Vicious Infighting

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us together todaaay.

Today we have news about the marriage of a lawyerly power couple, or at least news about the charred, tattered remnants of what the marriage once was. This extraordinarily dysfunctional ex-couple got chastised by a judge for nuking not only their sacred union but most of their considerable wealth in the process.

We know all’s fair in love and war. I guess that includes seppuku, but I’m not sure it’s really the most effective strategy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Abandon The Wedding Ship — And Then Set Fire to the Lifeboats!”

The iPhone 5 in all its glory.

OMGGGG the new iPhone 5 was announced this morning! It’s the lightest, thinnest, bestest, fastest iPhone ever. It’s got a bigger screen, it fights crime, and it even picks up after your dog! Woooooo, Steve Jobs, you will never die in our hearts and minds and souls. <3333

OK, now that that’s out of the way, why do all you lawyers give a damn?

The intellectual property arms race, that’s why. As a Google VP mentioned in an interview earlier this week, Steve Jobs had warned us years ago about the possibility of thermonuclear IP war. Well, with the release of the new iPhone coming hot off the heels of Apple’s billion-dollar victory against Samsung, the bombs may be falling.

Or, in the words of Willem Dafoe, “There was a fire patent fight!”

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As we noted in Morning Docket, many former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf are less than pleased with the proposed settlement between the D&L bankruptcy estate and ex-partners of the firm. Preliminary reactions “rang[e] from skepticism to anger,” according to Am Law Daily.

In the words of Mark Zauderer, counsel to almost 60 former Dewey partners, “I’m not seeing overwhelming enthusiasm for the proposal.” A former D&L partner was even more blunt: “I think this is destined to fail. Let the trustee [of a Chapter 7 liquidation] go for it.”

But not everyone holds such negative views. One ex-partner — who claims that he’s being asked to pay more than he thought he owed, and that he’ll have to postpone his retirement by several years due to Dewey’s downfall — told Thomson Reuters that he will vote for the deal anyway. “My view is there’s nothing less desirable than having this drag out for years,” he said. “I’m willing to pay a lot of money to have this go away.”

Dewey have other issues besides how to deal with former partners? Most certainly. There are pressing problems regarding the disposition of client files, as well as issues regarding retirement benefits for former Dewey & LeBoeuf employees….

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(And bad news for D&L 401(k) participants.)


Debtor in possession -- of a sign? Dewey still seems to have signage outside 1301 Avenue of the Americas. (Photo taken on Tuesday by yours truly.)

Ever since the once high-flying Dewey & LeBeouf filed for bankruptcy in late May, observers have been wondering about what type of financial arrangement the firm might work out with its former partners. Last month, we discussed the outlines of a possible settlement between D&L and its ex-partners, in which former partners would pay a certain amount of money into the Dewey bankruptcy estate in exchange for being released from future claims by Dewey’s estate, the firm’s creditors, and fellow ex-partners.

Would such a plan fly? We noted that the broad outlines sounded reasonable enough, but that much would turn on the specific contours of the proposal — especially the amounts that the partners would be asked to pay, and the methodology for determining those sums.

In the wake of a meeting held yesterday afternoon here in New York at a hotel in midtown Manhattan, we now have some additional information on that front….

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Clean-up efforts are underway at Dewey & LeBoeuf — and we’re not talking about the work of the janitors (at least not the ones who were allegedly stiffed on $300,000). Rather, we’re talking about the work being done by Dewey as debtor, aided by its high-priced advisory team, to put its affairs in order and to maximize the recovery for its creditors.

One of the biggest messes: how to deal with the firm’s hundreds of former partners. Dewey’s lead lawyer, Albert Togut of Togut Segal & Segal, has already made clear his plans to seek some funds from them.

In a conference call yesterday afternoon, Dewey’s bankruptcy advisers informed ex-partners about the contours of a possible global settlement….

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It has been a few days since our last detailed story about the largest law firm bankruptcy in history. So let’s check in on the Chapter 11 proceedings of Dewey & LeBoeuf, currently pending in bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York.

There have been a few recent developments. For example, as we mentioned in Morning Docket, Dewey is being counseled in bankruptcy by some pretty pricey advisers.

How expensive are we talking?

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How would you like to be pursued by the Angel of Death? It doesn’t sound like much fun, right?

But it’s the latest plague to be visited upon certain former leaders of the now-bankrupt law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. Former D&L partner Henry C. Bunsow — nicknamed the Angel of Death by Alison Frankel of Thomson Reuters, due to his status as an ex-partner of three failed firms (Brobeck, Howrey, and Dewey) — has sued former leaders of Dewey, alleging that they misrepresented the firm’s finances.

Let’s learn about his allegations, as well as catch up on the latest wranglings in the Dewey bankruptcy case….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Spawn Ugly Litigation? And Battling in Bankruptcy Court? But Of Course!”

There’s something special about racism that comes out of Cambridge. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s almost like a stylized racism. Like, if it happened at Duke you’d just say “racism at Duke,” but when it happens at Harvard, you feel like saying, “A racial hypothetical puzzles the HLS community; stay tuned to see which professor makes it worse.”

Today we’ve got another weird racial story covered in crimson. It’s set against the backdrop of the student government elections at Harvard Law School that may take place later today — an event that I can’t imagine more than ten people on campus truly care about. But there are minority-on-minority accusations of racism, and the one white guy is just running to prove that he shouldn’t be allowed to run.

And, clear as I can tell, the catalyst was one breathless Harvard Law School Record article that kind of threw around allegations of racism just for the heck of it.

Are we going to tell you a little bit about the issues, so you can then vote on Above the Law for the next SBA president at HLS, in the hope that your votes might influence the election? Of course we are!

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Last month, we brought you the story of a student bar association dust up at NYU Law School.

The NYU SBA Treasurer, whom we called “Cashing Out,” resigned her position. The SBA President, “Party Law,” wrote an email to the entire student body, accusing the treasurer of making a lot of errors. The treasurer responded, accusing the SBA President of misappropriating funds.

OH MY GOD, WHAT’S THAT BEHIND YOU????

Just kidding. Just trying to keep you awake during this riveting retelling of accounting inconsistencies by two self-important NYU kids who should be preparing for callbacks now.

You’d think something of this magnitude would just kind of fade into the background, but the NYU administration decided to give this thing new life. The administration conducted an investigation into the dispute.

And the administration is coming down on the side of Party Law….

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Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.

Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.

Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.

Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.

Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….

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