Latest Stories

  • 16 Sep 2008 at 10:12 AM
  • Uncategorized

Sidley to Associates: Be Cool Boy

Sidley Austin new logo Sidley Austin Brown Wood ATL Above the Law blog.jpgWhat do you do when your biggest client gets sold to a bunch of guys from North Carolina? What can you do other than keep cool?
While Sidley Austin declined to comment to ATL on the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America merger, they did send around an internal memo to their associates. Sidley essentially told their people: “DON’T PANIC!!!!!!!!!”
Apparently, the firm opened up their books to show the percentage of their business that comes from the companies affected by the yesterday’s meltdown. Merrill Lynch represents well less than 10 percent of the firm’s overall business, so they think they should be fine.
All of the messages we are hearing from Sidley associates reflect the same theme. People are interested, but as one tipster put it, “nobody is freaking out just yet.”
But is that a minority opinion or a consensus feeling? How are you Sidley associates feeling this morning?

snowmobile.jpg* Judge James Peck, the second-most junior bankruptcy judge in Manhattan, will handle the Lehman case, the biggest bankruptcy in history. [Bloomberg]
* No vroom for snowmobiles in the national parks, rules Judge Emmet Sullivan. [New York Times]
* First day of the O.J. Simpson robbery trial. But people are already totally over it. No crowds were there to greet O.J. and friends, just a man holding a “Jesus saves sinners from hell” sign. [Los Angeles Times]
* Former ATL “Lawyer” of the Day, Howard Kieffer, will not defend himself in his lawyer impersonation trial. [Associated Press]
* Manhattan restaurant owner + $5,000 designer umbrella + negligent supermodel = a fed-up judge. New York Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden fines attorney $500 for filing a frivolous claim and wasting judicial resources. [Associated Press]

Paul Clement Paul D Clement US Solicitor General.jpg
Could it be? A message for ATL from Paul Clement, the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States?
(It’s not completely out of the question. We have written about Clement a fair amount, and we have also met him in person.)
The lowercase type for his name seemed a little odd. But some very prominent attorneys, like John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel, use lowercase type for email messages. Based on the subject line, “Order,” we guessed that perhaps the former SG wanted to share a funny court order with us.
Read the message from Paul Clement, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Email From the Former Solicitor General?”

law firm merger.jpgLast month we reported on merger talks between Heller Ehrman and Mayer Brown. Those talks have now been called off, as reported earlier today by Am Law Daily. This leaves the San Francisco-based Heller with another failed romance.
From an email sent out today on behalf of Mayer Brown chairman James Holzhauer:

As you are aware, the firm has been exploring the possibility of a merger with Heller Ehrman. After careful consideration, we have decided not to pursue that course.

Heller Ehrman is a fine firm with outstanding lawyers. Like us, they have a long heritage of excellence in their work and service to clients. A merger with them would have offered potential benefits for both firms and our clients. In the end, however, various issues, including client and practice conflicts, could not be resolved, and we have ended our discussions.

Jim

Speculation has now turned to which other firms might be in the market for Heller. Orrick? Covington? Check out the comment threads for the latest and wildest rumors.
The only thing we do know for sure is that Heller has once again been jilted. We’ll bring you all of the new suitors as soon as they reveal themselves.
Mayer Brown Calls Off Merger Talks With Heller Ehrman [Law.com]
Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Heller Ehrman Is At It Again

anna torv fringe law.JPG* The many beautiful lawyers of Boston calendar is available. None of them are as beautiful as Anna Torv, the star of Fox’s new hit Fringe, but you have to dig the beautification of Boston. [f/k/a]
* Global warming as a defense for eco-terrorism? Not in America, at least not yet. [The Independent]
* The legendary Canadian sense of humor does not apply to file sharing. [IsoHunt]
* A family feud about whether drug companies and compassion can live in the same house. [Drug and Device Law]
* Look people, stop bringing your BlackBerry to bed. Just stop. Your partner does not like it. At all. Unless your partner is a fellow Biglaw attorney, in which case you have badder fish to fry. [NY Post]
* Big business isn’t doing so hot, so this week’s Blawg Review is looking at small businesses. [Small Business Trends via Blawg Review]

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGA couple of tipsters have let us know that Covington & Burling has scheduled a firmwide meeting tomorrow.
We don’t think they’re going to announce a merger (because no suitable partner comes to mind). We have it on good authority that they’re not announcing layoffs (or anything else negative).
So what gives? Why does a firm pull all of their associates and counsel into a room? Did they just buy a coat factory?
Let the rampant speculation begin in the comments. We’ll update with actual facts as soon as we receive them.
Update: The actual facts appear here.

houston ike lawyers work.JPGIn the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the Houston legal community is getting back to work. WRAL news channel 5 reported that Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell expects to reopen Wednesday. Andrews Kurth has their attorneys working remotely. According to the WRAL report, an Andrews spokesperson said, “all of our BlackBerrys are working.”
Other Houston area firms were contacted by ATL directly. The most important news is that everybody is safe.
Mike Conlon, partner-in-charge of Fulbright & Jaworski’s Houston office, said:

[W]e have been able to assist all that have needed temporary housing. While our Houston office is closed today, our lawyers are working from remote locations, including our other offices in Texas. All computer support functions are operating, and other offices are providing additional support where needed, which is part of Fulbright’s disaster recovery plan.

Fulbright & Jaworski plans to be fully functional by tomorrow.
More news from Houston after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Houston Lawyers Get Back To Work After Ike”

David Otunga Sidley Austin I Love New York Above the Law blog.jpgBack in July, we mentioned that singer-actress Jennifer Hudson and her Harvard Law hottie — David Otunga, Sidley Austin associate turned reality TV contestant — were thinking about getting engaged. Now they’ve made it official, according to People:

“I can confirm that Jennifer got engaged to her boyfriend David on Friday night in L.A.” says [Hudson's] rep.

Otunga, who is known as “Punk” from the reality show I Love New York 2, popped the question with a Neil Lane diamond ring on the Dreamgirls Oscar winner’s 27th birthday.

The couple, who have been dating less than a year, both hail from Chicago.

Congratulations and best wishes to the newly affianced!
Perez Hilton is unimpressed, referring to Otunga as “a loser” and a “chump,” but that seems like a minority view. Look for Otunga and Hudson to clean up in a future edition of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. The combination of an HLS degree and an Oscar is not to be scoffed at!
Jennifer Hudson is Engaged! [E! Online]
Jennifer Hudson Engaged to Boyfriend David Otunga [People]
Engaged – to a Loser! [Perez Hilton]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of David Otunga (scroll down)

Bush war crimes.JPGBack in June, we reported on Massachusetts School of Law at Andover’s intention to plan the prosecution of President Bush for war crimes, via teleconference.
Ignoring the advice of sane people, the unaccredited law school went ahead with their conference, this weekend. Dean of MSL Lawrence Velvel had this to say about President:

He is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy’s friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth.

Tell us what you really think, Mr. Velvel. But does anything there rise to the level of war crime?
More on the “conference” after the jump

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Remember This Guy? I Think He’s Still The President.”

funny-pictures-panda-will-let-you-take-the-bamboo.jpgBack in March, we found that 27% of ATL readers — and a third of ATL readers in New York — thought the Bear Stearns collapse would hurt their careers.
With Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy this morning, and Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America, after “a marathon series of meetings at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz,” we can’t help but wonder how billables at Wachtell and Weil and Shearman & Sterling are going to look this month . . . and how everybody else’s are going to look over the next year (especially if other firms, like, say, AIG, go under as well).
As we asked back in March:

But how will it affect you? Will work slow down as investors circle the wagons, or will there be a regulatory response that actually increases the need for lawyers? Will shareholders’ fear of fire sales increase bankruptcy and litigation work?

In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, let’s find out if your thoughts are any different, now that we’ve had a little post-Bear-Stearns experience to inform our expectations.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

spitting.jpgOklahoman attorney Lewis Moon and Oklahoma County public defender David Bedford got a little wild at a Whataburger on Friday. After being arrested for drunkenly driving through the drive-through backwards, the two decided to mix it up with the coppers. From KTUL 8:

Police say Moon spit on an officer and produced a badge and claimed to be a deputy.
He was arrested on complaints of actual physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, impersonating a law officer, resisting arrest and placing bodily fluids on a law officer.
Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Myers says the badge is not official but is a keepsake given to people who support the sheriff’s department.

We started to issue a sad little “awwww” at the idea of someone presenting the cute little keepsake badge and then spitting on the officer… but then we were distracted thinking about “placing bodily fluids on a law officer” existing as its own charge. That’s an embarrassing one to have on your record. As if you spit in your hand and then rubbed it on the officer. It would sound much more respectable if it were “assaulting a law officer with bodily fluids.” But we digress…
The lawyers kept behaving badly after they were taken into the station and it was caught on film. You know things have gone horribly wrong when “Geek Lawyer” is mocking you.
Two Attorneys Arrested In Warr Acres [KTUL 8]
Wasted lawyers behaving badly [GeekLawyer]

AIG Dinallo Spitzer.gifMake no mistake: the future of AIG is in the hands of Eric Dinallo, superintendent of insurance for New York State.
Insurance companies are regulated by many different agencies, but because so many of the companies are incorporated in New York, the state’s superintendent of insurance becomes the de-facto primary regulator. Dinallo led the charge with bailouts of Ambac and MBIA. According to the WSJ Law Blog:

With AIG gasping for air, these days are Dinallo’s Stanley Cup, so to speak. According to the WSJ, Dinallo (Vassar, NYU Law) “took a significant role” in AIG’s survival talks over the weekend.

Dinallo rose to power under former-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s tutelage. But Spitzer’s infamous downfall almost made him a star. As many know, “Client #9″ was exposed after his liaison with Ashlee Alexandra Dupree in room 871 of the Mayflower hotel in Washington.
Spitzer’s traveling companion earlier that day? Eric Dinallo. The two men were in Washington to give testimony on the how downgrading the ratings of insurance agencies would kill the municipal bond market.
It’s pretty clear that Dinallo did not see anything troubling regarding the former governor, and he has steadfastly refused to say anything about the day Spitzer went down. But to be that close to a train wreck and walk away unscathed speaks volumes of Dinallo’s private fortitude and public character.
AIG’s fate is in the hands of a pretty straight shooter.
Working for the Weekend: Lawyering up Merrill/BoA, Lehman, AIG [WSJ Law Blog]

Page 1338 of 17291...133413351336133713381339134013411342...1729