Harvey Miller

American Airlines: something bankrupt in the air.

Complaining about air travel has become a cliché — but it’s still fun. The other night, while flying out to San Francisco for an event I’m doing on Monday (to which you’re invited), I was delayed by two and a half hours — due to a plane turned “biohazard.”

My experience — with United Airlines, which I generally like — pales in comparison to what the novelist Gary Shteyngart experienced recently with American Airlines. He wrote about in a New York Times piece that’s horrifying and hilarious.

But some folks have much warmer feelings for AA — namely, the lawyers and law firms that are making millions from the American Airlines bankruptcy case. Let’s find out how much they are seeking in fees….

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Lawyer of the Year 2009 AboveTheLaw blog Above the Law ATL.jpgThanks to everyone who submitted possible nominees for our Lawyer of the Year award. We reviewed your 160+ comments and developed a slate of ten worthy candidates.

Before we reveal them, we’ll talk about a few folks we passed over. A number of you suggested Mike Leach, the lawyer turned football coach who was recently fired by Texas Tech University. Although Leach’s achievements on the gridiron are considerable, he’s more of a football figure than a legal figure, so he didn’t make the team.

A few of the lawyers you suggested, while certainly well-known, really belong to years prior to 2009. These include former New York governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace after his dalliances with prostitutes came to light; former administrative law judge Roy Pearson, of the infamous $54 million (originally $67 million) pants lawsuit; and prominent IP litigator Jeremy Pitcock.

Also named: Kathy Henry, a former Legal Secretary of the Day, whose alleged oversight could have cost PepsiCo a pretty penny — over a billion dollars (until the default judgment was vacated). But since she’s a legal secretary rather than a lawyer (or even a law student), we passed her over.

So who made the cut? Check out the nominees and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

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Don’t get too comfortable with that shiny new #6 Vault ranking, Weil Gotshal. The firm just got served, Texas-style. The ABA Journal reports:

The Texas judge who ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million for infringing a patent included a $40 million enhancement that he said was partly justified because of alleged trial misconduct by a lawyer from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis tacked on the $40 million penalty because of evidence of willful infringement. But also “favoring enhancement,” he said in an opinion, was trial conduct by lawyer Matthew Douglas Powers, a Weil Gotshal partner.

Matthew Douglas Powers is a big name in IP circles. And he’s the co-chair of Weil’s litigation department. But he’s not going to comment on Judge Davis’s $40 million critique of his trial performance.

What were the judge’s reasons for admonishing Powers? Check after the jump.

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Harvey Miller Harvey R Miller Weil Gotshal Manges Above the Law blog.JPGThis morning brings some big news in the world of bankruptcy law. From the WSJ Law Blog:

You can go home again, especially if you’re Harvey Miller (at right). The legendary bankruptcy lawyer is expected to rejoin to Weil Gotshal, whose partners are scheduled to vote on his return tomorrow.

“I would be delighted to have Harvey back, but it’s premature at this stage to comment on his rejoining the firm until the partnership votes on the issue,” says Stephen Dannhauser, firm chair.

Before decamping to investment bank Greenhill & Co. in 2002, Miller had spent the previous 33 years at Weil, building its bankruptcy department into one of the most prominent debtor-side practices in the country.

And from a little bird (so consider this to be nothing more than rumor at this point):

It appears four bankruptcy partners are leaving Weil and moving to Cadwalader (apparently to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$). Partners include Deryck Palmer, John Rapisardi, and George A. Davis.

Could the return of Harvey Miller to Weil be related to the (rumored) departures of these younger partners?

We are following up on this rumor and will let you know what we find out.

UPDATE: Harvey Miller’s return to Weil is official. The WGM press release is available here. A longer version of the release, which was circulated by email at Weil, appears after the jump.

Bankruptcy King Harvey Miller Expected to Rejoin Weil [WSJ Law Blog]

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