm….

Multiple UPDATES and new links, after the jump (at the very end of this post). The Dewey story is moving so quickly that we will do multiple updates to our existing posts instead of writing a new post every time there’s a little additional news to report. Otherwise half of the stories on our front page would be about Dewey, and there is other Biglaw news to report — e.g., the new profit-per-partner rankings from Am Law, salacious lawsuits against prominent D.C. law firms, etc.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know What’s Going To Happen Next? Lawyers and Staff Face Uncertain Future”

This is a case with shocking facts.

Few things fill a junior associate with more dread than a partner beginning a sentence with the following words: “There must be a case that holds….” Much of the time, there is no such case (especially when the issue concerns some annoying e-discovery dispute that no judge would ever want to write about).

But if a partner says to you, “There must be a case addressing whether an insurance company is liable for accidental death benefits when the decedent accidentally kills himself while engaged in masturbation that involves intentional self-electrocution” — well, now there’s a case that’s on all fours. With an electric cattle prod.

Keep reading, to learn about an ERISA opinion that is very… stimulating….

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(Or: The most interesting ERISA opinion ever.)

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