Will We Get Paid This Friday?

Folks, the main intent of your Cruise Director is to convey information without causing panic. But because he and several other Hellerites are also ex-Brobeckians (please, do not call us “law firm angels of death” – that’s an old one!), we know from what we know:

There is a scheduled pay day for Friday, September 25, 2008. If you have direct deposit, please check first thing on Friday to make sure the money is there. And if you still receive an actual check, please cash it immediately. I’m not kidding. Does anyone remember that Friday at Brobeck in San Francisco when so many of us went down to the bank to cash our checks that the bank ran out of cash?

The reason I bring this up: there is a hastily called shareholder meeting today at 4:30 pm PDT. The topic: to discuss information received from the bank.

What does this mean? It could mean several things such as bankruptcy which is the worse case or it could mean that the bank is forcing a dissolution of the firm based on current cash on hand, credit and projected finances.

Please don’t panic. I know that is hard to say but we as support staff, the people who have also made sure that every i is dotted, every t is crossed, every pleading is signed and the first line starts on Line 8 or Line 13 depending upon the venue – we are the ones who always make sure our attorneys remain calm. We need to do the same for each other. We’ll get through this and we don’t want anyone to get hurt right now.

Information is crucial right now. If you have it, spill it in the comments.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director


11 Responses to “Will We Get Paid This Friday?”

  1. 1 hellerdrown 24 September 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Oh No… We’re not going to get paid this Friday?

  2. 2 hellerdrone 24 September 2008 at 1:54 pm

    While I and many others think we in fact will get paid, it is within the realm of possibilities – that is why the info is posted. I am simply telling people to check on their direct deposits on Friday and if they do get an actual check it would be wise to cash it as soon as possible given past scenarios at other firms like Brobeck.

  3. 3 99larunner 24 September 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Breaking: Firm Wide Shareholder Meeting Scheduled At Heller

    It looks like Heller’s shareholders will finally get the latest information about what is going on at the firm. We just received this message:

    To: All Shareholders We are holding a FW SH VC today to provide you with as much information as we can. Although we will not have answers to all your questions, we plan to update you on our “bank discussions, plans for an orderly transition (or wind down) of our business and larger opportunities for our people”. We realize all of you are very busy. Please make every effort to participate in today’s meeting. Thank you.

  4. 4 Helmintholith 24 September 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Rumor has it that one of the discussions with “the bank” was honoring payroll.

  5. 5 SleepingInSeattle 24 September 2008 at 4:15 pm

    “we are the ones who always make sure our attorneys remain calm. We need to do the same for each other. We’ll get through this and we don’t want anyone to get hurt right now.”

    Yeah… wild speculation about the shareholder meeting and suggesting we may need to run to the bank with our paychecks – that’s helping each other? That’s remaining calm?
    We all get it that those of you who lived through Brobeck’s meltdown are twice shy, but why be a fear-monger? When you all ran to the same bank on Friday for cash, and the bank ran out of cash, was that somehow supposed to show that it wouldn’t have been safe to deposit your check like you would have under any other circumstances?

    I was doing better without your “help”. This sure looks a lot like “whisper down the lane rumour-mongering” to me.

  6. 6 hellerdrone 24 September 2008 at 4:30 pm

    This is a free and open blog for commenting Sleepless – isn’t that nice? And, true to the Heller spirit, we’ll still be here for you if you need help or advice.

    Heller Drone
    Cruise Director

  7. 7 Jayne Loughry 24 September 2008 at 5:37 pm

    “When you all ran to the same bank on Friday for cash, and the bank ran out of cash, was that somehow supposed to show that it wouldn’t have been safe to deposit your check like you would have under any other circumstances?”

    That sounds sensible, Seattle, but it doesn’t fit what actually happened. The Valentine’s Day run on Wells Fargo came on the last day of Brobeck’s existence, which was two chaotic weeks after the closure announcement. The partners had all secretly resigned, many of them — including top management — had already jumped ship. Those purporting to speak for the firm were widely reported to be saying that there was no money for payroll or PTO. Oh, and word had spread that Brobeck checks had been bouncing all over the country. When word came, late on the 13th, that checks would be issued, no one was confident there’d be money — or enough money — to honor them. The advice from our own banks was to present the checks to the issuing bank as quickly as possible and get cash. Hence the run on Wells Fargo,(the staff of which, btw, couldn’t have been nicer to us all). So under our circumstances, depositing our checks in the usual way was not a sensible thing to do.

    That said, it looks to me like your circumstances are quite different. I’d be hugely surprised if Heller didn’t make payroll this Friday or in the future. If for no other reason than because I think Heller — and many other firms — learned a lot from the Brobeck debacle. I can’t imagine that the Heller partners don’t know that there are civil and criminal penalties for not paying wages (including accrued PTO) owed to employees. The Brobeck chuckleheads knew about the law, but apparently thought they could get away with not paying what they owed. On the very remote chance that Heller management was tempted to go the way of past chuckleheads, I imagine the mere existence of HD’s blog and other things you all are doing to keep informed and protected would steer them back onto the right road.

    It’s only my two cents, but I think your annoyance/anger is misplaced. I assume the uncertainties and the lack of information is hard on you all, but it’s management’s silence — not HD’s efforts to share info — that seems to be making things hard. Think of it this way: If Heller is at all typical, its three largest stakeholders, i.e., creditors, are the banks, the landlords, and the employees. With the possibility of dissolution widely reported, I’d be flabbergasted if management hasn’t been talking and sharing info with the banks and the landlords, but from what I read, it doesn’t seem like management’s talking or sharing any info with you employees. That’s not HD’s fault.

  8. 8 re This was sent by Matt Larrabee to all hands just now 24 September 2008 at 6:11 pm

    To: All-Hands
    I am profoundly sorry that I have not been in direct communication with you recently. We realize that there has been a lot of news coverage about our firm, and it is wrong to have that be your source of information. We have been focused on urgent and significant issues that are facing the firm and carefully considering our options. We also have been focused on trying to get answers to the many questions that we know need to be addressed.

    While that may explain some of the private meetings and small-group discussions that have been held recently, we know that there has been a lengthy gap in communication that needs to be filled as soon as possible.

    To that end, we are planning to hold meetings with everyone before the end of this week via video conference and/or local, in-person discussions. You will receive an invitation to participate as soon as we can finish gathering important information we know you seek.

    Again, I apologize for not communicating with you sooner. We realize the anxiety that you are feeling and we are doing everything we can to find answers to your questions.


  9. 9 Noway 24 September 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Employees will be paid. Shareholders will not.

  10. 10 Mr. Jones 25 September 2008 at 5:52 am

    I wouldn’t worry about Friday’s check. I’m not so sure about the next one, though…

  11. 11 Blue 25 September 2008 at 7:45 am

    I think SleepingInSeattle is right. I respect free speech, but it doesn’t give one the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater just because you smell a little smoke. When you create a post with a sensational headline like “Will We Get Paid This Friday?” you’re only adding to the fire of spectulation and panic. I thought this blog was about sharing information and reducing wild spectulation, NOT adding to it! If you have credible information to share, then by all means share it, but don’t spread rumors as if it were gems of wisdom from past experience.

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