* If the Muslim Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, they will impose sharia law. Just like Oklahoma! [ABC Online]
* Lindsay Lohan took to Twitter to announce that she “was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal.” Well, nature it is. [msnbc.com]
* Arizona is suing the federal government over the porous border. Mr. Obama, build us a wall! [Reuters]
* Barry Bonds, he of the enormous dome piece, had the number of felony charges against him dropped to five. Hauling that gargantuan cranium about. I’m not kidding, that boy’s head is like Sputnik. [ESPN]
I’ve been avoiding writing about Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of getting money for the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, and his lawsuit against New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. It’s too painful. It’s like being close enough to see Oliver Perez’s face just as you know things are going to completely unravel but still hoping against hope that he’ll throw a strike. It’s like wondering if David Wright spends his nights crying softly while Mike Piazza texts him weekly updates on how many days he has until he’s an unrestricted free agent. I know what’s happening; I just don’t like to talk about it.
But, as we mentioned in Morning Docket, Picard’s massive complaint was made public today. He says Wilpon and Katz made $300 million in fictitious profits from business dealings with Madoff.
As you read through the allegations, try to remember how poorly the Wilpons make decisions about whom to hire, whom to fire, and how much to play baseball players — and then tell me if you are at all surprised by anything here…
Being married to a Paul Weiss partner is nice; getting divorced from a Paul Weiss partner is even nicer. Thanks to the prestigious firm’s eye-popping profits, getting divorced from a PW partner should give you a seven-figure payday (assuming the Paul Weiss partner has been a partner for a while and is the “monied spouse” — a pretty safe assumption, unless you work at, say, Goldman Sachs).
But when you get that gigantic payment — like winning the lottery, but without all the taxes — can you feel confident in its finality? Or do you have to worry that your ex-spouse, a partner at a firm known for its aggressive and brilliant lawyering, will find a clever way to get some of that money back from you, years later?
Consider the tale of Steven Simkin, a Paul Weiss partner of almost three decades, and his ex-wife Laura Blank, who works in education. It involves a multimillion-dollar marital estate, residential properties in Manhattan and the tony suburb of Scarsdale, and an investment account with one Bernie Madoff.
And yes, for your voyeuristic pleasure, the tale comes with hard numbers, lots of numbers…
Rack up another win for trustee Irving Picard, the partner at Baker Hostetler who’s cleaning up the Bernard Madoff mess. On Friday, Picard and Preet Bharara, the headline-making U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced a $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower (no it’s not spelled “Jeffrey”).
Picower, a successful investor and prominent philanthropist, earned billions — both real, through investing with Goldman Sachs, and fictional, through investing with Madoff — before he died in October 2009. Picower was found dead in the swimming pool of his home in Palm Beach, apparently after suffering a heart attack (a plot device familiar to viewers of Brothers & Sisters and The OC). If he had held on until January 2010, Picower would have avoided the estate tax.
Of the $7.2 billion settlement, $5 billion will go to Picard, to settle the complaint he filed against Picower in bankruptcy court, and $2.2 billion will go to the Department of Justice — the largest civil forfeiture payment in U.S. history. All of this money will eventually find its way to qualifying Madoff victims.
Based on monies collected to date, what kind of recovery might Madoff’s victims be looking at?
* Time to find a new fetish to deposit in your spank banks, sickos, because animal crush videos have been banned (again). [CNN Politics]
* Despite Mark Madoff’s suicide, Irving Picard still has him on a short leash is pursuing litigation against the Madoffs. All clawback lawsuits against the family will continue to move ahead. [Wall Street Journal]
Mark Madoff, the oldest of Bernard Madoff’s two sons, committedsuicide on Saturday, by hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment. Saturday was a significant day: the second anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Mark Madoff’s lawyer, prominent Paul Weiss partner Martin Flumenbaum, issued a statement yesterday: “Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy…. [Mark Madoff was] an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”
Flumenbaum wasn’t the only powerful Paul Weiss personage named “Martin” with involvement in this case. Mark Madoff’s body was actually found by legendary litigator Martin London, a longtime partner at the firm who is now of counsel at PW.
As noted on his Paul Weiss website bio, “[t]he gamut of Mr. London’s successes is vast.” But his experience is primarily on the civil side, with occasional forays into white-collar criminal work. His docket generally doesn’t include violence and death; he’s not the kind of lawyer who sees dead people (e.g., a homicide prosecutor).
* A Los Angeles Judge accused an asbestos litigation firm of playing “a grisly game of asbestos litigation” after they refiled a Texas case in California because it has more exacting standards for a defendant to obtain summary judgment. Perhaps, judge, you’ve lost a little perspective? [ABA Journal]
* A German court rejected a woman’s appeal to take her married name Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein because it is too long. [Time.com]
* “Across Georgia, poor people accused of crimes are being abandoned by their lawyers because there is no money to pay their legal fees” (this might put deferred start dates in to perspective).[The Atlanta Journal Constitution]
* Madoff “turned his investment firm into his ‘personal piggy bank,’” using the ponzi money for his family’s expenses. Personally, I have no energy for renewed outrage. [Bloomberg.com]
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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 six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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