Ex-Heller SF Get Together – Was Larrabee There?

A group of almost 100 ex-Hellerites met up at the Hyatt Regency (Embarcadero) in San Francisco on Wednesday night and I am only getting information in dribs and drabs right now.

First, if there are photos and you’d like them placed here on Heller Highwater then email me at hellerdrone@gmail.com.  

Second, several people stated that Matt Larrabee actually had the chutzpah to show up.  Yes, granted, he is an ex-Hellerite like the rest of us but considering the fact that he was one of the major players in this tragedy you’d think he’d have the sense to stay away.

If this is the case, I would like to hear about any encounters, discussions, words traded with Mr. Larrabee and whether anyone actually confronted him on his actions and the actions of the rest of the Dissolution Committee.  I think followers of Heller Highwater would like to know as well.

Is Larrabee turning out to be our very own Blagojevich?  Does he just not get it like the rest of the D.C.? Or does he just think that the rules of common decency that apply to the rest of us mere mortals, just don’t apply to him?


16 Responses to “Ex-Heller SF Get Together – Was Larrabee There?”

  1. 1 Doughboy 19 December 2008 at 11:04 am

    Janet Cenicola was there, too. Coincidence?

  2. 2 Lola Falana 19 December 2008 at 11:40 am

    He was there, only spoke with a select few, never turned his back to the crowd. Probably feared getting shanked.

    It was great seeing people that I used to work with, catching up on our lives and just talking about wtf happened??

  3. 3 Derner 19 December 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I wanted to be there. I had planned to be there.

    Fortunately, I’m swamped with contract work, and I was up until 3:00AM working on projects for clients.

    Looking forward to hearing how it went though.

  4. 4 please stop 19 December 2008 at 8:09 pm

    This site had so much promise. But it continues to slide down the slope of bitterness and vitriol. This was a tragedy, to be sure. None of us wanted it — not the staff, associates, and most assuredly not the shareholders (and no I’m not a shareholder, but these people lost more money than any of us). It is legitimate to question Matt’s leadership, more legitimate to question the decision making of the firm’s policy committee before and after Matt’s ascension (and not because they put forth Matt’s candidacy, but because they had such an open debate about Matt vs. Barry which led to Matt constantly looking over his shoulder). Matt very well may not have had the leadership skills necessary, but it is so wrong to place the whole blame on him – the firm’s vaunted culture is as much to blame. The firm’s debate club culture mentality was to blame. The firm’s lack of willingness to act like a business, as opposed to a social experiment, is to blame. The firm’s overly entitled staff and associates are as much to blame. The firm’s myopic, bureaucratic, and self preservationist focused administration is to blame. Hell, the vaunted Phyllis Gardner is as much to blame, if not more, than Brad Scott. The infrastructure built out for a firm twice the size was to blame. The disloyal, ego maniacal, greedy partners that defected because they were either (supposedly) underpaid or because they were dissed by not being given some bullshit management title were to blame. All who are so absorbed in their own self pity and bitterness are to blame because most of you were so fixated on what the firm owed you as opposed to providing the highest level of support and client care. The pervasive entitlement was to blame, among the shareholders, the associates and, yes, the staff is frankly more to blame than anything. As far as I’m concerned the fact that Matt showed up to the function was a sign of strength. Comments to the contrary are borne out of entitlement, weakness, bitterness, and a total lack of understanding. Employees of the Big 3 are experiencing the same thing. The economy sucks. The labor market sucks. The fact that Heller folded sucks, but to blame it all one aspect is simply wrong.

  5. 5 Thomas MacEntee 19 December 2008 at 8:30 pm

    please stop

    I am half-past give a shit with people like you who want to blame staff. We are not having a pity party here despite your take on it. Are you even a Heller person? Do you even know what the hell you are talking about? It sounds like you need to get your own blog and give your own decidedly slanted view of what went on.

  6. 6 Wage Claimer 19 December 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Please Stop gets the award for worst comment of the year! Seriously astounding stuff there.

    Gee, why would anyone blame the chairman for the collapse of a $500 million law firm? You’re totally right, it was the entitled staff and associates, not the firm’s decision makers that drove the firm into the ground.

  7. 7 Former HE Assoc 19 December 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Please Stop, you have NO idea what you are talking about.

    I was an associate at HE, and the hardest working people were the staff and associates. We had world-class secretaries who went out of their way to provide excellent support to the attorneys they work for. The support staff were excellent–from the library to the mailroom to IT. I once had a laptop die at 3pm on a Friday afternoon. Within an hour, I had a new laptop and was back up and running.

    Us associates worked are asses off. The associates sitting around doing nothing at the end were begging and waiting for work. Associates at that firm cared more about their firm and their work then associates at 99% of big law firms.

    It was a subset of the shareholders who had the sense of entitlement. I won’t blame all of the shareholders, because there were some truly great ones who went out of their way to find new homes for staff and associates. But many shareholders– especially the ones who went to Covington– were greedy, self-centered maggots who thought they were the cat’s whiskers.

    Now lets talk about Matt. When he left for NY, he sent his secretary from SF, rather than have a local NYC employee, to set-up his luxury apartment in NYC. He oversaw lavish, ridiculous shareholder retreats. He led the firm into China and London at a time when those markets were becoming saturated.

    We don’t think we are entitled to anything except what the LAW says we are entitled to– 60 days WARN pay, vacation time and penalties. That is what we are complaining and debating about on this forum.

  8. 8 Former HE Assoc 19 December 2008 at 10:21 pm

    P.S. Please forgive my grammatical mistakes. It’s Friday evening, and I’m exhausted after a long week.

    I know– in the 2nd paragraph it is “our” not “are” and “than” not “then.”

    Haters, please don’t use my grammar as a sword against my arguments.

  9. 9 Treading Water 19 December 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Please Stop – is that you, Janet?

  10. 10 SV Refugee 20 December 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Please stop,

    That was a ridiculous comment. Jonathan Hayden himself, at the wage claim conference I attended, stated that Heller’s demise was in no way the fault of associates or staff. In my previous comments, I expressed that I felt some of what he said was dubious. I have no reason, however, to think that this comment was anything but genuine.

  11. 11 ex-HELLerite 22 December 2008 at 4:47 pm


    Three cheers for you! I really don’t understand people who continue to take the side of the partnership! It really pisses me off, that they KNEW, or at least the policy committee, how bad things were! And don’t even get me started on the attorneys who left, and then were hired as “contract” attorneys! How many of them were thinging about those of us in the engine room, who really made the ship move? I ran into an attorney in DC, who left before the wheels fell off, and he told me he was surprised with the money the firm gave him, meaning they gave him more than he expected.

    For those who want to take the side of the partnership, if you don’t want to read this information, don’t visit the site.

    Signed A pissed off former employee!

  12. 12 Another Former Associate 24 December 2008 at 3:35 am

    Please Stop should please stop. People who were taking down an average of $750,000 per year get no sympathy from me.

    But could we all get it through our heads that Larrabee is Not on the dissolution committee. (Throughout, I have seen that fact — and the absence of Levin, Fiala, etc., from that committee — as a vote of no-confidence by the partners more generally.)

  13. 13 Another Former Associate 24 December 2008 at 3:36 am

    Were any of Benvenutti, Sugarman, Hayden, or Loacker there??

  14. 14 Thomas MacEntee 24 December 2008 at 9:51 am

    I believe only Larrabee was there

  15. 15 Thomas MacEntee 24 December 2008 at 9:52 am

    Right that Larrabee, Levin, Fram, Haslam etc. are not on the D.C. but many of us consider them major players and having had a large role in the demise of Heller Ehrman.

  16. 16 Another Former Associate 25 December 2008 at 5:19 am

    Tom, yes of course L, L, F, H had a large role in the demise of the firm. But they are not in charge of the dissolution process now, and so are to a considerable extent irrelevant to our problems now.

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