Why This Place Exists

I want to clarify a few things especially since emotions seem to be running high and the past two days have been difficult for me as a current Heller employee and for everyone I believe.

When I receive information, I make every attempt to confirm it.  I receive this info mostly via e-mail, sometimes by trolling other blogs and comments, sometimes even by telephone.  Every piece of information is treated seriously and I make every attempt at vetting it.  If I have doubts as to something that either seems like a rumor or misinformation planted by Heller management (yes! imagine that!), I will often set it aside for a few hours.  Right now I am sitting on some news that I am not happy about but I don’t feel that I can verify certain aspects of it.

Realise that Heller management and its minions are not happy about Heller Highwater.  Period.  This site was started due to the utter failure of management to communicate to Heller staff and the state of Heller Ehrman LLP as it made its 4th merger attempt and continued to see shareholders pack up their lifeboats and head for shore.

Two weeks after HH debuted, management got its act together and put out a FAQ as well as placement site on the internal Heller website.  Perhaps they were hoping to be the site that most staffers went to for information.  I feel they genuinely wanted to get information out to Heller staffers.  But information is only relevant when it is current, fresh and can be used to one’s advantage – hopefully to make their transition to a new job easier.

Actions such as freezing 401k plans and then delaying communication is not just foolish it also sends this message: management lives in a virtual bubble and is disconnected; staff does not matter; information will be sent out on management’s timeline.

So who is toying with whose emotions when you place a freeze on money that should be accessed by ex-Hellerites if they need to move it to a new employer’s plan or if, I hate to think, they need to dip into it for living expenses or to pay for health insurance for their children?

I am not an insensitive person sitting here posting at will from my mother’s basement, working on my Commodore 64 and pretending that Heller employees are my marionette puppets whose emotional strings I can pluck at will for my amusement.  I am in the same boat, no pun intended, as the rest of you.  I have oodles of vacation time accrued that I may never see.  I have not yet lined up work and prospects don’t look very good in this economy.  I have a mortgage and a family to take care of.

I am not posting this for your kudos or empathy.  I have some very personal reasons for running this site and I do so for several hours a day when I just can’t stomach trying to look for a new job.  I enjoy doing this type of work, it keeps me busy, it keeps me connected.

If I can get one little bit of information out to only one Heller staffer that might help them sleep through the night and not worry about if they’ll make it through the day tomorrow, then my job is done.

I appreciate your comments and as I said yesterday, I don’t zap, delete or edit comments that make me feel uncomfortable.  If people comment, it means they are reading and perhaps using the information.  I like comments and wish more people would jump in and do so.  I was raised in a household that was anything but quiet when it came to discussing matters that were important.  This is a time when we all should be commenting and discussing and doing so with respect and the genuine intent of making certain that the S.S. Heller Ehrman makes it to some shore with as much intact as possible.

Also know that I appreciate your support and will continue to do this work as long as I feel it is necessary.

Over but not out.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director


12 Responses to “Why This Place Exists”

  1. 1 Hellerite 8 October 2008 at 7:32 am

    You’ve been a great help to the people who must rely on rumor and speculation. Thank you!

  2. 2 Ronald 8 October 2008 at 8:21 am

    My heart and mind goes out to the support staff. I worked several years ago on a (temporary) paralegal assignment in Seattle’s Heller office, and have enormous goodwill towards the firm.

    Last year, I worked in a different law firm which subleased space from Heller Ehrman’s Seattle branch in the Columbia Center – said firm has since moved elsewhere in downtown Seattle. I imagine the environment at the “scenic view” Columbia Center 40th floor Starbucks – a short elevator ride down from the Heller offices – has deflated quite a bit from the firm’s dissolution.

    From what you’ve reported, it sounds as though the senior shareholders and senior leadership team are mishandling the firm’s dissolution. It’s unfortunate they may be deficient in wisdom, maturity and unselfishness.

  3. 3 Lola Falana 8 October 2008 at 8:21 am

    Do you need a hug today?

  4. 4 Ronald 8 October 2008 at 8:23 am

    Come to think of it, “senior” shareholders” is probably not the correct Heller verbage. I meant the management-level leadership shareholders and management-level administrators. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

  5. 5 Anonymous 8 October 2008 at 8:57 am

    Although not a Heller employee, I think what you are doing is great and it is important for people to stay informed. It is scary when your future is in the hands of people who decide not to share and I support you in your efforts.

  6. 6 Helldog 8 October 2008 at 10:33 am

    HD, your site IS the lifeboat. Staff always get screwed. It will be interesting/horrifying what the state of our 401Ks will be once THEY are done with it.

  7. 7 Anon 8 October 2008 at 10:42 am

    I understand the dissolution committee has hired the same lawfirm that Brobeck had when they dissolved (Greenberg, et al.) Based on their counsel, didn’t they suck up the employees retirement too? I think I’m going to throw up now.

  8. 8 Ugh2This 8 October 2008 at 11:24 am

    I am sure that inspite of what the Heller management team may feel about your site, that you are truly trying to assist people there by providing them with timely information in the best, and most sensitive manner possible given the current circumstances.

    Getting information late (or not at all) like what happened with the 401k situation only serves to make people more frustrated and afraid about what is going on there. It reminds me of being told you have tickets to see your favorite team play in the Superbowl the day after the big game was played. Wouldn’t you have rather known the day before? Information is only useful if it is timely. Finding out something that directly affects you has been done after the fact because someone else was “busy” is not helpful…it is disrespectful to the hard working and diligent team that is working to help Heller close it’s doors with dignity.

    As a former Heller staff member, it makes me sad to see what is happening to what I still fondly remember as one of the best places I ever had the honor of working.

    Best wishes to all!

  9. 9 Legal Secretary 8 October 2008 at 11:44 am

    HD – if I knew who you were, I’d give you a huge hug. But for now, a cyber one will have to suffice. Thanks so much for all of your hard work. You’ve been a desperately needed lifeboat for me in these troubled waters. Thanks.

  10. 10 hellerdrone 8 October 2008 at 12:42 pm

    H.D. here – I want to post the contents of an email rec’d from a reader – posted with permission. I respect this person greatly and I can understand the torment they’ve been going through in terms of following/not following this blog:

    “Of all the people at Heller, it is the older shareholders, who put their entire lives into this firm finally to see it destroyed by younger, greedier men, with whom I feel the strongest empathy. I have flip-flopped repeatedly on my opinion of this blog since its inception, first believing it insidious, then deciding perhaps it was beneficial, then thinking it insidious again.

    Looking it over, I think it is when you depart from your own stated purposes for the blog that my opinion falters.

    If you keep in mind these purposes before you post, you may walk away proud of your accomplishment. You are keeping a light shining on management that forces them to adhere to Heller’s “good twin” personna and lived up to the name “Highwater.”

    If you abandon your own purposes and sink into “a place for diatribes against specific people or specific incidents,” you have become yourself the bad twin.

    Start another blog for ranting, delete your rants here, and carry on with dignity and you will have an example for any unfortunates finding themselves in similar positions on how gracefully to survive a firm dissolution.”

    Well stated.

    Heller Drone
    Cruise Director

  11. 11 Helldog 8 October 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I’m sorry, but my greatest empathy is with the staff. The “older shareholders” were long ago deposed by the Young Turks, and while they may weep for Heller’s demise, at least they were and are in the loop. Remember, there are “old staffers” as well, and they face a much more uncertain fate. It’s perfectly natural to rant while we are down in steerage on the SS Heller. Save the Rants!

  12. 12 Anonymous 8 October 2008 at 10:23 pm

    And the ranting comes from frustration which you deserve to vent!

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Heller Highwater (hellerdrone.wordpress.com)
Last Modified: September 14, 2008

- Don't be a dill weed.

- Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

- Ladies and children first.

- This is a rescue, not a bitch session.

- Help don't harm.

- Save the snarks for the attorneys and Above The Law.

Heller Highwater is not:

- a place to practice viscious and vindictive "whisper down the lane" rumour-mongering;

- a place to bad mouth co-workers;

- a place for diatribes against specific people or specific incidents;

- a place to heap pity on poor Heller Ehrman staff by outsiders;

- 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;

- a place to learn about job leads, resume preparation, skill building, training, new opportunities, and how to succeed in a new workplace;

- a place to keep up on the latest news as to how Heller Ehrman management intends to treat its support staff as it winds down its operations - will it be every woman for herself? or will it be "let me hold the door for you and is there anything else I can do for you"?

- a place of refuge.

Note: in no way, shape or form is Heller Highwater sanctioned, supported or even recognized, (but it is very likely monitored) by the management of Heller Erhman, LLP. The opinions represented here and on each and every page of Heller Highwater do not constitute the opinions of Heller Ehrman, LLP or its shareholders or its management. In addition, the comments left by visitors do not reflect the opinions of Heller Highwater.

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