In the midst of these current turbulent market waters, a total of 2509 partners at AmLaw 100 and 200 firms managed to successfully jump ship in 2008. The biggest winners were K&L Gates (185 partner acquisitions), Reed Smith (74), DLA Piper (58), Jones Day (57) and Alston & Bird (53), while the biggest losers were Akin Gump (59 partner defections), Heller Ehrman (47 pre-dissolution), Thelen (46 pre-dissolution), Mayer Brown (45), and, K&L Gates (again) (40).
While our economy crumbles, the American public observes like lemmings as the Wall Street criminals who executed the greatest financial fraud in history add insult to our collective injury by continuing to openly steal billions. Only now, instead of conning the world into believing that their excrement is some sort of sophisticated securities derivative too complex for non-Streeters to comprehend, they are referring to their cash grab as “bonuses.” Relatively insignificant sociopaths like Bernie Madoff can only aspire to sit at the desks of these miscreants whose greed may still prove monumental enough to bring us all to ruin. We at Hanover Legal are certainly not the first to ask whether and when members of our legal community should have recognized and tried to put a stop to the epic Wall Street slight of hand. However, we viewed our function as limited to servicing the financiers to whatever extent we were paid to do so, and as long as Moody’s and S&P were signing off on these transactions with their highest ratings, who were we to raise an eyebrow?
As we at Hanover Legal enter this new year and look back on BigLaw in 2008, we are reminded of the bibical tale of Lot’s wife glancing towards Sodom and turning to salt. So in the hope of avoiding a similar fate, we’ll keep our retrospective analysis brief.
As Marc Dreier, the sole equity partner of Dreier LLP, faces federal charges of transferring $113 million in bogus securities to two hedge funds, an impersonation charge filed against him in Toronto as well as a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to recover the $113 million, the firm he created, namely Dreier LLP, sits in receivership pursuant to the order of United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum and faces an additional civil suit filed in the Southern District by Wachovia Bank alleging that the firm and Dreier himself defaulted on a $9 million revolving credit note made in connection with a $14.5 million credit agreement and a term note in the amount of $5.5 million.
In the midst of all this dissolution hoopla, we would be remiss not to mention Brown Raysman, the once thriving New York start up that was swallowed up by soon-to-be former Thelen management in the latter’s last ditch effort to salvage their Titanic. So at least we know what Thelen was thinking. But what about Brown Raysman? No one ever placed them in the desperate category pre the ill-fated merger.