Wow. I want to go totally wordless here but it really isn’t appropriate given what just happened. Here is what I know from having attended the 1:00 PM Firmwide teleconference with follow up Q&A session
- the shareholders of Heller Ehrman will be holding a vote tomorrow to pass a recommendation that the firm be dissolved. Two-thirds vote is required for passage. Non-passage would result in bankruptcy forced by the bank(s)
- Matt Larrabee did his usual best at communicating while not communicating. The typical words such as “sad,” “tragic” and “avoid” were used as well as the expected blame on the economy. This is one case where it isn’t the economy stupid!
- during some of the Q&A sessions which took place in each office and hosted by the office managing shareholder, many questions were raised and some good information imparted
- it appears that Heller is in debt to the tune of $50M with accounts receivable of approximately $118M. With a normal recovery rate of 90%, it is in the best interests of everyone – bank and shareholders – to work in a “receivership” state once the dissolution vote passes and to not be forced into involuntary bankruptcy
- either tomorrow, Friday, September 26 or Monday, September 29, special counsel, associates and all staff will receive a WARN notification outlining the next steps the firm intends to take in terms of winding down the firm’s business
- only a “key group” will be needed to maintain the firm business which includes processing outstanding bills, expenses, AR collection and more importantly transfer of records including electronic data to the new firms for shareholders and the associates lucky enough to go with them to those new firms
- one predicted area of contention between staff and management, evidenced by the many forceful arguments made by competent staff during the Q&A sessions, will be vacation accrual. A discussion of this topic will appear later tonite or early tomorrow morning. Let’s just say staff is pissed.
So there you have it. I really was hoping not to do anything but maybe post a quite tribute video, nothing too sappy, maybe a nice calming tune and then deal with all this tomorrow. Not gonna happen.
And while I could haul out my “I Love The 80s” songlist and play Church of the Poison Mind by Culture Club or perhaps Bikini Girls With Machine Guns by The Cramps, I am offering a solemn piece entitled Sailing by Fron Male Voice Choir. If you don’t know these guys that is your loss.
Remember, stay calm, be prepared, go home and try to unwind, protect yourself, protect your family. Tell people you love them.
And call your mother please. She worries.