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BigLaw Recruiter: We Didn't Kill Dewey & LeBoeuf

Jan. 21, 2015 (Mimesis Law) -- Jon Lindsey, partner at recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, talks with Lee Pacchia about the market for talent among the world's largest law firms. Asked why recruiters get blamed for the...more

Not Dead Yet? How BigLaw's Best Firms Are Finding Growth

Apr. 2, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Kent Zimmermann, consultant to law firms for The Zeughauser Group, tells Lee Pacchia that despite years of negative press heralding the end of BigLaw's best years, there are tangible signs of strength and improvement among the ranks of the largest law firms. According to Zimmermann, the average BigLaw firm saw gross revenue and profits per equity partner (PPEP) grow around 2% in 2013, with average profit margins at 36%. Such results "would be the envy of many industries," he said. "There is a group of firms that's really performing with great strength." The financial performance of large law firms looks even better, Zimmermann contends, when changes in a firm's PPEP are considered within a five year time frame. Out of the top firms in the United States, only three saw double digit declines in PPEP over the last five years, while over 50 saw double digit growth. Challenges, however, still remain. Zimmermann points out that there are still too many lawyers and not enough work to go around. In addition, many large law firms are carrying practice areas that continue to see suppressed demand for work. Zimmermann sees many of these firms continuing to balance capacity with demand by employing a strategy of "quiet rightsizing" in which under-performing partners and practice areas are identified and addressed. Compounding the difficulties of running a large law firm in today's market is the necessity for building consensus within partnerships, a difficult and challenging task for large organizations with stakeholders spread out over the world. BigLaw partners are "smart, rich people who don't necessarily want to be led," Zimmermann says. "There is an art to getting input and building consensus." Still, Zimmermann contends that for growing firms such as DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells, and Baker & McKenzie, some BigLaw leaders are proving themselves up to the task at hand. "They are growing very successful, global brands...with consensus among their partners. It's not easy to do."more

Zimmermann: Dewey Charges Send 'Warning' To Struggling Law Firms

Mar. 12, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Kent Zimmermann, consultant at the Zeughauser Group, talks with Lee Pacchia about the recent spate of charges filed against former leaders of defunct law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf and what they mean for the rest of BigLaw. Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for bankruptcy in May, 2012, marking the largest law firm failure to date. Three former top executives from the firm stand accused of misleading lenders and other lawyers on the true financial condition of the organization.more

Deloitte: Turnarounds and Democracy Don't Mix

April 26 (Bloomberg Law) -- William Snyder, co-head of the corporate restructuring group at Deloitte, talks with Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia about a new survey his group conducted on executive management during corporate turnarounds or bankruptcies. Deloitte asked 1200 professionals from a wide range of industries on the dynamics of addressing change in turnaround management. The vast majority of respondents stressed the importance of communicating with vendors, lenders and employees when a company experiences difficulties. Snyder agrees with the results, reasoning that communication in a crisis is a fundamental part of working to a solution. "It's the red thread that goes throughout the entire restructuring," he says. Still, Snyder notes that executing a communications strategy is quite complicated. "Many times a management team needs a co-pilot to help them through an area they've never navigated," he says. In particular, Snyder often sees a reluctance among corporate executives to speak before they craft a solution to the problem. "Many times it is best to have a solution to the problem before you announce it", he says. The survey also asked what type of leadership approach executives should adopt in a crisis. While many of the survey's respondents aspired to consensus building and democratic decision-making, Snyder points out that turnaround scenarios actually need the opposite. "Authoritative is the way to go. Somebody needs to step up and make a decision because the company is paralyzed," he says.more

Consultant: More Big Law Firms Will "Implode"

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg Law) -- Bruce MacEwen, a law firm consultant and blogger at AdamSmithEsq.com, tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia that "we will see some more name brand [law] firms implode" in 2013. The defunct New York law firm Dewey & LeBeouf, which dissolved in 2012, saw its bankruptcy plan approved by a Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge on Wednesday. It is the largest U.S. law firm ever to go out of business, with more than 1,400 lawyers on its staff at its peak. Dewey "didn't do anything wrong that a lot other firms don't do, they just did all of them to an extreme," says MacEwen.more

A Better 2012 for BigLaw (With Big Asterisks)

Feb. 7. (Bloomberg Law) -- Law firm profits at a selection of the nation's largest firms increased by 4.3 percent in 2012, but "we do have some concerns about what drove the results," Dan DiPietro, chairman of Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia. At the 179 firms Citi surveyed (80 Am Law 100 firms, 49 Am Law 200 firms, and 50 additional firms), demand grew at just 0.2 percent. Revenue grew at 3.6 percent in 2012, but much of that was because of deal work that began, ended and was collected in the fourth quarter because of concerns about increasing tax rates in 2013, he says. A major law firm bankruptcy also affected the numbers, DiPietro noted. [It was Dewey & LeBoeuf]. Citi recalculated its 2011 figures, taking the firm's data out of the equation. If it hadn't backed out those numbers, demand in 2012 would have fallen rather than risen, and revenue growth of 3.6 percent would have been cut by about a percentage point. Citi expects 2013 demand to exceed the almost flat level of 2012, because it "would be hard to do worse than that," DiPietro says. Revenue growth could be slightly better than it was last year, he says, and profits this year should again be up in low single digits. And Citi's watch list of law firms that may be on the verge of significant financial trouble has shrunk "a bit," thanks to improving results, he says.more

BigLaw's Banker: I've Got a "Robust" List of Firms That May Fail

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg Law) -- Dan DiPietro, chairman of The Law Firm Group at Citi Private Bank, says he has a "somewhat robust" watch list of law firms that may fail in the coming months. "In this kind of economic environment, it's hard to imagine we wouldn't have some" additional firms shutting their doors, DiPietro says, but he doesn't expect to see a "huge spike" in the number. Global law firms are perhaps most at risk, facing high expenses and soft demand worldwide, with the U.S. fiscal cliff looming, Eurozone problems continuing and the slowdown in China developing, he tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia. In transactional work, there are "a couple of firms who are very busy, but they're basically grabbing most of the market share of the few deals that are there," and even they are unwilling to say that deal work is really rebounding, he says. Citi expects law firm profits to be flat in 2012, after low single-digit growth in 2011. For 2013, there are doubts transactional work will come back in the same way it was before 2008, he says. Some general counsels are now handling some pieces of deals in-house, limiting law firm profits. Four years since the recession began, many big firms still have too many lawyers, and "that's driving really bad pricing decisions," DiPietro says. As an example, he said an AmLaw 50 firm was recently doing fixed-fee litigation work for a client at $350,000 per matter. Another AmLaw 50 firm bid $75,000 for the same business. The partner responsible for the work wanted to cut their fees to keep the business, but the head of litigation and the firm's managing partner vetoed that because they thought "if we send that message to the client, it's telling the client that we've been overcharging for the past 18 months." more

Dewey Burned $43 Million In 6 Weeks Prior To Bankruptcy

June 14 (Bloomberg Law) -- Bloomberg News Bill Rochelle tells Lee Pacchia that defunct law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP spent $43 million in cash over the six weeks prior to their bankruptcy filing, much to the chagrin of secured lender, JP Morgan Chase. Bill notes that this episode could impact the way large firms interact with their lenders and make short term financing more expensive. Bill also comments on a venue battle looming over the bankruptcy case for educational publisher Houghton Mifflin.more

Avoiding Law Firm Implosions by Mandating Firms to Undergo Annual Stress Tests

Good Lord! Please make it stop. We can’t take witnessing any more carnage or scandal from the Dewy & LeBoeuf front! The worst part, in some respects, is that clients, laterals and law firm lenders are now looking past the Dewey debacle and looking at other large law firms and wondering which one is next. The horrific death spiral of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which started within the firm in October of 2911 and debuted its public spectacle in March, 2012, continues to evoke gasps and cries from all observers and participants. The latest horrors, not unexpected, are the loss of hundreds of jobs and the disappearance or dramatic reduction of thousands of pensions. To be sure, more ugliness lies ahead: Draconian financial penalties to partners and prosecutorial inquiries of potential criminal liability for some key Dewey players. The Dewey debacle isn’t going away any time soon. The slog of judicial proceedings will take years and impose enormous tolls on all concerned. The added nightmare is that other large law firms will liklely follow suit and similarly implode. The profession must galvanize and provide assurance to law firm partners and law firm stakeholders – partners, clients, lenders, lateral candidates and law school students that individual firms are strong and viable and are not in danger of implosion. The way to provide assurances is through having law firms undergo stress tests by qualified independent professionals. Given the current state of play, firms will likely only do so if market demands dictate that they do so. Those market mandates will arise when law firms are required to do so by clients, lenders, clients, lateral candidates and to maintain a competitive edge. The need for these stress tests is urgent and the time to start applying them is now. more

Dewey Need to Take a Pledge?

Dewey & LeBoeuf continues to be daily battered in the media. Too many of the slings and arrows now being shot Dewey’s way are self inflicted. Those with the most to lose seem to be trying to get this ship of state back on course, but are badly losing their way by their failure to assure that they and an important large block of important players will stay the course, come hell or high water. Instead, a Group of Seven would have us believe that if they stick it out, everything will be swell. But, they haven’t provided adequate assurances that they will in fact stick it out. These law firm leaders are not reading from the same playbook and do not shrink from publicly issuing inconsistent statements about critical issues and tepid endorsements for the firm’s future. Nobody wants to see a law firm fail. Law firm failures are too often the result of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance at the summit. The world is waiting for a strong showing of a united and committed Dewey leadership team. It hasn’t happened yet. We all hope to see this united front before it’s too late. more

The Dummy’s Guide to Forensic Analysis of Law Firm Financial Accounting and Reporting While Leaving the PPP in the Commode

How is your law firm doing? You may not be getting a completely accurate answer by simply looking at your firm’s annual financial statements. Law firm financial reporting is an art form and sometimes, a bit of a black art. Most law firms utilize modified cash basis accounting to report on their results. However, in some instances, some law firm managers using this method of financial reporting to gloss over issues which may evidence of a systemic fault line in the firm. Here is a guide to understanding law firm financial reporting, particularly financial reports prepared on the modified cash basis of reporting. And, more significantly, we have also provided a guide for conducting basic due diligence giving the reader the tools necessary to perform a basic forensic analysis of any firm’s financial health. Most significantly, ditch reliance on Profits Per Partner and Profits Per Equity Partner as a metric of anything meaningful. PPP and PPEP numbers are showpieces which bear little relevance in understanding a law firm’s financial performance, its profitability or even its ability to stay in business. more

Chapter11Cases.com Launches Database of Over 5,000 Key Bankruptcy Court Filings Available for Only 99 Cents

LOS GATOS, CALIFORNIA (February 7, 2011) – Chapter11Cases.com today launched a database of over 5,000 of the most important bankruptcy court pleadings filed since the beginning of 2008 with each document available to anyone for only $0.99. Anyone can access the database of 99 cent documents at http://www.chapter11cases.com/99-Document-Specials_c_20998.html and can search for documents by bankruptcy case, document topic, and/or type of document. Users can also locate documents by text search, using Chapter11Cases.com’s Google Custom Search® functionality. Documents included in the database as of today’s launch include hundreds of: • Plans of Reorganization and Liquidation • Disclosure Statements • Solicitation Procedures Orders • Confirmation Orders • Asset Sale Motions • Bidding Procedures Orders • Asset Sale Approval/Denial Orders • First Day Pleadings and Orders “We firmly believe that bankruptcy court filings hold great value for not only attorneys, but also creditors, investors and anyone else with an interest in corporate bankruptcy cases,” said the company’s president and founder, Randall Reese. “However, these documents have always been hidden behind paywalls in inefficient court databases. We have been working for over three years to unlock the value of these documents for our users and are extremely pleased to be able to announce that today we are making so many of the most important documents available to everyone for less than a dollar each – significantly less than what the federal courts charge users for the exact same documents.” All documents can be delivered within one hour of purchase during normal business hours. While the database is expected to grow substantially in coming weeks and months, as of today, the database includes numerous documents from over 100 major corporate chapter 11 cases, including: • AbitibiBowater Inc. • Affiliated Media, Inc. (a/k/a MediaNews Group, Inc.) • Ambac Financial Group, Inc. • AMCORE Financial, Inc. • American Media, Inc. • Anchor Blue Holding Corp. (2011) • Appleseed's Intermediate Holdings LLC (a.k.a. Orchard Brands) • Archdiocese of Milwaukee • Ascendia Brands, Inc. • Asyst Technologies, Inc. • Atlantis Plastics, Inc. • BankUnited Financial Corporation • Bashas' Inc. • Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc. • Black Gaming, LLC • Blockbuster Inc. • Bosque Power Company LLC • Broadstripe, LLC (Millenium Digital Media Systems, L.L.C.) • Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping, Inc. • BWI Liquidating Corp. (f/k/a Basin Water, Inc.) • Capmark Financial Group Inc. (f/k/a GMAC Commercial Holding Corp.) • Caribbean Petroleum Corporation • Caritas Health Care, Inc. • CCS Medical, Inc. • CDX Gas, LLC • CEI Liquidation Estates (f/k/a Champion Enterprises, Inc.) • Claim Jumper Restaurants, LLC • Consolidated Horticulture Group LLC (a/k/a Hines Nurseries LLC) (2010) • Constar International Inc. (2011) • CRC Parent Corporation (f/k/a Chem RX Corp.) • Crucible Materials Corporation • Deel, LLC (f/k/a Magic Brands, LLC) (d/b/a Fuddruckers & Koo Koo Roo) • East West Resort Development V, L.P., L.L.L.P. • Ecoly International, Inc. (Sexy Hair Concepts, LLC) • EnviroSolutions of New York, LLC • Finlay Enterprises, Inc. • Flying J Inc. • Gas City, Ltd. • Gems TV (USA) Limited • GSC Group, Inc. (f/k/a Greenwich Street Capital Partners, Inc.) • Hawkeye Renewables, LLC • Heartland Publications, LLC • Hines Horticulture, Inc. (2008) • Holley Performance Products Inc. (2009) • Javo Beverage Company, Inc. (a.k.a. La Jolla Fresh Squeezed Coffee Co., Inc.) • Lack's Stores, Incorporated • LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. • Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. • Local Insight Media Holdings, Inc. • Loehmann's Holdings, Inc. (2010) • Lyondell Chemical Company (LyondellBasell) • Mark IV Industries, Inc. • Mesa Air Group, Inc. • Middlebrook Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a/k/a Advancis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) • Midway Games Inc. • Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan • Motors Liquidation Company (f/k/a General Motors Corporation) • MSR Resort Golf Course LLC • Muzak Holdings LLC • Nortel Networks Inc. • North American Petroleum Corporation USA • North General Hospital • NR Liquidation III Co. Inc. (f/k/a Neff Corp.) • Old Carco LLC (f/k/a Chrysler LLC) • Old Razor Company, LLC (f/k/a American Safety Razor Company, LLC) • Orleans Homebuilders, Inc. • OTC Holdings Corporation (Oriental Trading Company, Inc.) • PCAA Parent, LLC (Parking Company of America Airports) • Penton Business Media Holdings, Inc. • Pliant Corporation (2009) • Point Blank Solutions, Inc. • Provident Royalties, LLC • QHB Holdings LLC (Generation Brands Holdings, Inc.) • Qimonda Richmond, LLC • Regent Communications, Inc. • Riviera Holdings Corporation • Saint Vincents Catholic Medical Centers of New York (2010) • Sea Island Company • Sea Launch Company, L.L.C. • Simmons Bedding Company • Smurfit-Stone Contamore

American Lawyer article on Lehman Brothers Investigation

American Lawyer story on Lehman Brothers investigation by Jenner & Blockmore

Bullet"iln" Volume 8 Issue 1 - April 9, 2009

In this Issue: *ILNBriefs Wins First Place in Internal Communications Category at Legal Marketing Association's Your Honor Awards! *2008 Regional Meeting of the Americas Hosted by Holland & Hart, Las Vegas *2008 European Regional Meeting in Rome Hosted by Corrado, Ferrari, Mainieri, Pedeferri & soci Law Firm, Rome & Milan *U.S. IRS Aggressively Pursuing Off Shore Accounts Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, Chicago by Robert E. McKenzie *Watching from the Wings with Baited Breath – The WAL-MART Cases Before the Supreme Court of Canada and What They Might Mean for Employers in Canada Robinson Sheppard Shapiro LLP, Montreal by Mr. Theodore Goloff *London as a seat of arbitration? Fladgate LLP by Heather Neilson *Bankruptcy Primer for Landlords with Commercial Leases in the United States Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk and Rabkin, San Francisco by Gary M. Kaplan *Amendments to Tax Legislation in the Czech Republic PETERKA & PARTNERS Law Offices, Prague by Magdalena Vyskovska *De-stressing the Due Diligence Process: Issues to Consider When Acquiring Distressed Residential Developments Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., Atlanta by M. Maxine Hicks, Linda Ragan Warnke and Jenny A. Lipana *Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: The Management of Uncertainty Beirne, Maynard & Parsons LLP , Houston by James E. Smith & Benjamin A. Escobar *Russia - Changes in Federal Law "On Limited Liability Companies" Lidings Law Firm, Moscow by Natalia Goncharova *The Recent Chinese Legislation on Bankruptcy Proceedings Jade & Fountain, Shanghai by Mark Ho and Gawain Gu Please see full article below for more information. more

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