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.
Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about compensation for Wall Street bankers. The article explained how, due to criticism from the public and from Congress, banks shifted employee comp away from cash and towards stocks and options. This shift was supposed to align pay with performance, averting an AIG situation of rewarding failure.
Now, thanks to the recovery in bank shares — fueled in part by generous government bailouts, and not necessarily the brilliant performance of bank employees — these stock and option grants are turning out to be super-lucrative. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Goldman Sachs, for instance, sharply cut nearly all bonuses it paid last year but gave some executives more options than usual.
The company gave its general counsel, for example, 104,868 stock options and 14,117 shares in December, when the bank’s stock was around $78.
Now the bank’s shares have more than doubled in value, making that stock and option award worth nearly $12 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm in Redwood Shores, Calif.
Sullivan & Cromwell partners, eat your hearts out. Not only does Goldman GC Gregory Palm get to boss you around, he also makes more money than you do.
Today the winners of Lawyer of the Day honors are obvious. Congratulations to Arthur Cutillo, Michael Kimelman, and Jason Goldbfarb, three attorneys who stand accused of involvement in the infamous Galleon Group insider trading scheme.
Both Cutillo and Kimelman have distinguished pedigrees, with ties to two top firms. Cutillo (left), a holder of an M.S. in chemical engineering as well as a J.D. (both from Villanova), was an associate at the white-shoe firm of Ropes & Gray. Kimelman (right), a partner at Incremental Capital LLC, once worked as an associate at super-prestigious Sullivan & Cromwell.
Check out Cutillo’s firm bio and Kimelman’s LinkedIn profile over here.
UPDATE (10:00 AM): According to Bloomberg, the FBI has arrested Arthur Cutillo (pictured). He is no longer on the Ropes & Gray website, but you can find his bio via Google Cache. Interestingly enough, he was an IP litigator, not a corporate attorney.
CNBC is now reporting that a Ropes & Gray employee allegedly provided inside information about various “going private” transactions the firm was involved in. Some of these transactions apparently involved companies heavily dependent upon intellectual property, such as technology companies.
UPDATE (10:10 AM): In case the Google Cache entry is removed, we have posted Arthur Cutillo’s bio after the jump. He graduated from Rutgers (undergrad) and Villanova (law), and he worked at Merck before joining Ropes.
We are deeply disappointed to learn about this situation, which suggests an extreme breach of this person’s duty of trust to our clients and to the firm. We cannot comment in detail on an ongoing investigation but we are moving quickly to protect our clients and are cooperating fully with authorities.
UPDATE (12:15 PM): U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (S.D.N.Y.) is giving a press conference discussing the charges. One of the other individuals charged, Michael Kimelman, once worked as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell.
UPDATE (4:30 PM): We’ve honored Artie Cutillo, Michael Kimelman, and a third lawyer, Jason Goldfarb, as our Lawyers of the Day.
Art Cutillo’s Ropes bio and Mike Kimelman’s LinkedIn profile, after the jump.
The general public really doesn’t understand what top-flight counsel does for their corporate clients. If they did, the pitchforks and torches crowd would be as angry at Wall Street lawyers as they are at Wall Street bankers.
Friday’s “revelation” about the advice given to Bank of America by Wachtell Lipton illustrates the point. Am Law Daily reports:
Amid the piles and piles of formerly privileged documents related to the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger, there are a few notes and e-mails from mid-December 2008 showing that BofA’s lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz were saying very different things to their client and to federal regulators.
The e-mails show that early on the morning of December 19 [Wachtell litigation partner Eric Roth] advised the bank’s chief executive, Ken Lewis, and its interim general counsel, Brian Moynihan, on how difficult and financially risky it would be to try to invoke a so-called MAC — or material adverse change — clause, which would allow the bank to get out of the merger with Merrill.
But another e-mail from associate general counsel Teresa Brenner to Moynihan, sent several hours later and on the same day as Roth’s e-mail, says, “Eric made a very strong case as to why there was a MAC” during a conference call with some officials from the Federal Reserve.
Have you ever considered the possibility of getting sued for not being able to dance? That’s the reality now facing James Graeber, who allegedly flung a hedge fund employee right off of a dance floor at a New Jersey wedding. The New York Post reports:
An Upper West Side woman is suing a rowdy reveler who drunkenly clobbered her on the dance floor at his sister’s reception last year.
Christine Mancision said she was grooving after dinner at the Hyatt Morristown in New Jersey when, “all of a sudden, I turn and I’m grabbed by this really tall individual.”
“I had no idea who he was. And he grabbed my arm and spun me around to dance with me and then just flung me off to the side of the dance floor, and I went flying to the floor,” the petite 27-year-old recalled.
Turn around, bright eyes Every now and then I fall apart Turn around, bright eyes F***in every now and then I fall apart And I need you now tonight I f***in need you more than ever.
In related news, people who can dance do not go to weddings in New Jersey.
Mancision suffered a broken wrist and is suing James Graeber. But she’s also suing the Hyatt, for reasons passing understanding.
Details and updates after the jump.
* Bank of America’s board votes to waive privilege and disclose the legal advice it received on the Merrill Lynch merger, which could spell trouble for B of A’s outside counsel at Wachtell (depending on the advice given). [New York Times]
* Meanwhile, B of A expands its team for the SEC litigation in the S.D.N.Y. by hiring Paul Weiss (which, along with Cleary Gottlieb, urged the bank to waive privilege with respect to the Merrill merger advice). [Dealbook / New York Times]
* Tort reform, in the form of limitations upon medical malpractice suits, could save up to $54 billion over the next 10 years. [CNN]
* Jon and Kate arbitrate… [People]
Yesterday, we covered Andrew Cuomo’s letter to Bank of America. In it, the New York Attorney General ask BofA to essentially waive its attorney client privilege and allow the AG’s office to question BofA outside counsel at Cleary Gottlieb. Update: The NYAG is looking to talk to the lawyers who consulted on the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch merger. Cuomo wants to talk to attorneys at Wachtell and Shearman & Sterling. He is not asking to talk to Cleary lawyers about their work for the bank.
Today, Cleary commercial litigation partner Lewis Liman, fired back at New York’s chief lawyer. The Charlotte Observer has the details:
“First, the basic premise of the letter is simply wrong,” Bank of America’s attorney, Lewis Liman, wrote in the bank’s response. “Bank of America has not put at issue the subject matter of any advice of counsel. Nor has Bank of America offered reliance on legal advice as a justification for its disclosures. Bank of America’s position has been clear and consistent throughout: the proxy statement and related disclosures complied with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Because Bank of America did not violate the law, it has not offered reliance on legal advice as a defense.”
Lewis Liman? That sounds more like something Josh Lyman would write.
Apparently, the NYAG isn’t the only one that knows how to litigate in through the press. More from Liman and Bank of America, after the jump.
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.