Archive for November, 2008

The Fate of the Incoming Associates . . .

seems to have been decided.  According to Heller No More, a blog set up for the former incoming associates at Heller Ehrman, a letter has been sent out stating that they will not be reimbursed for expenses or paid any stipend monies as promised previously.  Surprised?  Not me.

The creator and author of Heller No More also announced that the blog has had its last post which is a bit sad but understandable.  I hate to see any fellow blogger throw in the towel but some blogs are meant to have a limited run especially one which catered to a group of people who were not quite yet Heller attorneys despite being handed a long list of promises and assurances.

While getting such a group that hasn’t even had a communal work experience organized enough to file a lawsuit or take action is difficult, I commend HNM for the good information put out over the past few weeks.

Keep these people in your thoughts and if you are in contact with any of them, let them know we’re thinking about them.

Over and out.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director


Litigation Secretary Positions

Denise Bottarini over at Landmark Legal has dropped us a quick note and wants to remind those looking for litigation secretary positions that they have several listings. If you have 3+ years of litigation secretarial experience that includes knowledge of court procedure, local rules, efiling and excellent document processing skills, please contact Denise today.

Landmark Legal Professionals is working with “best of the best” Bay Area law firms in their searches for litigation legal secretaries. Let Landmark be your guide on your path to a new “home”.
Landmark Legal Professionals was voted as the Bay Area’s #2 legal staffing service for 2007 by the subscribers to The Recorder. For more information about who we are and how we can be of assistance to you in your career search, please see:

Denise Bottarini
Managing Director, San Francisco

Job Posting: Various Positions – San Francisco

I’ve received a note from Human Resources at Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco about several staff positions available. If you wish to review all the positions available at Kirkland & Ellis, please click here.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, founded almost 100 years ago, is a preeminent, full-service law firm with over 1,400 attorneys worldwide. Our San Francisco office, which opened in 2003, and our Palo Alto office, which opened in 2008, continues to experience rapid growth. Located in the heart of the financial district and Silicon Valley, we have created a professional office environment, where professionals thrive. We are seeking career oriented individuals to join our support team.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP offers a competitive base salary, bonus potential and benefits for its full-time employees. If you are a dedicated, hardworking, results-oriented individual, we invite you to submit your resume and cover letter (including salary expectations) to at our Staff Careers Page. Locals only. Principals only. Skills assessment test will be administered. Background checks will be conducted. Local Candidates only. EOE.

Corporate Legal Secretary (M&A)

Qualifications & Requirements

The ideal candidate will have 3+ years of recent and direct corporate legal secretarial experience (preferably in a large law firm), excellent communication and organizational skills, customer service orientation, a proactive work ethic, attention to detail, the ability to work well under pressure and flexibility for overtime. Strong day-to-day organizational skills are essential, particularly with respect to file maintenance. Must have advanced proficiency working in MS Word 2000 and be proficient in formatting documents utilizing styles. A minimum typing speed of 55+ wpm is required. PowerPoint and Excel experience are also strongly preferred.

Essential Job Functions

Under general supervision, the Corporate Legal Secretary will provide support to attorneys in the areas of financing and secured transactions, leasing, structured financial workouts and reorganizations and general corporate practice. Duties include, but are not limited to, typing and formatting corporate legal documents, registration statements, SEC filings and other transactional filings with governing entities. Administrative duties include Dictaphone transcription, entering attorney time, making travel arrangements, interfacing with clients, calendar maintenance, filing and general secretarial duties as assigned.

Calendar Court Services Coordinator

Qualifications & Requirements

Education: Bachelor’s Degree preferred.

Experience: Required to have at least 4-7 years experience in the legal field.

Essential Job Functions

The Court Services Coordinator will work with the Records and CCS Manager and the Loss Prevention team in providing court services and support for the San Francisco and Palo Alto office. This position works closely with Court Services personnel in other domestic K&E offices as part of a team who assist and instruct attorneys, legal assistants and staff regarding court filing requirements, court rules, and processes and requirements of the judiciary. This position requires exceptional customer service skills. The CCSC will implement and oversee office-wide court filing and calendaring procedures. This position will work with management and the firmwide Court Services team in formulating and implementing policies, procedures and practices to fulfill court filing and calendaring functions that support the Firm’s Loss Prevention initiatives and policies.

Job Posting: Litigation Paralegal – Palo Alto

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Palo Alto office has an opening for a mid-level litigation paralegal. Needs to have 4-6 years of experience with taking the lead on cases and experience with court filings.

Please contact:

Laura Knight
Office Manager
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
2550 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Tel: (650) 251-5174
Cell: (415) 509-6001
Fax: (650) 251-5002

Getting Call Backs From Potential Employers

Over at Shifting Careers, which is the New York Times’ new work and career blog for the 21st century, author Michael Melcher has some great tips on how to ensure you’ll get call backs when in the middle of a job search.

Click here to read “They Never Write, They Never Call,” and learn more about various methods to use when conducting a job search. One interesting concept, which I’ve whole-heartedly embraced is this:

Make connections for other people. Whatever barriers you are facing in the employment markets, you are probably in a position to others in their job searches, whether through advice, referrals or just being a friend. Helping others make progress is a good way to remind yourself that you do have an impact on the world.”

I can say that on any given day, as I work with recruiters and my networking contacts in order to post available positions on Thelen The Pain and on Heller Highwater, there is no better high than seeing a colleague snag a new position based on a lead I sent their way. It’s what I call “career karma” and not only does it keep me busy and networking while I am out of work, I know it will reap big rewards down the road.

Do You Still Drink The Law Firm Kool-Aid?

A bit of a rambling post here – I just wanted to check in and see if most ex-Heller staff, especially those who have not yet made it to dry land, are still looking only within the legal field.  With over 20 years of experience working in large global law firms, each time I make a job change (through my own devices or when it is imposed upon me), I consider not staying in the field.  What about you?

For me, working for BigLaw had pluses and minuses and despite what people tell you, not all firms are the same.  We all migrate towards certain firms based on not just the benefits and perks offered, but based on the “firm culture.”  That is the reason why I stayed with Heller Ehrman – the firm culture and philosophy was in synch with my own in terms of its progressive outlook and always being ahead of the curve.  Little did I know that when it came down to tough times, Heller management would totally disregard such a culture and rely mainly on a “dissolution playbook” handed to them by outside counsel.

Face it, the perks of working for a large law firm are great from the three weeks vacation to start, holidays, Friday breakfasts, free sodas and coffee, parties, transportation allowance, etc.  And the trade offs are frequently having to deal with high pressure atmospheres, deadlines and difficult people.  How’s that for being diplomatic?

Personally, I’ve worked for some horrendous firms with 3:00 am phone calls filled with abusive language that made Sarah Silverman look like Mother Teresa.  And I’ve worked for some great firms despite being on call 24/7 and pulling 36-hour shifts to upgrade servers or desktops.  I stuck with BigLaw mostly for “the security” as I call it.  Great atmosphere, great people, great benefits, great retirement.

But after my last gig, at Heller, seeing that security pulled out from under me, and not having basic labor laws such as paying accrued vacation followed, I begin to have my doubts.  I’m not sure that I’m willing to invest my usual 110% at a firm that might possibly turn on its employees in such a way.  And Heller is not an isolated case – just look at the staffers at Thelen.

So for now, I’ll take the consulting route which I’ve always shied away from since I had to do my own taxes, pay my own Social Security and retirement, secure my own benefits, etc.  But I am my own boss responsible for my own security.  I can pick and choose which clients I want to work with and what projects I want to tackle.  More control, less stress but more paperwork and bookkeeping.  Seems like a fair trade in today’s economic situation and the lack of full-time jobs.

I and probably many of the readers would like to hear from others, both staff and attorneys, as to why they’ve decided to stay in the legal field.  Or if you’ve left why you made that decision.

Job Postings: Various Staff Positions – Bay Area

For all of these new positions, please contact:

Rachel Moran
Placement Director
Integrity. Service. Results
Phone: 707.775.3000
Fax: 707.775.3399
Cell: 415.269.4633

San Francisco (by appt only)
Phone: 415.986.4323
Fax: 415.986.4321


San Francisco

Human Resources/Attorney Recruiting Coordinator
Newly created position at top notch firm. 2 yrs. HR experience in law firm preferred.

Help Desk Analyst
Solid work experience as a help desk/IT team member. Knowledge of legal software applications.

In-House Litigation Paralegal
Great opportunity to join successful SF corporation.5-7 years of CA litigation experience, varied practice areas desired and excellent technical abilities.


Palo Alto

Sr. Level Corporate Paralegal
Law firm experience preferred and 7+ years of corporate transactional experience, preferably in M&A, Securities and Corporate Governance.

Sr. IP Litigation Paralegal
10 years of CA litigation experience (must meet ABA requirements), at least 5 in IP

Litigation Secretary
New position at growing Silicon Valley office. Must have solid CA litigation skills and work history.

Please forward resumes in Word format to
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". . . sitting on our butts is not going to help us either. Maybe by climbing out of here, we can save ourselves. If you've got any sense, you'll come along with us."

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This blog has been created by Thomas MacEntee.

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Terms of Service

Heller Highwater (
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.