Although it officially passed away back in March, when its partners voted for dissolution, the law firm of Howrey LLP continues to twitch in its grave — or maybe even step out of its grave and walk around a bit, like a zombie from a horror flick.
Howrey continues to have a presence on Twitter, for example. A D.C.-based reader pointed out to us that the April 2011 issue of Washington Lawyer magazine contained a partnership announcement for the firm, on page 44: “Stephen D. Palley and Andrew R. Sommer have been named partner at Howrey LLP.” (Both landed on their feet: Palley is now a principal at Ober|Kaler, and Sommer is now of counsel at Winston & Strawn.)
And, strangely enough, Howrey is still seeking client engagements….
Although Howrey LLP officially dissolved as a partnership as of March 15, some operations continued beyond that date. But at the close of business today, the firm is going into a more complete shutdown, due to a withdrawal of bank financing.
“Last night, we received notice via email that Howrey is closing as of today, because CitiBank refuses to pay the payroll,” one source reported. “CitiBank has also refused to pay our PTO [paid time off], and our pension contributions.”
“Citibank has closed the door on Howrey operations today, more than a month before the May 9th date listed on WARN notices,” a second tipster confirmed. “No PTO, pensions will be paid out.”
UPDATE (6 PM): Citi takes issue with Howrey’s take on events. From a Citi spokesperson: “We are deeply disappointed in Howrey’s mischaracterization of the situation. Citi is not responsible for the employment practices of a client and has acted in a professional manner throughout this process.”
Accept your offers. It’s wise advice for 2Ls going through fall recruiting, and it’s wise advice for partners of the rapidly unraveling Howrey law firm, most of whom have offers to join Winston & Strawn. Last weekend, Winston made offers to a little over 75 percent of Howrey partners, with responses requested in 21 days.
Yesterday we mentioned that a Howrey partnership conference call took place on Tuesday. During that meeting, firm chairman Robert Ruyak and Winston & Strawn managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald apparently urged Howrey partners with Winston offers to accept them as soon as possible, according to The Recorder.
Many Howrey partners have already left for other firms, as chronicled in these pages. A group of eleven attorneys recently departed for Morgan Lewis, for example.
Of the 200 to 230 Howrey partners who remain, how many are likely to go with Winston?
It’s time for a brief postscript on one of this month’s juicier (and well-trafficked) stories: the dismissal of three women associates from litigation powerhouse Boies Schiller. We have a few additional tidbits that we can share with you.
But this is probably the last story we’ll be doing on this drama, since we don’t expect anything else to emerge. One piece of information we’ve received is that the associates were offered severance pay — “very generous” severance, in the words of one source — but had to release any claims against the firm in exchange. All three took the deal, including the expectant mother. So don’t expect any “Aaron Charney for pregnant women”-type lawsuits.
What other details can we reveal about the situation?
This morning brought more lawyer layoff news. As reported by Peter Lattman over at DealBook, David Boies’s celebrated litigation firm, Boies Schiller, last week laid off three associates.
(The DealBook piece refers to the dismissals as “layoffs,” and we’ve used that terminology in the title of this post and the first paragraph. But whether these terminations should be considered true “layoffs” is open to question — please keep reading.)
As noted in Am Law Daily, the three associates “worked on the firm’s representation of British private equity firm Terra Firma in its unsuccessful civil suit against Citigroup.” Now that the three-week trial is over, presumably the firm felt it could let the women go — and perhaps make them the “fall guys” (or gals) for the adverse result.
Two of three associates used to work in the firm’s former office in Short Hills, New Jersey. After that office was spun off last year into what is now Stone & Magnanini, the two jumped across the Hudson to join the New York office of Boies. So perhaps they didn’t have powerful patrons at BSF – NYC to protect them from the ax.
Back in September, we wrote about David J. Stern, “Florida’s Foreclosure King,” who earned our Lawyer of the Day title for his ascendancy from the fourth tier to the lap of luxury. At the time, we sang Stern’s praises. Stern, a graduate of South Texas Law, employs 900 people, made $17.8 million in 2008, owns $60 million in real estate, and collects yachts.
Thanks to the New York Times, we knew back then that Stern may have been a shady character. But we kind of brushed off those pesky little questions about his “ethics” and “questionable practice methods.” I mean, come on, how many lawyers can say that they drive a Bugatti?
Well, maybe we shouldn’t have overlooked these issues so quickly…
In a couple of years, we might look back on today as the first point where the giant, unsustainable bubble that is the student loan market began to burst. Check out this press release:
The Student Loan Corporation (NYSE:STU – News), a subsidiary of Citibank, N.A., and a leading originator and servicer of student loans, announced that The Student Loan Corporation (“SLC”) and Discover Financial Services (“Discover”) have entered into a definitive agreement for Discover to acquire SLC, and thereby become the owner of its private student loan business as well as $4 billon of its private student loans. Separately and immediately prior to the transaction, (i) SLM Corporation (“Sallie Mae”) will acquire from SLC $28 billion of securitized federal student loans and related assets and (ii) Citi will acquire from SLC certain federal and private student loans and other assets totaling $8.7 billion. Upon the closing of the transactions described above, shareholders of SLC will receive $30 per share.
So Citi is getting out of the student loan origination business (although they’ll still have some existing loans on their books). I guess they don’t want to be the Lehman Brothers of this failing market…
When last we checked in on Debrahlee Lorenzana (pictured), she was switching lawyers to bring on a fellow media hog, Gloria Allred (recently the subject of a lengthy NYT profile). Over the weekend, Lorenzana filed her first papers under Allred’s stewardship.
Apparently we need to make a call to Geneva or something, and have them check out Citibank. FoxNY reports:
A tearful Debrahlee “Debbie” Lorenzana read a prepared statement Monday morning explaining why she is a victim of sex discrimination.
Lorenzana and her attorney, Gloria Allred, are asking for a human rights investigation. She claims she was fired from her job as a business banker job at Citibank after complaining that male colleagues called good looks distracting.
In other breaking news regarding workplace human rights violations, when I walked in today, I’m almost positive that a Breaking Media colleague thought “Whoa, that’s a big dude.” Nothing was said, but I saw it in her eyes. Can somebody text me the number for The Hague?
Maybe her former lawyer is safer ground? A couple of days ago we mentioned that Lorenzana hired Gloria Allred. But yesterday news surfaced about the lawyer Lorenzana fired, Jack Tuckner. Dealbreaker claims that Debrahlee might have just fired the perfect man for her case:
Specifically, Lorenzana says that she was told not to wear pencil skirts or stilettos. And while Tuckner may be the creepiest lawyer of all time, it turns out he has deep knowledge of this sort of footwear (and the other accoutrement that might fill out the ensemble), and how its presence in the corporate world can only enhance business, such as when a stilleto is shoved up one’s ass.
Yeah, it turns out that Tuckner is no stranger to sexual harassment claims…
It seems the world can’t get enough of Debrahlee Lorenzana, the former Citibank employee who alleges she was fired because she was “too hot.” She’s been making the rounds of the morning talk shows, and people have been absolutely gushing about her figure, which allegedly got her fired.
But could you call her body an attractive nuisance to the men and women who supposedly persecuted her for her beauty? Perhaps, since it now appears that Debrahlee’s boobs were not endowed, but acquired. Dealbreaker reports:
In this clip of her aforementioned knockers surgery, … she says she pumped them up to meet “a professional, well-educated man.”
Dealbreaker has a full clip of Debrahlee’s appearance on Plastic Surgery New York Style. Click here to watch it.
You could say that the video defines the word “busted”….
When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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