Time To Say Goodbye – aka Stupid Shareholder Goodbye Emails

[Note: I may seem a bit harsh in this post – and if I am or if I offend, I apologize. Rather than edit out my own comments, I’ve opted to leave them as they were originally entered and posted.

And I know I don’t always reign in the snark as it were but when you are hearing via email from many staffers who have not yet found a job, especially in this economy, or who can’t pay their mortgage or are scrambling for health insurance for a family of four, you obviously get angry. This is probably a time when I should have composed the post, let it sit and then published it an hour later if I still thought it was appropriate.

One good thing about this post is it has brought out some comments and comments are always welcome – I don’t edit comments, good or bad. I’d also welcome anyone to weigh in on the other side of this discussion. H.D.]

Ok, I get it Shareholders.  You feel the need to send out your contact information to everyone in your goodbye email, make an off-handed comment about the demise of the firm, etc.  But do you realise that such communications also say:

– hey! I’ve got a new place to go!

– hey! I’m outta here and you’re not!

Here are three recent examples sent in the past 45 minutes:

“After 23 years, today is my last day at Heller Ehrman. Later this week I will start work at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. While I am thrilled by the opportunity to continue my career at Orrick, I wish I were leaving under better circumstances. Heller Ehrman has been a truly wonderful law firm, and I feel proud and fortunate to have spent the better part of my career here. Along the way I have had the chance to work with outstanding attorneys and dedicated professional staff, on challenging cases and important pro bono causes. I have learned how to craft arguments, write briefs, and try cases. I have been given the opportunity to help and to lead. And most important, I have made many, many good friends who help me remember that life is about more than practicing law.

I look forward to seeing all of you again in calmer and happier times. Starting Thursday, I can be reached at [redacted]”


“This is my last day at Heller Ehrman where I have spent the last 46 years. I am indescribably sad about the demise of this once proud and venerable firm.

Many thanks to all of our supportive and wonderful staff many of whom have devoted their careers to the firm.

Special thanks are extended to my partners and associates who have served our clients with distinction and excellence and who have contributed so much to my enjoyment of the practice of law. I expecially extend my best wishes to my colleagues in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York which offices this year, respectively, celebrated their 25th, 20th and 10th anniversaries.

Tomorrow I will join our long-time client, [redacted]. My contact information is: [redacted]

I’m reminded of the lines from T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men:

‘This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.'”

or this one:

“To my friends and all the familiar faces.

After 43 plus years I have decided to leave sometime this week . . . [redacted]  I will always cherish and remember the many friends and colleagues over the years. From Sidney Ehrman with whom I had the priviledge of playing dominoes on his 100th birthday down to the present day, the firm Heller Ehrman or Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe has been the one constant in my life.

It is so sad that what we enjoyed for so many years is disappearing.

Thank you for the friendship over the years. Some new friends and some long time friends

To the staff of this great institution, I salute you for your loyalty and support. [Redcated], many kudos and thank you’s for what you have done for me and for us.

I hope that all of you will free to reach out to me. My home e-mail [redacted] will always welcome messages from you.

Not being at 333 Bush or 44 Montgomery will be a constant reminder of the memories of many years, but I am not ready to retire yet .


Please keep in touch and thank you from my heart for all the fond memories of all the years and all the gracious and committed people with whom I have had the honor of working.

New contact info at some point this week: [redacted]”

Would it kill you to actually care whether or not others have a soft landing?  Let’s hope management will discourage these types of emails or just yank the All Hands addresses all together.  Better yet, if an email has more than 25 recipients, just make sure it never gets sent.

The only thing to be happy about: the new contact information for Shareholders to be used in our upcoming class action litigation if and when it is needed.  Otherwise I really don’t give a rat’s ass where you are going.  F*ck you and the horse you rode out on.


14 Responses to “Time To Say Goodbye – aka Stupid Shareholder Goodbye Emails”

  1. 1 Anon 7 October 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Oh come on now, H.D., lighten up a little. Yes, lots of us don’t know where we’re going, but these older attorneys certainly didn’t have anything to do with the demise of Heller. They thought they were passing the baton to competent attorneys – little did they ever imagine what a disaster that turned out to be.

  2. 2 hellerdrone 7 October 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Sorry Anon – I don’t think I can give them that room and lighten up – it still seems insensitive. But given the fact that they are unfamiliar with LinkedIn or other ways of networking, and their secretaries probably still have huge rolodexes, perhaps I need to lighten up. I will take it under advisement. Thanks

    Heller Drone
    Cruise Director

  3. 3 Anon 7 October 2008 at 2:46 pm

    This post really disturbs me. EVERYONE in this situation – attorneys and staff alike – is struggling to find a job and land on their feet. The fact that some people have already found success at that endeavor is no reason to be jealous, petty, or rude. The fact is that all Heller folks (even greedy shareholders who you seem to think are all dead set on screwing you) have genuine friendships and want to keep in touch. I’m frankly getting really sick of the tone of this blog – it no longer seems empowering and instead seems devoted to sucking the life out of everything that was good and honest about Heller. For shame.

  4. 4 News Elf 7 October 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Wow. Please to be toning down the snark, HD. That was really uncalled for.

  5. 5 All Leave? 7 October 2008 at 3:13 pm


    You have REALLY violated your own Terms of Service for Heller Highwater:

    Heller Highwater is NOT:
    – a place to bad mouth co-workers;
    – a place for diatribes against specific people or specific incidents;
    – a place that discriminates or sets margins noting who is outside and who is inside – we even welcome supportive Heller Ehrman attorneys!;
    – meant to further the demise of Heller Ehrman, LLP.

    Heller Highwater is:
    – a place for support, a place of empowerment, a place of passion;

    You’ve been doing a really great job so far, but this newfound embitterment doesn’t fit you or your site well.

    –All Leave?

  6. 6 Yet another ex-Hellerite 7 October 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Drone’s doing good work over here. That being said, don’t hate on the Old Timers. They’re part of what made Heller a great place to work for so long.

    Now if Larrabee sends an all-hands farewell email, feel free to fire away…

  7. 7 Hellen 7 October 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Hey…give HD a break. We’re all a riot of emotion these days. Have a coupla stiff ones, HD, and enjoy this:


  8. 8 Ugh2This 7 October 2008 at 5:15 pm

    As a former Heller staff person, I also think this is more than a little harsh towards the Shareholders who have obviously dedicated a large portion of their professional life to working at Heller and making it the great place to work that it was. Without many of these people this post was aimed at, Heller would have ceased to be long ago!

    Even though I have been gone from Heller for several years, I still know several staff, associates and Shareholders that are at Heller. I still consider them to be friends and have come back to visit when I could. I would not deny the Shareholders the right to a dignified goodbye to the firm they have dedicated their lives to and the friends they have made any more than I would to a member of the support staff as they hopefully move on to something new and exciting. To do any less I believe is petty and cheapens the value of Heller’s memory as the firm comes to an end.

    HD, I know you are doing a lot of good here to help your co-workers by providing information that can be hard to come by. This is obviously very close to you as you are in the middle of it, but I think you are wrong to begrudge these people the opportunity to say goodbye and leave contact information for those that might want to keep in touch, or might be looking for a good reference in the future.

    Best wishes and thoughts to *all* members of the Heller family including staff, associates and Shareholders.

  9. 9 Mad as Heller 7 October 2008 at 5:39 pm

    What can I say? You’re all right. Heller Drone: Don’t apologize. Sure, you were harsh. But you’re in the same boat as the rest of us, and it is TOUGH to stomach the notion that in this tragic collapse of a firm that we all love, the shareholders are ALL landing on their feet. We, as staff, are not. A trace of bitterness and anger should not be unexpected…nor should it be criticised. At the same time, I know all three of those shareholders responsible for the emails that you posted. And they are all good people and actually do care about the staff. Did they descend into a bit of schmaltzy sentimentality that was inappropriate? You bet. But they have spent years at this institution and do feel a great sense of loss. So, everybody, let’s all try to take a step back. There are plenty of reasons for anger, and plenty of legitimate injustices. Let’s not focus on the petty personal stuff. It’s hard, I know. Let’s try.

  10. 10 Right on 7 October 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Amen. If I hear one more time from a Shareholder, Attorney or Staff member how they’re so sorry I’m still here, (as they skip out the door) I might lose it. Know your audience, peeps.

  11. 11 Hellen 7 October 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Also, remember that shareholders w/o book and associates w/o the benefit of group migration may have a tough time, too.

  12. 12 Observer 7 October 2008 at 11:00 pm

    These shareholder emails did seem a bit tacky in tone. I thought so when I first saw them. Guggenhime, with 43 years here and his father here before him, was genuinely addressing the many who have known him, well, forever. That said, he too didn’t give enough thought to how his message would read to those who don’t know him as well, and are suffering through this shipwreck.

  13. 13 Lynn 8 October 2008 at 7:28 am

    The shareholder messages were received as rude and self-absorbed. The message is I better get out too or be left behind.

  14. 14 DoorMouse 9 October 2008 at 9:30 am

    I would never deny someone the ability to reach out to those they worked side by side with for so many years, but it may have been a more prudent and a more humane and sensitive choice to review the distribution before sending the message and not just send the usual FW All Hands.
    When I left several years back, after more than 15 years with the firm, I never sent a goodbye message, since it had to first be reviewed by Big Brother prior to submission.

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