Wall Street

Bank of America Merrill Lynch B of A.jpg* 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]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 10.13.09″

Sarbanes Oxley for Dummies Sarbox SOX book.jpgIs the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board unconstitutional? This admittedly boring-sounding entity has the important task of overseeing accounting firms, who in turn keep an eye on the balance sheets of corporate America, through such mechanisms as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.
The constitutionality of SOX and the PCAOB is at issue in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, one of the most important cases of the new Supreme Court term. As previously noted, the D.C. Circuit upheld the board’s constitutionality against a separation-of-powers challenge — but over a strong dissent by Article III rock star Brett Kavanaugh, which may have grabbed the justices’ attention.
Read more — and comment (anyone care to predict the result?) — over at Going Concern.
Is the PCAOB Going the Way of the Dodo? [Going Concern]
Earlier: The Sarbanes-Oxley Accounting Board: Not Long For This World?

Andrew Cuomo small Andy Cuomo Attorney General New York.JPGYesterday, 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cleary Lawyer Calls Out Cuomo”

Andrew Cuomo small Andy Cuomo Attorney General New York.JPGA couple of weeks ago, I asked if the mainstream media was aware of the existence of Biglaw lawyers. They’re still not, but the New York Attorney General is. Dealbook reports:

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo fired another shot at Bank of America on Tuesday, asking the bank to allow its lawyers to be questioned.
In a letter to the bank’s outside counsel, Lewis J. Liman of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Mr. Cuomo wrote that “attorney-client privilege is hindering this office’s ability to make fair and fully informed decisions as to what charges, if any, to bring and whether individual Bank of America officers should be charged.”

What, does Andrew Cuomo want BOA to waive privilege to help him out? I’m not sure that this is how to run a prosecutor’s office, but it seems like a pretty effective way to run for Governor through the headlines.
Cuomo Takes Aim at Bank of America’s Lawyers [Dealbook]
Earlier: The Mainstream Media Is Aware That Law Firms Exist, Right?

wall street bull backside.jpgWill the mainstream media ever hold law firms accountable for their roles in the global financial crisis? Probably not. Relatively speaking, only a small sector of society understands that Biglaw firms played a significant role making “toxic assets” lucrative and legal. Without attorneys, bankers wouldn’t know their tranches from their enhancements.
Too few people can get their head around what actually happened to cause the market crisis. But the public — the average American citizen — can wrap its mind around the concept of bonuses. I think it goes something like this:
Bonuses, BAD. Wall Street, BAD. Pitchforks and Torches, GOOD.
Can the mainstream media latch onto that?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Mainstream Media Is Aware That Law Firms Exist, Right?”

Bernie Madoff Bernard Madoff.jpgYou know you want to know….
Hazard a guess. Then click on the link below.
Bernie Madoff’s Greatest Scam Of All [Dealbreaker]
Earlier: What Kind Of Package Is A Bernie Madoff Package?

Russia.jpgFriday was the last day for companies on the government dole to submit their pay plans to Kenneth Feinberg, our nation’s new Pay Czar. The new compensation commissar is as powerful as a mid-winter blizzard on the Eurasian Steppe. According to Law.com:

The Obama administration’s “pay czar” is embarking on a review of proposed compensation packages for the top employees at seven companies that are on government life support, marking the first time a federal official will have veto power over how much private-sector executives are compensated.

Kenneth Feinberg, who ran the government’s fund for families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has 60 days to approve or reject the compensation plans submitted this week from bailout recipients. They include American International Group Inc. and General Motors.

Can’t you just see a detail of Feinberg’s men assigned to follow Fritz Henderson (the new CEO of GM) during his training routine? One day maybe Fritz will outrun Feinberg’s men and climb to the top of a high peak and scream “Fein-BERG,” as he prepares for an epic final battle with Feinberg himself?

In the meantime, here are more reasons why being a lawyer right now is better than being a banker.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Хороший день, Comrade Pay Czar. Не снимите нас”

Bernie Madoff Bernard Madoff.jpgOr maybe good news? It seems they’ll get to enjoy Labor Day weekend before any trouble hits.
Read more and discuss over at Dealbreaker.
Federal Prosecutors May Let Andy And Mark Madoff Enjoy Labor Day Weekend

It’s legal, so it’s within our jurisdiction. But our sister sites have written it up already, so we’ll simply refer you to their coverage.
UBS is Naming Names (Finally) [Going Concern]
UBS Eagerly Pays Extortion Money [Dealbreaker]

Bank of America Merrill Lynch B of A.jpgA U.S. House member wants Bank of America to turn over extensive documentation relating to its Merrill Lynch deal (with a focus on lossess and loss projections at Merrill). We wonder which law firm is representing B of A in this matter — there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned congressional investigation to get the billable-hour engines revving.
Read more and discuss over at Dealbreaker.
In A Surprising Twist, Lawmakers Focus On The BAC/ML Merger [Dealbreaker]

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