Saturday, June 27, 2009
NY BigLaw Good News
"In his two years as chairman of White & Case [W&C], the venerable Wall Street law firm, Mr. [Hugh] Verrier had already laid off 70 young lawyers and shuttered offices in Bangkok, Dresden and Milan. He had watched top partners flee to competitors and suffered a depressive 2008 holiday party at Cipriani's, which had half the budget of the prior year's $500,000 event--a Neroesque fete at the United Nations with fireworks and a band. ... It announced that 200 more lawyers would lose their jobs, nearly 1 in 10 at the firm over all--and not just young associates with everything in front of them, but some million-dollar-a-year ones, like himself, the ones with twin mortgages, kids in private school and no Plan B. ... At the root of the law-firm crisis, legal experts say, is the credit crisis, which has pulverized the need for traditional practice areas like structured finance, mergers and acquisitions and private-equity transactions, the very things that have always kept a high gleam of polish on the city's whitest shoes. ... Founded in 1901 by Justin D. White, a Cornell graduate who married a banking heiress, and George B. Case, who is said to have invented the squeeze play on the baseball field at Yale, [W&C] is--or was--the quintessential gentleman's firm. It was built not only on the grubstake--a possibly apocryphal $500--of its founders, but also on their close relationship with Henry P. Davison, a plutocrat philanthropist who helped create the Federal Reserve. ... Verrier denied that McKinsey had convinced him of the need for making layoffs. ... 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 oif lawyers a harsh but needed goodbye", Alan Feuer, 7 June 2009 at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/nyregion/07law.html.
Crisis? Demand TARP funds! Crisis solved. Couch layoffs? Hmm. Is that what W&C normally tells its clients sued for wrongful discharge, i.e., just make stuff up. He "saw the storm approaching". Was Verrier short banks which were not W&C clients?