If you missed the Goldman Sachs Congressional hearing today, you missed the height of unintentional comedy. There are too many highlights to mention. Senator Carl Levin using a dirty word, the ongoing train wreck that is Senator Tom Coburn, it was the kind of hearing that makes you laugh out loud at Congress (and secretly weep for our country). I’ll let Bess Levin of our sister site, Dealbreaker, describe a particularly lively twenty minute exchange:
* 10:09: Carl [Levin]: “Goldman Sachs treats clients like objects (of profit).” Jackie Treehorn, a former prop trader, was the first to pioneer this model at the firm.
* 10:16: Goldman made money off its shorts. Dun Dun Dun.
* 10:26: Apparently Goldman didn’t just hurt its clients, it hurt everyone in the world. Take a moment right now to show us on the doll where Goldman touched you.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Goldman Sachs this morning. According to the SEC, Goldman is guilty of taking a “do what I say, not what I do” approach to mortgaged-backed securities.
Well, d’uh. That’s why Goldman isn’t suckling on the federal teat right now.
The SEC claims Goldman sold a financial instrument that they knew was going to fail, while at the same time taking short positions against that instrument.
Goldman denies the charges:
The SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.
Am Law Daily reports that Sullivan & Cromwell partner Richard Klapper will be representing Goldman in this matter.
Let’s unpack the SEC’s complaint (pdf). Whether or not the SEC prevails in this civil litigation, their complaint certainly succeeds in making Goldman look very shady — the company’s stock tanked this morning.
Patricia Cohen, ex-wife of SAC Capital billionaire Steve Cohen, has dropped her lawsuit against her ex-husband.
Except she hasn’t. Dealbreaker is covering all the ins-and-outs of this case. After it was reported that the lawsuit had been dropped, Dealbreaker received comment from Patricia Cohen. Bess Levin writes:
Uh, so Patricia has this to say: “I did not authorize Paul [Batista] to withdraw the case. My attorney, Gaytri Kachroo, will take the necessary actions in response to this.” So we’re back on!
If you happen to be on the frigid East Coast today, currently experiencing the coldest temperatures of the season, grab yourself a cup of cocoa and a copy of the Sunday New York Times. The NYT often has articles of interest to a legal audience, but this weekend’s edition has an especially high number of stories either by or about the boldface names of the legal profession. To wit:
1. Power of Attorney: Questions for John Yoo. Deborah Solomon interviews John Yoo, the Berkeley law professor perhaps most well-known for his authorship of the so-called “torture memos.” Considering her liberal politics and modus operandi as an interviewer — we’ve previously described her as “snarky, cranky, exceedingly direct” — we were expecting her to go to town on Yoo.
But Professor Yoo actually comes across very well in the short Q-and-A (and is looking newly svelte in the accompanying photo). He’s smart, funny, and charming — not a surprise to us, based on our personal interactions with him, but perhaps a surprise to some who know only the cartoon villain depicted by the mainstream media.
2. The 30-Minute Interview: Jonathan L. Mechanic. An interesting interview with real estate super-lawyer Jonathan Mechanic, chairman of the real estate department of Fried Frank (and previously profiled here). We learn that Mechanic, in addition to being a top real estate attorney, is also a real estate investor: he owns retail and commercial properties in Bergen County, NJ (where we grew up).
Three more stories, after the jump.
A financing unit of Cerberus Capital Management L.P. has sued Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, claiming the law firm gave it bad advice in connection with a loan the private equity firm made last year to a company looking to bring retailer Steve & Barry’s out of bankruptcy.
Ableco Finance LLC, a unit of Cerberus with more than $6 billion under management, filed an amended complaint Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court against its former lawyers seeking more than $55 million it said it lost because of the $125 million loan. Ableco claims it would never have made the loan last year if the Paul Hastings team had advised it that the buyer would not have rights to all of Steve & Barry’s inventory, which Ableco understood would back the loan.
“No competent, diligent finance lawyer would have put his client in such a vulnerable position,” Ableco’s complaint reads in part.
Ouch. We agree with Ashby Jones of the WSJ Law Blog: “It’s never good for a law firm to get sued by one of its clients. But when the client is a deep-pocketed heavyweight like private-equity giant Cerberus, the news is probably especially unwelcome.”
But Paul Hastings is fighting back, with the help of high-powered counsel.
We continue our lateblogging of the Federalist Society’s 2009 National Lawyers Convention. The conversations at the conference are always interesting. As far as we’re concerned, this has to be one of the most painless ways to rack up CLE credits.
Here’s the next panel discussion that we attended: Regulation of Financial Institutions
Hon. Paul S. Atkins, Congressional Oversight Panel and Former U.S. SEC Commissioner
Ms. Stephanie R. Breslow, Partner, Schulte, Roth & Zabel LLP
Dean Paul G. Mahoney, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Hon. Annette L. Nazareth, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Moderator: Hon. Edith H. Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
A quick and dirty write-up, after the jump.
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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.
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