We’ve been covering law firms’ attempts to reassure associates in these troubled times. Because of their respected bankruptcy practice, we’ve assumed that all was well at Weil.
Friday we received word that Weil isn’t just doing “well.” Apparently, “global financial crisis” is how you spell “straight cash homey” at Weil Gotshal. From firm chairman Stephen J. Dannhauser:
To date, our representation of Lehman Brothers Holdings has engaged a large swathe of the firm, more than 100 attorneys and staff working on the many matters this bankruptcy, the largest in US history, has spawned. In addition to the large team providing bankruptcy counsel to Lehman, Weil Gotshal’s corporate team has already aided the company in the structuring and execution of the two largest transactions ever in a Chapter 11 proceeding. These include the sale of substantially all of Lehman’s US investment banking business, its headquarters, two support facilities, and the broker-dealer business (including the real estate and infrastructure necessary to preserve that business) to Barclays, as well as the sale of certain investment-management assets, including the Neuberger Berman division, to private-equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.
We’ve noticed a paucity of Weil associates participating in our comment threads, but clearly that is because they are all very busy reupholstering their seat cushions with dollar bills.
Are we sure Weil will just be a bonus “follower” this fall?
Princeton Review has released its annual (nonsensical) law school rankings. This year we are treated to the Best 174 Law Schools Rankings. The rankings are divided into 11 categories.
In this down market, the Best Career Prospects category seems appropriate. The top-ten law schools are:
1. University of Michigan Law School
2. Northwestern University School of Law
3. University of Virginia School of Law
4. Harvard University Law School
5. Boston College Law School
6. Stanford University School of Law
7. The University of Chicago The Law School
8. New York University School of Law
9. University of Pennsylvania Law School
10. Boston University School of Law
Notice that Yale Law School isn’t on this “best career prospects” list. I dare somebody to get into Boston College and Yale and go to Boston College because they think that is a better career move. Send ATL both acceptance letters and a BC transcript, and we’ll send you $100 and a photograph signed by God.
* Vince McMahon tags a motion to dismiss to quash wrestlers Chris Kanyon, Raven and Above Average Mike. If that doesn’t work it’s the steel jury box all the way. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
* The latest from the Citi/Wachovia/Wells Fargo cock fight is that they have agreed to a standstill on all litigation until noon on Wednesday. They will cease formal discovery until then. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Corporate attorneys might be interested that Delaware is starting an internet based “talk radio” station. [Delaware Talk Radio]
* It’s German-American day so we’re in for an Oktoberfest Blawg Review.
We’re living in extraordinary times, and I know many of you are concerned about what the current turmoil in the financial markets might mean to us here at Ropes & Gray. I’d like to offer some thoughts on why we are well positioned to weather the turbulence in the marketplace.
Our firm is over 140 years old, in no small part because we always build for the long term. We have weathered many recessions, starting with the Panic of 1873, and we have always emerged stronger. Today, we possess many competitive advantages, including diversified practice offerings and a diverse client base. Thankfully, we do not depend for our bread and butter on the kinds of companies or markets that are most troubled right now. While recent events have felt unsettling for many people, nothing that is happening should distract us from continuing to execute our strategic plan and deliver excellent client service.
The recent turmoil in the financial markets has also presented the firm with important opportunities to advise clients, including some of the companies affected by recent events. Among the many examples, we obtained a temporary restraining order for our broker-dealer client, Ameriprise Financial Services, in the first case involving a money market fund to â€œbreak the buck.â€ An extraordinary cross-disciplinary and cross-office team reached a multi-billion dollar agreement to purchase Neuberger Bermanâ€™s investment management business and Lehman Brotherâ€™s fixed income and alternative asset businesses. We are representing various senior officers of major financial institutions in investigations of sub-prime lending activities and related class action lawsuits. And we have advised numerous hedge funds, CDO funds, mutual funds and other clients on other aspects of the market situation, including analysis of distressed securities, advice about credit default swap counterparties, advice about the new short-sale restrictions, and bankruptcy rules.
In the longer term, we are very well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that will arise from the changing market environment, and we continue to invest in lawyers and staff to help us do so. We were delighted recently to welcome our associate Class of 2008, and we actively continue to hire for summer 2009 and beyond.
To be clear, we are not immune to what’s happening in the wider world. However, I believe the strengths we have built in our firm, our proven agility in addressing changing market landscapes, and the dedication and high caliber of you, our people, will enable us to withstand the short-term market challenges. As always, we are grateful for your continuing hard work and commitment.
This letter reads somewhat like DPW and Debevoise emails where those firms touted their post-meltdown successes.
O’Melveny & Myers shows firms how to send a spooky reassurance email after the jump.
Law.com has an article this week lamenting the absence of females in the legal blogosphere. C.C. Holland writes:
The question is not a new one, but it’s gaining traction in the blogosphere lately as the old concern spawns new debate. And it seems to be true that the majority of high-profile legal blogs, whether in academia or the practice of law, are helmed by men.
Sites such as Above the Law (David Lat), How Appealing (Howard J. Bashman) and Balkinization (Jack M. Balkin) are each authored or edited by one man. The China Law Blog is written by Dan Harris and Steve Dickinson of Harris & Moure. The Volokh Conspiracy, another popular law blog, list 18 contributors, none of whom are female. The woman blogger whose name comes up most frequently in the legal space is law professor Ann Althouse, but her blog isn’t primarily about legal issues.
We object! For one thing, Above The Law is “authored or edited” by a new man, editor in chief since August Elie Mystal. (David Lat is ATL’s founder and still near and dear to our hearts, as a regular contributor and managing editor of our parent company Breaking Media.)
Additionally, the gender-ambiguous C.C. neglects to note that the ATL ladies outnumber the men these days, as some may have noted last week in our self-congratulatory post. ATL’s XX team consists of Laurie Lin, Hope Winters, Marin and yours truly.
More on the female law blogger question, and bikini photos, after the jump.
We received roughly 1,527 responses to last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on whether you’re busy, which is up from the roughly 1,350 responses we received in June.
Overall, things are looking slower than they did in December or June, with 32% of associates afraid that they won’t make their hours this year, in contrast to 28% of associates in June and 18% in December. Worse yet, 3% of respondents said that they had already been laid off, an answer that wasn’t available in the earlier surveys.
Meanwhile, the number of respondents who still think their firms actually need to hire more people has dropped precipitously, from 25% in June to only 15% today.
Is business slow? December 2007 vs. June 2008 vs. September 2008
Yes, I’ve been laid off.
Yes. I won’t make my hours.
Yes, but I’ll make my hours.
It’s slow for others, but not me.
No. We need more people.
Find out what’s hot and what’s not, after the jump.
Late Friday night, we reported that Sarah Palin’s tax returns failed to report the per diem reimbursements she received as governor of Alaska. Over the weekend our commenters weighed in:
This is an easy income tax question. Any 1L/2L taking an income tax class could have answered this problem. Yes, the IRS usually relies on employer’s W2 forms. That’s for administrative convenience. For the most part, the IRS doesn’t want to audit every employee’s fringe benefits, which would be an incredible waste of tax dollars. That being said, the governor, with all her qualifications and knowledge regarding the U.S. system of governance, should have known that a per diem (worth how much over the last 18 months?) should be included in her tax return. If my employer reimbursed me for tens of thousands of dollars (for what expenses?), I would at least think about whether this was income.
The answer is probably that Palin is civilly responsible for underreporting income and underpaying taxes, but is not criminally responsible.
Criminal tax violations require “willfulness”. In the criminal tax arena, the Supreme Court has interpreted that as a pretty tough standard — approaching actual intent to violate a known obligation. See Cheek v. United States (1991). But a taxpayer is civilly liable for taxes whether or not she knew or had reason to know of the liability. (You’re still liable even if you relied in good faith on your accountant; even if you thought you didn’t have to pay; even if you made just a math error). And the IRS can require payment of back-taxes for whatever years are still within the statute of limitations, which almost certainly would include Palin’s limited time as governor.
So to the extent [Roger] Olsen [Palin's tax lawyer] is simply saying that Palin won’t be criminally prosecuted, he’s right. To the extent he’s saying that the IRS would believe Palin current on her obligations, he’s wrong — she’s going to have to file amended returns and send in a check.
The market may have already discounted the $700 billion ($840 B) bailout bill, but the legal profession hasn’t even begun to get its hands around this thing.
But while we wait for serious actions to arise from the market implosion, at least we have this crazy dude from “reenactment of 1776” to help us pass the time. This guy is one of the many — mentally unbalanced — souls who makes the internet so much fun. But he has taken a break from his usual calls for a violent proletariat revolution to attack the bailout bill through more “constructive” means. He proposes a class action lawsuit against … well, I’m not sure who exactly. But the point is that he is against it! And he believes that the 13th Amendment provides all the legal cover he requires:
If this bailout is passed, I Larry Bumgarner, from reenactmentof1776.com will try to file papers in Federal Court to get an injunction against this bailout, to stop it, so that we can protect the lower and middleclass from thirteenth amendment violations. This I would like to turn into a class action suit with members of the lower and middleclass. If you would be interested in joining a class action lawsuit please respond to this site with your e-mail address.
* Citigroup convinced Justice Charles E. Ramos of the New York State Supreme Court to issue an emergency order this weekend blocking Wachovia’s sale to Wells Fargo. “The litigation could be a blockbuster, pitting some of the nation’s largest surviving financial institutions against one another and giving work to the most expensive legal talent money can buy.” [New York Times]
… * UPDATE: Wells Fargo and Citibank may divvy up Wachovia. [Bloomberg]
* Shocker from Michelle Obama’s new biography! She was dissatisfied with firm work at Sidley Austin. Even when they gave her Coors beer ads. [Lynn Sweet/Chicago Sun-Times]
* Expect the future of SCOTUS to get attention in the last month of the presidential race. Reverend Wright to One First Street? [New York Times]
* Charges in the Italian legal “Parent Trap” case. The Italian judge and her non-lawyer twin sister who swapped places for a day will be charged with fraud. [Reuters]
* We welcomed SCOTUS back earlier today. More on the term ahead and the lawyers who will be working their magic before the justices. [Legal Times]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
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Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!