Status of Incoming Associates

We received a note from the author and owner of the blog Heller No More updating us on the status of the incoming associates.  Here is a link to the letter which was sent to all incomings. 

In short, the letter states:

  • Heller has decided to renege on the offer of a $10,000 stipend to each of the incoming associates since the start date was delayed to January 2009.  This offer was made in August 2008.  The same statement we’ve constantly heard “we can’t get approval for the payment” is offered up again in relation to the stipend.
  • Along the same lines, moving expenses and bar stipends will not be paid as offered.  

As with many other similar communications from the Dissolution Committee, this one is not signed by any one person.


3 Responses to “Status of Incoming Associates”

  1. 1 A Former Associate 3 December 2008 at 3:53 pm

    This leaves the former incomings in a bad spot. The amounts promised them were contractual; they are entitled to them. But these amounts would not appear to qualify for Cal. DLSE enforcement procedures. They could sue, but would not be able to enforce any judgment against assets (such as AR’s) until the bank lien is satisfied first.

    About the best I can think of for them would be a class action suit, aiming to get summary judgment (since the liability doesn’t even seem to be denied, or deniable). But not attempting to enforce the judgment until it can be determined that bank lien is out of the way. (Don’t hire Nichols Kaster, IMHO. There are excellent plaintiff – labor attorneys in S.F.)

    Someone among the former incomings would have to take the lead to contact the others, line up counsel, etc. It would be work, and it would be a while before any results were obtained. But in the DC’s letter they essentially admit these amounts are owed the former incomings and would be paid but for the bank lien. So taking legal action might not be met by much resistance from the DC, though the bank would almost certainly step in to prevent any early enforcement of a judgment.

    If I were a former incoming, I would hate to see the firm get away without paying these amounts. And legally it is not entitled to avoid these claims.

    Other thoughts?

  2. 2 Former HE Assoc 3 December 2008 at 10:41 pm

    I was a litigator, and don’t have any knowledge of LLCs beyond the bar exam, but I would love to see the former partners held liable for all of the money owed to former employees and the shafted incoming associates. Has anyone done any research to see if this might be a possibility?

  3. 3 Heller No More 7 December 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Are there any attorneys who would even consider taking this kind of case pro bono? If not, there may be a few incoming associates who have the money to hire an attorney, but not me.

    Also, the $10,000 stipend would be extremely helpful (as would the $7500 move coverage), but best case scenario, we win–how much would any one of us see after all the time and effort of putting together a lawsuit? The struggle that I have is that that time would be better spent job searching. Not that I have been successful yet, so who’s to say the time has been better spent?

    As for a class action lawsuit, would we even have enough people to constitute a class? And would only the named plaintiffs receive any decent amount of money?

    After all the lawsuits, is there going to be any money left for us? Because if there isn’t enough to go around, as much as I would like for Heller to have kept their word, the employees who have earned their wages and vacation pay deserve it a lot more.

    Just some thoughts….

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