Archive for February, 2009

Friday, Bloody, Friday

Being a former Lathamite myself, I just want everyone to keep those laid off at Latham – and in all the firms over the past few months – in their thoughts and prayers today.

If you haven’t heard, a total of 440 were let go today.


Job Posting: Labor Relations Analyst – Alameda County


Under supervision, at the lower level, and under general direction, at the higher level to provide staff assistance and coordination of ACMC employer‑employee relations activities; to make policy recommendations on labor relations matters; to participate in labor negotiations activities; to assist in the resolution of grievances and disciplinary matters; to prepare Memoranda of Understanding and other documents relating to Labor Relations assignments, to provide advice, interpretation, and orientation to operating department personnel; to represent the Human Resource Services Department in dealing with other departments, government agencies, labor organizations; and to perform related duties as required.


This specification describes two flexibly staffed classifications located in the Labor Relations function of the Human Resource Department, which provide support for and/or participate in county-wide employer-employee relations activities. Labor Relations Analysts I are trainees and are expected to gain experience and demonstrate proficiency that qualifies them to promote to the higher level after the equivalent of one year of full-time experience. Appointment at the level I generally will not be extended beyond one year. The Labor Relations Analyst II is expected to handle the most complex and sensitive Labor Relations, grievance and disciplinary matters independently. Labor Relations Analyst II is distinguished from the comparable level class of Supervising Human Resources Analyst in that the latter class is a first level-working supervisor.


· Develops detailed, technical staff work in support of negotiations.

· Acts as ACMC management representative in contacts with union representatives and/or departments on meet and confer processes, grievances, disciplinary actions and other labor relations activities; conducts negotiations and may serve as chief spokesperson.

· Coordinates with “at the table” negotiating team, operating departments, contract agencies and other interested parties.

· Provides research and analysis of facts pertaining to potential or stated employee organization demands. This may include cost or budget impact information relating to salary or benefit proposals.

· Consults with and provides advice to departmental management and supervisors on matters pertaining to employer‑employee relations and Memoranda of Understanding; may provide training to management personnel regarding the impact of agreements with labor organizations.

· Assists in the preparation of the Memoranda of Understanding which includes developing contract language; prepares other correspondence and memoranda as required; makes presentations as necessary.

· Keeps abreast of labor relations laws, court decisions and trends affecting both the private and public sector.

· May attend and participate in closed sessions with the ACMC Board of Trustees regarding negotiations.

· Studies statutory requirements and recommendations; analyzes pending State legislation for effect on operations and cost impact for ACMC and recommends ACMC position on passage.


· Must have California Driver’s License

· Possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a related field AND the equivalent of two years of increasingly responsible experience in labor relations activities including at the table negotiations. Two additional years of this kind of experience may substitute for the Bachelor’s Degree.


· Knowledge of collective bargaining process in the public and/or private sector including Federal and State labor legislation applicable to local government.

· Standard principles of collective bargaining including representation rights, management rights and scope of bargaining.

· Standard negotiating practices, including preparation of negotiating strategy, tactics and impasse procedures.

· Knowledge of the principles of human resource administration and management.

· Techniques of administrative and management analysis including the identification of fringe benefit costs and other labor statistics.

· Statistical and reporting methods used in administrative and management analysis.

· Fair Employment and Equal Opportunities policies and regulations.

· Current employer‑employee relations practices, trends and major problems.

· Techniques of dispute resolution.

· Administrative procedures and practice for processing grievances up to and including arbitration.

· Written & oral communication, decision-making, analysis and problem solving skills; management control, leadership, interpersonal sensitivity, flexibility, planning and organization, budget analysis and independent judgment.

If you share our passion for providing high-quality, compassionate care for everyone, we invite you to apply by visiting EOE.

Updated Bankruptcy Court Docket

Just a heads up that I will be working on updating the Bankruptcy page over the next hour – there are close to 25 new documents, some of them with very revealing information, to be posted.  Thanks for your patience!

The Death of Biglaw

[Note: I write this obituary for large global law firms with no sense of joy or schadenfreude.  Since genealogy is my passion in life, and I know the power of information that can be contained in a well-written death notice, I thought I’d take my turn at trying to summarize what I’ve witnessed over the past few months]

Thursday, February 12, 2009 aka “Black Thursday” or “The Pre-Valentine’s Day Massacre” — The concept of Biglaw – large, global, multi-office, multi-practice law firms, passed away on Thursday, February 12, 2009 in many locations with close to 1,100 legal profession layoffs.

Born in 1879 when Coudert Brothers –  founded in New York in 1853 – opened its Paris office, the concept of a group of attorneys operating efficiently for the benefit of clients (and employees) and not just for their owners while providing quality legal services lasted approximately 130 years.

In the mid- to late-20th century, the idea that “economies of scale” and “efficiencies” (and whatever buzzword you care to apply) could be gained by congregating large groups of attorneys – ranging in age from recent twentysomething law school graduates to those who actually may have written the Code of Hammurabi – across multiple worldwide offices had its heyday.  

But while riding in that fast car of larger offices, more attorneys, more locations, the warning signs of trying to go too far, too fast went unheeded.  As others shouted about the “death of the billable hour” or that “disbursements are simply your overhead costs,” Biglaw proponents continued in their ego and monument building undeterred.  Like a sexy, carefree and drunken girl in her date’s convertible just before reality (aka “that telephone pole” or “that other car”) came out of nowhere.

Also along for the ride were too many chiefs and directors who while tasked with efficiently administering day-to-day operations, simply became “yes men” and “yes women” telling partners what they wanted to hear; large marketing departments who failed to see that before you could market a law firm like a corporation, the law firm had to be run like a corporation; self-congratulating partners who stymied sound decision-making in lieu of simply going with something they felt was best; IT departments which suffered through the disasters of choices made based on the latest toy or gadget or program a partner had seen at a trade show or at a colleague’s firm; and too many outsourced employees whose jobs in records, document production, information rsources and other support departments disappeared long, long ago.

Friends, supporters, and detractors recall those crazy days with huge lavish parties around the holidays, the partner and all-attorney retreats with their oh-so-funny skits and other team-building exercises.  Those days when per partner profits kept increasing year after year.  Those days when it seemed it would never end.  But it did.

Biglaw leaves behind thousands of loyal former employees who will be lucky to find similar positions in today’s economy and can look forward to long stints of unemployment or underemployment; empty but elegantly decorated temples to those crazy days when the wiser decision might have been to scale back or to make do; and partners who’d rather hack off entire groups of employees than see their profits descend more than 3% when compared to the year prior.

Biglaw is survived by those who got out of the field long ago; those who managed to build networks and skill sets that could transcend the legal practice and survive in any economic time; those who never took the sweet but soon bitter pill.

In lieu of condolences, well-wishers are simply reminded: to take care of yourself and to examine the important things in life – today, not tomorrow;  to try and  help your former colleagues as best you can; to offer advice but also offer an ear; to remold yourself and pursue what you really want to do in life, not what you have to do to survive; and to not let this history be repeated, if possible.

Heller’s Application for Special Employment Litigation Counsel

While I haven’t received a recent docket update, I understand that Heller has applied to employ Manatt Phelps as Special Employment Litigation Counsel during the bankruptcy proceedings.  I’ll have the document posted along with all over docket updates tomorrow.

In the meantime, let me see if I get this: Heller wants the costs of defending itself against the ex-Heller employee claims to be covered by the estate yet we, as employees, can’t even get ourselves a separate Employees’ Committee let alone a seat on the Unsecured Creditors Committee?  Is this how you see it as well?

Job Posting: Litigation Attorney – Los Angeles

We are looking for a 2002 – 2005 law school graduate with TOP credentials needed for a litigation attorney position (temp to hire).  This is a top firm that requires TOP schools/grades/firms.

Edie Milholland

MatrixLegal, LLC
445 S. Figueroa St., Suite 2600
Los Angeles, CA  90071
Phone:   213.627.0330
Fax:       213.627.0333
Cell:       818.404.4221
email address:

Job Posting: Law Office Administrator – Los Angeles

Our client, a prominent national law firm, is opening an office in downtown Los Angeles. We are looking for an experienced Law Office Administrator to help them get the office up and running and then to keep it running smoothly. The successful candidate will have solid law firm experience as an administrator and a professional, cooperative work style with a team oriented, flexible attitude. This is a great opportunity with an excellent firm. Salary depends on experience.

Edie Milholland

MatrixLegal, LLC
445 S. Figueroa St., Suite 2600
Los Angeles, CA  90071
Phone:   213.627.0330
Fax:       213.627.0333
Cell:       818.404.4221
email address:

Life preserver.jpg
Remember the words of Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure):

". . . 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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