* President Bush wants lawmakers to hurry up and pass the $700 billion bailout plan. Sounds like taxpayers are going to be paying back those $600 economy stimulation rebates and then some. The Dems agree to drop the provision giving greater authority to bankruptcy judges. [New York Times]
* Democrats sue in Washington to force “G.O.P.” gubernatorial candidate to embrace his “Republican” identity. [New York Times]
At yesterday’s shareholder video conference, the leadership of Heller Ehrman assured the partnership that their line of credit was still open. That doesn’t mean that they can survive, just that they still have some time to make their next move.
Meanwhile, after the meeting, Heller Chairman Matthew Larrabee finally communicated with associates and staff:
I am profoundly sorry that I have not been in direct communication with you recently. We realize that there has been a lot of news coverage about our firm, and it is wrong to have that be your source of information. We have been focused on urgent and significant issues that are facing the firm and carefully considering our options. We also have been focused on trying to get answers to the many questions that we know need to be addressed.
While that may explain some of the private meetings and small-group discussions that have been held recently, we know that there has been a lengthy gap in communication that needs to be filled as soon as possible.
To that end, we are planning to hold meetings with everyone before the end of this week via video conference and/or local, in-person discussions. You will receive an invitation to participate as soon as we can finish gathering important information we know you seek.
Again, I apologize for not communicating with you sooner. We realize the anxiety that you are feeling and we are doing everything we can to find answers to your questions.
But what is left to say? As one tipster put it:
[T]he whole place here is nuts. I’m kinda soaking up a salary until a decision gets made, but we’re operating under the assumption that we’re gonna fold.
Pour a shot on the ground for Heller? Probably in a few weeks for sure.
A wise man once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Take heart Hellerites, the long dark of dissolution is almost at an end.
Are you still stuck at the office, settling in for a long evening of work, and thinking about what to order from SeamlessWeb? Maybe you goofed off all day because you have nobody to go home to at night.
(We know what that’s like. It’s why we’ve been covering the ATL night shift lately.)
Fellow single people, we wish you a Happy National Singles Week (September 21-28). From the San Francisco Chronicle:
There are 92 million unmarried Americans, and this is their week.
Since the 1980s, the third full week of September has been National Singles Week. Started by Ohio’s Buckeye Singles Council as a way to recognize the role singles play in society, it is now known as National Unmarried and Single Americans Week. According to the U.S. census, the adjusted name acknowledges that many unmarried Americans do not identify with the word “single” because they have partners or are widowed.
Many of them are also rejecting the stereotyped notion that they’re living in hope of the perfect spouse appearing, a Disneylike vision in a reality-show world. They’re creating a grassroots effort to obtain equal rights in health care access, taxation and other areas while demanding that they be seen as living their lives in full.
And equal rights in law offices, too. Single lawyers: How many times have you had to pick up the slack or hold down the fort for a colleague who left work early for an anniversary dinner, daughter’s ballet recital, or Valentine’s Day celebration?
Read more — plus take a reader poll, concerning whether single people or married people make better Biglaw employees — after the jump.
It looks like the shareholders of Heller Ehrman will finally get the latest information about what’s going on at the firm. We just received this message:
To: All Shareholders
We are holding a FW SH VC today to provide you with as much information as we can. Although we will not have answers to all your questions, we plan to update you on our “bank discussions, plans for an orderly transition (or wind down) of our business and larger opportunities for our people”.
We realize all of you are very busy. Please make every effort to participate in today’s meeting. Thank you.
Heller is starting to look like a supernova that happens in slow motion.
The email has caused some members of the Heller community to speculate on the obvious question: are we getting paid this week?
Whether it’s “an orderly transition” or a “wind down,” the future of Heller could be known in the next few hours.
* McCain is suspending his campaign — and trying to back out of Friday’s debate — so he can focus on the economy. We’ll go with that until Sarah Palin figures out how she can drop McCain from the ticket entirely. [Dealbreaker]
* The ABA is launching a new magazine directed at IP attorneys, blatantly pandering to the only attorneys that have stable futures these days. [ABA]
* I wish I had the stones to say this to my parents … yesterday [Ridiculum]
* Man farts on police officer and gets charged with battery. What’s next, resisting arrest via halitosis? [WSAZ.com via Drudge]
* O.J. nemesis David Cook (who represents the Goldman family) has been barred from testifying against Simpson in his current armed robbery trial. The prosecution had hoped to use Cook to establish Simpson’s motive. [AP]
Memo to prospective 2009 Heller summer associates: you might want to disregard that summer offer you received. While the firm has not officially canceled it’s 2009 summer program, this email is exemplary of the chatter we are hearing at ATL today:
Three weeks ago, I interviewed for a summer associate position with … Heller Ehrman. A week later, I received an offer. Although I harbored concerns about taking an offer from Heller, I liked many of the people I met … A few days ago, I got a call from their recruiting department. They said that although they could not officially rescind their offer, they “strongly encouraged” me to decline their offer, and accept an offer from another firm. They said that, looking ahead, they are now uncertain about the viability of a summer program in 2009. I can’t imagine that bodes well for the future of the firm…..
With Heller Ehrman’s future still up in the air, no job or offer is safe. Prospective summers should beware. Current employees are already telling you that things are not looking good.
But there seems to be one dominate question in the minds of our readers:
[T]he firm’s management should get together and write a book on how to run a profitable 119 YEAR OLD LAW FIRM that has survived Black Tuesday and the great depression, survived Black Monday, the S&L Crisis of the 90’s and every other low point in American financial history until now into the ground in just one year.
During this interregnum between the signs of distress and the official announcement of … whatever, the blame game seems like the only appropriate distraction.
The San Francisco Chronicle has one take on how Heller lost its way:
The closest recent parallel is the demise of another venerable San Francisco law firm, Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, which filed for bankruptcy in 2003. But the end of Brobeck, founded in 1926, was tied to the collapse of the dot-com boom in 2000. Brobeck’s lucrative specialty in technology IPOs and tech company clients imploded.
Heller Ehrman, by contrast, foundered while it shared with other law firms a challenging economy and an intensely competitive mutual effort to attract top lawyers who can bring in business.
But many readers felt that management — not the market– was to blame for Heller’s woes:
It was Heller Ehrman’s continued attempts to LOOK LIKE a big NY Law Firm that brought all of Heller Ehrman down.
I just wonder what law firm in NY would take on lawyers from Heller’s NY Office who spent the last 5 years destroying a 100+ year old SF Law Firm?
Of course, Tupac is no fun without a Biggie response:
I am so sick of the West Coast blaming all of this on NY. The NY associates, paras and staff didn’t have a vote and/or a say about Heller setting up shop in NY. We are in the same boat you are. So back off!!
One associate decided to move beyond assigning blame and instead skipped straight to the eulogy. Though the firm deleted the message in short order, it lives on thanks to a few quick-saving people and appeared in our comments thread. We applaud the writer’s attempt to stress the positives as Heller remains incommunicado.
Maria Dominguez knows that Diddy samples songs, but maybe she thought her boobs were off limits?
Dominguez, a hedge fund manager at an undisclosed firm, sued Diddy and Vibe magazine for publishing topless photos of her in a pool taken at Diddy’s 2003 “White Party” in the Hamptons. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan tossed the $3 million invasion-of-privacy suit yesterday. Ling-Cohan felt that there was no expectation of privacy when you are with Diddy:
“Sean Combs and his renowned annual White Party are subjects of tremendous public interest, attracting the steady attention of the public and many news organizations,” Ling-Cohan wrote.
Dominguez argued that she didn’t know pictures were being taken, and didn’t give anybody permission to publish her endowments.
Vibe’s lawyers countered with:
If you need to call Mr. Gorbachev to ask permission, you’ll never get anything published.
Gorbachev was pretty progressive. Maybe he would have given his blessing to publish naked pool pictures. I’m almost positive Yeltsin would have been down.
But Diddy’s lawyers articulated an excellent “fair use” policy that all future White Party revelers should commit to memory:
When you come to a party and you dress provocatively and you see a swarm of photographers there, you would know what you’re getting yourself into.
Chen Chih-chung was kicked out of UVA Law before he could start his 1L year for missing the school’s orientation meeting.
At least that is UVA’s official response.
No ordinary 1L would be kicked out of school for missing one meeting — but Chen is no ordinary 1L. As Virginia Law Weekly reports:
[Chen] is the son of Taiwan’s former President, Chen Shui-bian, who served from 2000 to 2008. After leaving office in May, he was indicted for his alleged role in a large-scale embezzlement and money laundering scheme.
The younger Chen missed the Law School’s orientation when he flew home to cooperate with an inquiry into whether he played a role in the alleged criminal enterprise. Chen Chih-chung has since been added as a defendant in the investigation.
[Ed Note: Yesterday we learned that Hope's partner pal, Randy, was taking testosterone pills to treat his "lactating man-boobs." Today we learn about the downside of hormonal supplements.]
“Testosterone pills? Like, how many do you have to take?”
“Well, right now three. One with every meal.”
I wanted to end this conversation and finish the bloody filing so I could go out and get wasted.
“Well, I hope it helps and you feel better soon!” I gathered my papers and stared at my laptop.
“Well, my chest isn’t hurting as much, but there’s this other problem.”
“Well…” Randy leaned forward and whispered, “I can’t stop thinking about sex. I’m like obsessed with it. I can’t do my work. It’s all I think about — I feel like I’ve turned into a teenage boy again.”
Okay, this is weird. Really weird. And, weird is what I sought to escape. I found myself longing for the hairy armpits, unbuckled trousers, and pool parties back at Pants Down.
“I mean… I can’t even go to lunch in public without staring at every girl that walks by.”
This proved to be true. I later witnessed this at a lunch with some summer associates. Each time a remotely attractive girl walked by, his neck moved more rapidly than the ducks I fed stale bread to at our lake house. Clearly he was hungry — and not shy.
“Well, I really think you need to talk to your doctor about this. Maybe they can lower the medication.”
“Well, he has lowered it. Still. All I think about its sex! Even my wife is sick of me — I want it like three times a day.” My mind flashed back to the photo of the blond trophy wife on his desk. Please. She probably doesn’t even want to do it with him three times a year.
“I’m really sorry about your problem. But, I do have to get this filing done in an hour.”
I get him out of my office — and fast. I mean, what does he want me to do here? Service him? Well, he can try the self-service island. I wanted to tell him to go whack off and leave me alone.
Hope tries to finish the task at hand, after the jump.
Five women embarked on Starline’s Haunted Hollywood Tour, expecting to hear celebrity tales of sex, drugs, and depravity. But it sounds like they inadvertently signed up for an immersion tour, with a guide who was drunk, high, and verbally and sexually abusive. Now they’re suing.
Five women say their host on a Starline Tours of Hollywood sexually pawed them while drunk or on drugs, called them “ni***rs” and “bitches,” urinated in a man’s front yard, lay down in the street with his shirt off, sexually attacked one woman while the other four yelled at him to stop, and assaulted them.
Maybe they should have been tipped off when their guide showed up in a “run-down, smoking Cadillac.” They claim they thought the car and depraved behavior were all part of the Halloween theme of the tour. Until the guy started to sexually assault one of them.
TMZ [PDF] got its hands on the complaint [PDF]. We’ve posted some choice excerpts after the jump.
In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we turn our attention to first-year associates.
Last month, we reported that a lot of practicing attorneys don’t really like summer associates:
The number of practicing attorneys who said “Summer associates, hate ‘em” narrowly beat the number of practicing attorneys who said “Summer associates, love ‘em,” by a margin of 25.06% to 24.82%. And while that edge may not be statistically significant, it still has to sting a little.
Among lawyers who had been practicing for more than two years, the gap widened considerably, to 30% vs. 22%.
And in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami, associates of all ages hated summer associates most of all, to the tune of at least 40%.
But now the summer associates of yesteryear are arriving at law firms around the country (unless their start dates have been delayed). How will they be received?
Will they be welcome colleagues, greeted as liberators from document production?
Or, now that their days of free lunch are behind them, will they consume precious billable hours and leave older associates hungry for work?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
We have extensively covered the law firms shaking and baking thanks to the market collapse over the past few weeks. But the M&A and bankruptcy lawyers are only half of the clusterf&^%. Which litigators will get work as old Wall Street business models die spectacular deaths?
LegalTimes reports that O’Melveny & Myers is set up to have a huge litigation year:
[L]itigators at O’Melveny & Myers must be doing cartwheels in the hallways. Since Bank of America–a loyal client of O’Melveny’s litigation department–took over Countrywide earlier this year, O’Melveny has already begun to pick up extra work generated by the beleaguered mortgage company. With Merrill about to become part of Bank of America, O’Melveny might just be the best bet for out-of-work securities litigators looking for someplace to send their résumés.
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
It’s the legal profession’s equivalent of a long-term relationship.
When Michelle Waites, Senior Patent Counsel for Xerox Corporation, attended The LGBT Bar’s Lavender Law conference several years ago, she wasn’t sure what to expect. She left having forged a lasting business relationship that still endures today.
It was during The LGBT Bar’s event – an annual gathering of more than 1,600 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied legal professionals – that Waites first met Marla Butler, a partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP, who specializes in patent law.
Today, the two are still close friends as well as professional colleagues. Butler’s firm continues to work with Xerox – a business partnership forged via The LGBT Bar.
On November 19th, The Bar will present its first-ever conference outside the United States. Dubbed “A Lavender Law Experience for Europe,” the day-long Business Legal Conference will replicate programs such as the one that brought Waites and Butler together for legal professionals in Europe.
The JOBS Act created new tools for companies to publicly advertise securities deals online. As a result, thousands of new deals have hit the market and hundreds of millions in capital has been raised, spurring a wealth of new business development opportunities for attorneys.
Fund deals, startup capital raises, PIPE deals and loan syndicates are just a handful of the transactions benefiting from the JOBS Act. InvestorID FirmTM is a platform designed to help attorneys equip their clients with the workflow, marketing and compliance tools to publicly solicit a securities offering online. By providing clients with the tools to painlessly navigate the regulatory landscape of general solicitation, InvestorID FirmTM helps attorneys add value above just legal services.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) went into effect in 2013 and permits Regulation D offerings of securities to be advertised publicly. This means that funds and companies can now use social media, emails and web sites to market transactions to new “accredited” investors.
However, with these new powers come new pain points. InvestorID FirmTM provides a secure, fully hosted, cloud-based platform with a breadth of tools for your clients, including: