There have been a great deal of comments on the recent bankruptcy posts, many with the same advice as to how to proceed during the bankruptcy process and warning us not to delay any actions we intend to take.  And realizing that it is not easy to organize a diverse group like ex-Heller Ehrman employees, many of whom have gone on to new jobs or are in different locations across the country, I want to update readers on what I feel our next steps are:

Getting a seat on the Unsecured Creditors Committee.  I will be putting my name forward to be on the Unsecured Creditors Committee and working hard to make sure that this happens.  I realize that I don’t live in San Francisco but from what I understand that should not be much of a problem as long as we also have bankruptcy counsel (see below).  Right now I am still without employment and my new business, BigLaw 2.0, has not had much work so I seem to be in the perfect position of handling this responsibility.  I just hope I can live up to the expectations of the group.

Bankruptcy Counsel.  I have narrowed down a choice of bankruptcy counsel and after a conference call later today and a hearing on Monday I should be able to provide more information.  I am heeding the advice of Jayne Loughry and others who’ve provided valuable advice as to strategy and next steps.  We can’t go this alone.  

Sticking Together.  One concern I have, and I need to be honest in this, is the ability of ex-Hellerites to stick together as a united front during the bankruptcy process.  I think we need to truly act as one, but we can still have different opinions as to strategy, procedures, tasks, etc.  It is imperative that Judge Montali and the other creditors – both secured and unsecured – realize that we are a force to be reckoned with and that we won’t take a lesser role during the course of bankruptcy.  As we go through this it is important that we all feel comfortable giving feedback and comments but know that for the sake of progress we may need to “agree to disagree” on some points.

Going Forward.  Readers need to realize that if I am to actively participate in the bankruptcy proceedings I may be limited in terms of what I can report here at Heller Highwater.  Most likely I will be posting documents that are publicly available via PACER and discussing upcoming hearings etc.  But there are some items I just won’t be able to discuss so as to not endanger our case.

How You Can Help.  There will be plenty of tasks to go around in the next few days, weeks and months.  First off, I will need one or more people to check PACER daily for any activity and forward documents to me.  I will continue to post these types of requests as they come up.

Thanks again for all your support during what is sure to be a long process.  We’ve got a great group of core readers and dedicated commenters as well as many who simply email information to me.  I hope that when we look back at this entire effort, we will be proud of what we accomplished.


6 Responses to “Update”

  1. 1 Pumasdad 2 January 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Here is the place to obtain the “Proof of Claim” form that must be submitted to the court for due wages.


    When you get here click on the tab marked “Forms”, then click on “National Forms” on the Left side of the page, the form you need is # B10, this is for California. Does anybody know what effect the Bankruptcy will have on the “Warn Act” provisions?

  2. 2 Former Associate 2 January 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I haven’t done any research on the issue, but I don’t see why the BK would adversely affect the WARN Act provisions. I intend to include that in my proof of claim.

  3. 3 Former Secretary 2 January 2009 at 8:08 pm

    When you say stick together, does that include all States? What about the lawsuits that are already filed, all the ex-employees who are already signed up with that?

  4. 4 Former Heller Assoc 3 January 2009 at 3:31 am


    I’m not a bankruptcy expert, but I believe the federal bankruptcy case based here in SF covers all creditors in all states (therefore all former employees regardless of work location.) I believe it will also put on hold all other actions against the firm, including the class action filed in CA. Therefore, this suit should actually make it easier for us to stick together now that we should be able to focus on just the bankruptcy case and not a bunch of state and federal cases across the country.

    Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. 5 Observer 3 January 2009 at 11:29 pm

    FHA is correct: The bankruptcy case filed here in California is national in scope (international in some respects), and stays all litigation against the firm anywhere in the U.S. The case covers all creditors of the firm wherever located.

    And all ex-employees, in whatever state, will need to file a proof of claim here in S.F. HD has indicated that he will address the process of filing a claim, so I won’t go into that now. But, while it has to be done right, it is neither difficult nor burdensome to do.

  6. 6 Observer 3 January 2009 at 11:35 pm

    A comment on committee and counsel:

    HD, and others, need to be clear on the status of an employees committee. Unless such committee is formally appointed by the Bankruptcy Court, such committee will not necessarily be able to pay its counsel from the administrative funds of the bankruptcy estate (i.e. from Heller’s pocket prior to distribution to creditors). I expect there will be resistance from other creditors to such a formal appointment of an employees committee within the case.

    And on the other hand, a seat for Tom (or any other ex-employee) on the general unsecured creditors committee will not make Stephen Finestone the counsel for the general creditors committee.

    I assume that Tom, and those working directly with him, are addressing these structural issues. But if not, they should be promptly addressed with Mr. Finestone.

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