White & Case

pink slip layoff notice Above the Law blog.jpgBased on a Washington Post article profiling the Five O’Clock Club, an outplacement and career coaching company, we constructed a Biglaw blind item:

Which New York law firm, having already completed two rounds of layoffs, has hired the Five O’Clock Club to help it carry out additional layoffs (in August, October, and November)?

After we ran the item, several firms came forward to declare they’re not the firm in question. And now they’re joined by one more: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis contacted ATL to say that it isn’t the firm with layoffs in the works. In fact, Morgan Lewis claims that it shouldn’t even be on the shortlist of contenders.
Read why — and check out the list of the Five O’Clock Club’s clients, including some very prestigious law firms that haven’t publicly admitted to layoffs — after the jump.

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(Plus a look at the Five O’Clock Club’s law firm clients.)”

pink slip layoff notice Above the Law blog.jpgOn Monday, we tossed out a blind item about future layoffs at a Manhattan law firm, mentioned in the Washington Post as a client of the Five O’Clock Club, an outplacement firm. On Tuesday, with the help of Law Shucks, we narrowed down the list of suspects.
We’re happy to report that we can advance the ball on this. Three firms should be cleared of suspicion:
1. Dewey & LeBoeuf: A spokesperson from D&L stated that it is not the firm in question and has no layoff plans.
2. Schulte Roth & Zabel: A spokesperson from SRZ stated that it is not the firm in question and has not hired a layoff consultant or outplacement consultant.
3. White & Case: A reader pointed out to us that White & Case is listed as a Five O’Clock Club client (PDF). [Update: Looks like the client list has been removed, but we downloaded it; check it out here.]
This caused us to wonder if White & Case might be the firm at issue. But White & Case denies it.

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White and Case logo.JPGThere are times when Biglaw seems to speak with one voice.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

This week appears to be one of those times.
Current summer associates all across the land are learning that any cherished hope of starting work in 2010 was a fool’s hope. Coming into this week Skadden, Cravath, Orrick and Ropes & Gray had deferred current summer associates (lucky enough to receive offers) to 2011 or beyond. But this week we’ve seen Hogan & Hartson, Morgan Lewis, and Weil Gotshal defer some of their current summer classes as well.
White & Case is the latest firm to join the list.
Read the full memo after the jump.

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As we mentioned last night, there is an interesting debate over what White & Case should have done in response to the adulterous sex scandal involving its associate, “Miami White.” The Daily Business Review takes a look at some of the competing theories for crisis management:

For White & Case, the unwanted publicity raises a question all law firm managers and public relations professionals should consider: If an employee’s dirty laundry gets a public airing, how can a law firm respond to minimize the damage?
When asked about the matter, White & Case spokesman William Sancho in Miami offered a brusque “no comment.”
Hours later, an official firm statement came out: “This is a personal matter for the individual involved, and we cannot comment on it.”

It wasn’t really surprising when White & Case declined to respond to the affairs of SexyLexus. But I wonder if Miami White was told by the firm that he couldn’t comment in the press? Cuckolded in Canada said his piece, SexyLexus called in, but multiple phone calls and emails to Miami White have not been returned.
Regardless of the particular plight of Miami White, should White & Case have gone in a different direction? Let’s get into it after the jump.

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Yesterday, we told you about a bizarre love triangle — or perhaps pentagon — between a husband, a wife, and an associate in the Miami office of White & Case. Today, the wife (a.k.a. “SexyLexus”) called us to explain her side of the story and her relationship with her husband (a.k.a. “Cuckolded in Canada”) and the White & Case attorney (a.k.a. “Miami White”). We once again ask that commenters refrain from using real names in the comments.
SexyLexus called to make one thing clear. She told us, in no uncertain terms, “I am not a whore.”
In his email to Miami White’s colleagues at White & Case, Cuckolded in Canada claimed that SexyLexus was a porn star. She disagrees with that characterization:

It’s a camera-site. That is all it is. I am not in contact with anybody, there is no contact between me and anybody on that camera-site.

In fact, SexyLexus claims that not only did Cuckolded in Canada know about her online presence, but that he encouraged her to do it in order to make money for the family:

He told me to get back on the camera-site. I was out of the business, but Cuckolded in Canada told me to get back on to make money for the family … I think it turned him on, me doing it. … He loved it.

Despite her showing off the goods on camera and pursuing liaisons of late, SexyLexus was vehement about the paternity of her children not being in doubt:

Yes, the kids are Cuckolded in Canada’s. They are all his.

Above the Law once again reached out to Cuckolded in Canada and Miami White, but neither responded to our multiple inquires. But SexyLexus has more information on both of those guys, which she shares with Above the Law after the jump.

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As noted even in the New York Times, the global mega-firm of White & Case has been hit hard by the recession. But allegedly one of the firm’s associates has been hitting it up — with another man’s wife.
The supposedly cuckolded husband has no intention of allowing this White & Case attorney to get away with an affair. The husband sent two accusatory emails to dozens of recipients who know him and / or the White & Case attorney. The emails have bounced around White & Case’s Miami office — and beyond. Due to their wide circulation, many of you have probably seen them already.
We’ve replaced the names of the participants with pseudonyms, but you’ll get the gist. Here is the initial email sent out on Sunday afternoon from “Cuckolded in Canada,” addressed to (1) his wife, “SexyLexus” (the origin of that name will become clear later); (2) the White & Case associate she was allegedly cheating with, hereinafter “Miami White”; and (3) dozens of third parties:

From: Cuckolded in Canada
Subject: When [Miami White] from White & Case Cheated with my Wife [SexyLexus] in May and June 2009
Miami White,
Families, wives, young children are valuable things. I work hard to take care of my family – a wife, 4 small children under the age of 6. It is the most valuable thing in the world to me.
When you decided to start sleeping with my wife while I was out of town over the last few weeks (May 27 – June 7 2009), you threatened my way of life, and you really hurt a lot of people – most notably the lives of my 4 very young children.
You are a securities lawyer at White & Case, so you know how to do due diligence. Perhaps you thought it was clever or fun, but attending a school recital with my wife who you’ve just met and started sleeping with over the last few weeks is extremely poor judgement. Sleeping with other mens wives, is alone, perhaps the poorest taste and the worst judgement all on its own. It implies a very low moral character. Perhaps you wish to plead ignorance, but a simple search on my name on the internet would indicate that I take a great deal of pride in my family. But after reviewing the text messages between you and my wife it would appear that you did the due diligence, that you knew she was spending the summer with me in Canada starting last week, and that we had small children and you were jeopardizing my family with your actions.
I have tried to contact you numerous times this week to address the situation and ask you to step aside… to let me address the issues now faced in our house. I have contacted your mobile at [Redacted] and your house at [Redacted] but you are too much of a coward to answer. You need to be made aware of your actions and the consequences they bear.
Miami White, and SexyLexus… what follows below are the text messages of your affair over the last few weeks as it unfolds. I would like to especially thank those at [my kids' school] that watched this unfold at the school concert last week, and did nothing to alert me or defend my family. That is certainly a church and a school I want my children to grow up learning from. You have all seen me drop my kids off and pick them up there every single day for the last year. Did you think to mention anything when I showed up there last Monday June 8 at my kids ceremonies? You know how important they are to me.
And for all of you that think running around with other mens wives or husbands behind their spouses backs is acceptable behaviour – recognize that there are consequences and that many of us that will fight for our families and ferociously defend our home and children.

How’s that for an opening salvo? Wait until Cuckolded starts revealing the text messages between his wife and her purported paramours, after the jump.

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ivy league.jpg* Does SCOTUS need some affirmative action for non-Ivy League grads? [New York Times]
* White & Case partner Tom Lauria, who got SCOTUS to issue a stay in the Chrysler-Fiat deal, is pissing people off and “enjoying the heck out of it.” He may take on GM next. [Wall Street Journal]
* SCOTUS decided yesterday to lift the Chrysler-Fiat stay, so that sale can move forward. [Washington Post]
* Sonnenschein hit with a $30 million poaching suit. [American Lawyer]
* Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is threatening to sue HarperCollins if they defame him while publicizing a book on September 11. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* The Northern District of California courthouse sounds like a wild place. [Courthouse News Service]

Thumbnail image for White and Case logo.JPGAbove The Law used to be a place for perk-watching. Bonus wars! Pay raise watches! Perk craziness! Extending the length of maternity and paternity leaves!
As the economy has taken its toll on the legal industry, our coverage here has taken some dark turns. The layoff watch. The salary freeze watch. The delayed start date watch. The shrinking summer associate programs.
The New York Times has been reading. This weekend, they ran a piece proclaiming the end of Biglaw as we know it, entitled A Study in Why Major Law Firms Are Shrinking:

As the apocalypse on Wall Street ripples out into the larger economy, a thick red tide is lapping at the once-impregnable foundations of New York’s corporate law firms, threatening to turn the industry — and with it, some iconic city characters — into an endangered species.

White & Case offered itself up to the sacrificial altar for the piece, with chairman Hugh Verrier telling the tale of the firm’s troubles. White & Case has laid off over 200 associates, with the bulk of them let go on March 9, a day we called “bloody, black March Monday,” as the layoff announcements came rolling in from so many firms on that day. But the firm stands virtually alone in this NYT piece and will now be known as THE firm representing the downfall of Biglaw.
Why was Verrier willing to lay White & Case on the altar? In talking about the layoffs of associates and partners at the firm, he told the NYT:

Mr. Verrier said he saw the storm approaching shortly after he took control in 2007, and considered three options, in consultation with a group of core partners: Do nothing, which risked the firm’s survival; couch layoffs as decisions based on poor performance; or own up to the crisis and bid large numbers of lawyers a harsh but needed goodbye.
His choice to confront the situation directly, while lauded by many on the staff, carried the risk of seeming weak, of becoming the poster child for the industry’s demise. But he saw it as opening a window for White & Case to eventually reposition itself.

Perhaps this is his hope with the NYT article as well. Insight into the demise of Biglaw using White & Case as the poster child, after the jump.

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White and Case logo.JPGUpdate (5:35): We understand that White & Case began informing individual associates of the firm’s decision this afternoon.

We reported yesterday that White ‘n & Case sent out a firm-wide memo announcing the layoffs of 200 associates and 200 staff. However, we’re hearing that there’s not yet blood on the dance floor, as no layoffs occurred yesterday, at least not in the NY office. But there’s still panic at the disco:

I don’t think they’ve told anybody whether they are fired or not fired yet. Odd planning since they sent out the message today. Just got everybody worried.

Rumors are flying about why there’s a lag between the memo and the axe, as only the most powerful force would seemingly able to stop the engines of a layoff express already in motion. That mighty force, friends, is Purim.

A couple people said that it would be later in the week…and mentioned that this was because of Purim. I have NO IDEA if this is because people heard something from a valid source or just speculation because, as you know, tomorrow is Purim.

For those of you unfamiliar with the festival that is about as relevant to Judaism as Groundhog Day is to Americans, Purim is a costume holiday in which Jews commemorate their deliverance from death at the hands of the tyrant Haman. Haman conspired to kill the Jews and drew lots to determine the day on which he would hang them from the gallows he had built, but his plan was foiled by Queen Esther and Mordechai, with God pulling up the rear.

Find out how righteous White & Case may be observing the hamentashen holiday, after the jump.

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White and Case logo.JPGWe are now firmly into the “second round” of law firm layoffs. We are increasingly dealing with firms who already laid people off in late 2008 or early 2009 who have to go back and make more cuts as the economic outlook continues to worsen.

White & Case, which laid off about 70 associates back in November , laid off 400 people today: 200 attorneys, and 200 staff.

But, in a rare move, White & Case sent around an internal memo announcing that partners would be next on the chopping block:

These measures follow a thorough, strategic review of our business, including discussions with our Regional Section Heads, Global Practice Leaders and Office Executive Partners.

It is clear from this review that the deterioration of the global economy will continue to affect our clients and their demand for our services for the foreseeable future. As a result, we are planning the following actions:

• An evaluation of our partnership, which will result in a reduction in the number of our partners, commensurate with current and anticipated business needs.

And many incoming White & Case first years will have to find something else to do this fall:

• Deferring the start date of about 60% of this year’s incoming associate class in the United States until 2010. Incoming associates who are not deferred will join the Firm on November 2, 2009.

How terrible are the projections for 2009? And how many more rounds of layoffs do we have to go?

White & Case brings us to 731 associates and staff laid off today. What a bloody, black, March Monday.

Read the full statement after the jump.

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