An Argument Against Involuntary Bankruptcy

Your Cruise Director has been working the phones, the e-mails and almost every other means of communication except for two Dixie cups and a string – all of it concerning the call for involuntary bankruptcy.

I want to clarify a post from last week and state, right now, that for the time being I don’t think a push by staff, associates – anyone – for involuntary bankruptcy is the best move.  Here’s why:

– it is important that the accounts receivable still be available to come in.  True they could come in under bankruptcy but then a trustee would be involved with disbursing those monies.  We may not agree with how they are being disbursed (or how we suspect they are being disbursed) but at least they are coming in from what my sources tell me.  Once the bankruptcy boom is lowered, expect a huge slowdown in those ARs.

– as long as the ARs are not being ridiculously written down (to possibly benefit a shareholder’s new firm), and if the amounts quoted are accurate, there will be enough money to pay all expenses including wages and accrued vacation.  I get just as frustrated as you do especially when progress does not happen on a timeline that I have set in my mind. 

– once in bankruptcy, the process is a long and tedious one.  Several Brobeckians STILL have not received their bankruptcy claim payments.

– we have various venues for filing wage claims and WARN Act claims should it come to that.  These methods will not impede the collection of monies.  And we can’t file anything right now until several events take place: (the firm does file for bankruptcy, the firm suddenly closes its doors and does not make WARN severance payments, or you and I leave the firm and don’t get vacation accrual payment or wage payment).

– we have secured WARN Act representation should we need it and I am in negotiation with two firms for wage claim/accrued vacation representation.  I’ve been asked about 2000 hour bonus payments and I think as things progress the associates may want to hire representation as a group.  As a non-attorney I am not trying to pass the buck but I think an issue closer to the heart of our associates would be better handled by counsel with whom they feel most comfortable.

– speaking of associates: there was an associate meeting today and just so you know they are very, very supportive of staff, of this place and what we are trying to accomplish.  To that end, they also fear that if anyone files involuntary bankruptcy that it would up-end this ship causing us to capsize when in fact the S.S. Heller Ehrman might just make it to shore – evenutally.

I just want to say something that support staff already knows: the associates rock.  And I am not saying this jokingly.  Remember how we watch them come in as Summers, then get settled as First Years, then progress on their way – perhaps staying with Heller and becoming a Shareholder or leaving Heller but taking those Heller values with them?  After working with associates at Heller for the past eight years (and at other firms for close to 20 years), I have to say that although they may not show it, they have a great respect for support staff and appreciate our work for them and for the firm.  

Right now, let’s just keep our oars in the water, be aware of what’s going on, and believe that we already have enough resources without forcing involuntary bankruptcy.  And we’ll make it through another week.

Over and out.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director

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Last Modified: September 14, 2008

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