Greenberg Traurig

I’ll miss you the most, my little cupcake.

* Billable hours in Biglaw are down 1.5 percent, and 15 percent of U.S. firms are planning to reduce their partnership ranks in early 2013. Thanks to Wells Fargo for bringing us the news of all this holiday cheer! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Hostess may be winding down its business and liquidating its assets, but Biglaw will always be there to clean up the crumbs. Jones Day, Venable, and Stinson Morrison Hecker obviously think money tastes better than Twinkies. [Am Law Daily]

* How’s that “don’t be evil” thing working out for you? Google’s $22.5M proposed privacy settlement with the FTC over tracking cookies planted on Safari browsers was accepted by a federal judge. [Bloomberg]

* Greenberg Traurig and Hunton & Williams face a $7.2B suit from Allen Stanford’s receiver over a former attorney of both firms’ alleged involvement in the ex-knight’s Ponzi scheme. [Houston Business Journal]

* Perhaps the third time will be the charm: ex-Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins was convicted, again, for helping Refco steal more than $2B from investors by concealing the company’s fraud. [New York Law Journal]

* H. Warren Knight, founder of alternative dispute resolution company JAMS, RIP. [National Law Journal]

There’s always something interesting going on over at Greenberg Traurig. Over the summer, we covered their capital call. Earlier in the year, we wrote extensively about the drama in Coquina Investments v. TD Bank, a case in which the firm got sanctioned. Last month, we mentioned in passing the firm’s quiet settling of claims brought by current and former NFL players alleging that the firm failed to warn them adequately about investing in an ill-fated Alabama casino project.

Today brings word of another client-related controversy over at Greenberg Traurig….

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I got an offer!

The summer of 2012 brought a great deal of worry for Biglaw’s summer associates. Would they receive offers of permanent employment after all of their hard work? (And by “hard work,” we of course mean completing work assignments amid multiple forays into the world of being wined and dined.) In fact, this year’s summers were so anxious about whether they’d get an offer that their average “worry level” was higher than it had been since the height of the recession.

But as it turns out, all of their worry was for naught, because nearly all firms indiscriminately doled out offers like they were going out of style. According to the American Lawyer’s Summer Hiring Survey, responding firms hired 15.5 percent more summer associates this year than they did in 2011. That said, while things seem to be looking up, that doesn’t mean that all firms handed out offers like candy.

When we last spoke about summer associate offer rates, we wanted to know which firms had low offer rates. Now, thanks to Am Law, we’ve got some dirt for you. Which firms fell below the 100 percent mark?

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Looks like Fiona was picturing all the “Criminal” headline puns that she knew were coming.

* In the continuing tales of “It’s not easy being Green(berg),” the firm is settling more than 30 claims from NFL players who say the firm didn’t warn them about investing in an unlicensed casino project. Well, at it’s least better than investing in unlicensed dog-fighting. [Daily Business Review]

* Professor Dale Carpenter, author of a new book (affiliate link) about Lawrence v. Texas, wonders: If gay marriage goes to SCOTUS, could Justice Scalia get hoisted with his own petard? [SCOTUSblog]

* Fiona Apple was arrested for pot at the same Texas border stop as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and hacker wunderkind George Hotz. What she needs is a good defense… attorney. [TMZ]

* If I got stuck behind one of these d-bags who pays tolls with a hundred-dollar bill, I would be more concerned about whether it’s a civil rights violation for me to smash their back window with a tire iron. [FindLaw]

* Hey beer nerds, the top secret White House brew recipe has been declassified. This is some crucial government transparency in action. [Legal Blog Watch]

As regular readers of Lawyerly Lairs know well, some attorneys have beautiful — and expensive — homes. As we’ve just learned from the impressive submissions in our contest to find the best law firm offices in America, many attorneys’ workplaces are no less spectacular.

With the help of Mary Kate Sullivan, our wonderful intern here at Above the Law, I’ve winnowed the large and impressive field to eight finalists. There’s nice diversity here, in terms of firms (Biglaw versus non-Biglaw); decor (traditional versus modern); and geography (seven different cities, located all over the country).

Let’s check them out, shall we?

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Hey girl, did you like being a Biglaw associate? I know you did. But now it's time to make sweet love to a new career.

We’re taking a break from covering the “nothing to see here” capital call from Greenberg Traurig to cover people fleeing Greenberg Traurig.

I’m just kidding. We’ve got a fun departure memo from an associate who happens to be from Greenberg, but I don’t think this woman’s departure has anything to do with the firm’s financial health. Instead, she’s just pursuing new opportunities.

And it looks like she’ll be leaving with fond memories of her time at Greenberg. We know that from her choice of ’90s R&B bands that she used to herald her leaving….

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The current CEO of Greenberg Traurig, Richard Rosenbaum, recently gave an interview to the Daily Business Review in which he discussed the firm’s recent capital call (among other subjects). We mentioned the interview in Morning Docket, but because it contains a lot of grist for the mill, it merits a second look.

The subtext of the interview — and, at one point, the explicit text of the interview — could be summarized as, “Look, we are not like Dewey!” The bad news is that such statements should even be necessary. The good news is that they seem to be true (at least based on the information currently available).

Let’s hear what Richard Rosenbaum had to say….

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* That’s one hell of a “rainy day fund.” Greenberg Traurig is asking for $24M over the next two years, and has no plans to do it again in the near future. [Daily Business Review]

* Lots of law firms have been listening to that Petula Clark song about how great things are downtown, because that’s where their offices are headed. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Republicans are begging Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to quit, but he’s vowed to stay the course. “[A]bortion is never an option,” not even for his campaign. [New York Times]

* Dipping and squeezing is serious business in the condiment world, and that’s why there’s a patent lawsuit over this innovative ketchup packet. [Huffington Post]

* Career alternatives for attorneys: sci-fi salvaging savior? This entertainment lawyer is taking out-of-print fantasy novels and turning them into e-books. Sometimes being a nerd is pretty cool. [New York Daily News]

* Chris Danzig will be attending and live tweeting the Apple v. Samsung trial today. Follow him! [Twitter]

I watched your last few seconds of life, and I prayed for you! I saw you saved lives by your effort.

– a hand-written card left at the scene of the West Los Angeles plane crash that killed Greenberg Traurig attorney and volunteer medical pilot Sean McMillan. McMillan’s Cessna went down in a residential neighborhood, but he avoided hitting any homes or other people.

As businesses go, the business of law isn’t extremely capital intensive. Most of the capital in Biglaw is really human capital. As one bankruptcy lawyer put it, “It’s incredible how fragile law firms are. Unlike a company, the principal assets walk out the door every night.”

But law firms do need some capital. Those fabulous offices — and fabulous associates, at $160,000 and up — don’t come cheap.

Firms can obtain the capital they need to operate through borrowing; but credit needs to be used judiciously, lest a firm go the way of Dewey & LeBoeuf. And partners make capital contributions to the firm, most notably when they buy into the partnership.

But sometimes that capital isn’t enough. So firms issue capital calls to their partners, which brings us to today’s topic….

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