Archive for March, 2009

Reminder: File Your Proof of Claim

Reminder that the deadline to file a Proof of Claim with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California is April 27, 2009.

Start here for more information on how to access the proof of claim form and how to file.  

If you’ve signed a retainer agreement to join the class action suit with Blum Collins, or if you think you’ll join the suit at a later date, you must still file a proof of claim!


Reminder: Check Job Listings at ILTA

It has been awhile since I’ve mentioned ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) but they have a most excellent job bank on their website.

You do not need to be a member to view the listings which currently include these positions:

IT Project Manager – Washington, DC

Litigation Support Specialist – San Diego, CA

Regional Litigation Support Specialist – San Francisco, CA

and more!

Job Posting: Facilities Team Member – San Francisco

Please contact:

Christine Hobbs
Director of Human Resources
Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
A Professional Corporation
3 Embarcadero Center, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA  94111-4024 

Department:                   Facilities

Schedule:   Operational hours for the Facilities Department are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Shifts vary to cover all functions of the Department) The Facilities Team Member must possess the flexibility to work alternative shifts as deemed necessary by the Facilities Manager.  Must also possess flexibility to work a weekend shift when necessary.

Reporting Relationship:   Reports to and works under the direction of the Facilities Manager.

Status:  Non-Exempt

Supervisory/ Management Responsibilities:  None

·        Summary:           The Facilities Department exists to provide the highest quality service to the Firm’s clients through teamwork and mutual support.

·        Each Facilities Team Member is expected to deal courteously, responsibly and competently with internal and external clients.

·        The Facilities Team Member must be self-motivated and able to successfully perform tasks independently with a minimum of supervision.

·        The Facilities Team Members must have excellent communication skills and be able to perform required tasks successfully and in a timely manner.  Responsible for supporting the daily activities within the Facilities Department by following the written Facilities procedures.

·        The Facilities Team Member performs related Department and Firm duties as assigned.

·        Not all responsibilities will be appropriate to the individual’s everyday functions.

·        Responsibilities:          Prepare conference rooms for all meetings, including proper table coverings for meetings which include a meal.  When setting up conference rooms for meetings where drinks and food are requested, ensure that drinks and food are presented according to the request and that plates, coffee urns, credenzas, cutlery, cups and glassware are clean and in good condition.  Remove any plates, flatware, and cups that are not clean or that are chipped.  Use protective table covers for depositions, trial preparations, and document reviews.

·        Maintain clean and orderly appearance of conference rooms by regularly cleaning glass doors,  credenzas, and conference room tables with appropriate cleaning products.  Any non-functioning, broken, or stained equipment or fixtures should be reported immediately to the Facilities Manager.

·        Maintain all supplies of plates, cutlery, napkins, tablecloths, sodas and other drinks in conference rooms.  When new supplies are needed, requests should be made through the Facilities Manager.

·        Ensure that there are ample chairs to accommodate the number attendees scheduled to use the conference room.  If there is a need for additional chairs, they should be brought from other conference rooms and returned to their proper location at the conclusion of the meeting.

·        Assist with kitchen clean-up and maintenance of general office appearance.

·        Clean and set up offices with basic supplies for new attorney and staff.

·        Stock all refrigerators with milk supplies.  Check expiration dates on the milk cartons and remove them when expired.

·        Stock all kitchen refrigerators twice weekly with sodas & waters.

·        Performs bi weekly cleanings of all firms refrigerators.

·        Check with the receptionist responsible for conference room scheduling for any changes to the schedule.  Any requests regarding conference room scheduling should be forwarded to Reception.

·        Refer to the Conference Room Checklist when setting up and cleaning up conference rooms.

·        Perform the Firm’s recycling by collecting  recycling on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th floors during regular business hours on a weekly basis.  This includes the pick-up of the confidential recycling which must be placed in the shredding bins.

·        Purchase non-capital, office supplies, stationary/printing and miscellaneous maintenance requirements for the firm.  Maintain records of all purchases.

·        Maintains accountability of all supplies inventories.  Monitors stock levels and reorders accordingly. Maintains minimum/maximum records for all supplies.

·        Receive all inbound packages and bulk shipments.  Document arrival and inspect for damages, schedule delivery to recipient in a timely manner.

·        Deliver Federal Express packages to Federal Express office located on the street level of the building by the established Federal Express deadlines.

·        Utilize HR tracking software for incoming packages and faxes

·        Coordinate and assist HR Attorneys & Staff with all outgoing shipments.

·        Provide guidance to support staff in coordination of messenger runs.

·        Maintain cleanliness and order in the Shipping/Receiving/Mail/Fax & Office Services areas.

·        Sort and stamp all outgoing mail using postage machine; go to post office as necessary.

·        Sort incoming and interoffice mail and deliver accurately throughout the Firm.

·        Deliver and pick-up mail in accordance with the established procedures.

·        Deliver newspapers as assigned.

·        Provide back-up support delivering packages and envelopes for Shipping/Receiving Department.

·        Send and receive facsimile transmissions in an accurate and timely fashion.

·        Maintain equipment and supplies required for the efficient operation of the Facsimile Center.

·        Contact attorneys and other staff members for information missing from facsimile transmission forms, including correct billing information.  Inform appropriate party if any problems are encountered in transmission.

·        Deliver and pick-up faxes on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th floors according to schedule provided.

·        Provide back-up to all aspects of Facilities and maintain a high level of job expertise within the Department through ongoing cross-training.

·        Keep Facilities Manager advised of any issues that may arise affecting the essential functions of the Department which cannot be resolved by the employee.

·        Maintain cordial working relationship with co-workers and staff.

·        Participate in job rotation as assigned by Facilities Manager.

·        Carry a radio at all times.

·        Performs all other assignments/tasks that are assigned by supervisors or others which are not covered in this job description and which the individual could reasonably be expected to perform.

·        Submit complete and accurate payroll time sheets in a timely manner.

·        Complete assigned projects in a timely and efficient manner.

·        Attend all team and Departmental meetings.

·        Participate in safety awareness and working in a safe manner.

·        Performs all other assignments/tasks that are assigned by supervisors or others which are not covered in this job description and which the individual could reasonably be expected to perform.

·        Regular and predictable attendance is an essential job function.

·        Qualifications:  Demonstrate attention to detail

·        Strong customer service skills

·        Basic computer skills (MS Outlook, MS Word and MS Excel)

·        Ability to work with time deadlines

·        Flexibility in work assignments

·        Demonstrates a thorough knowledge of computer applications such as Word, Outlook, Carpe Diem (or other time entry systems), and Internet software.

·        Qualified candidates must possess ability to communicate effectively with a diverse population and demonstrate effective customer service and problem solving skills.

·        Must be a team player.

Education and Experience:           The ideal candidate will have at least 2 years of prior office experience and at least 1 year of prior facilities experience.  Prior law firm experience is desirable.  A high school diploma is required.  Experience working in a fast paced environment and attention to detail are essential.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

·        Physical ability and manual dexterity to use computer hardware and keyboards, telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, filing cabinets and other standard office equipment.

·        Physical ability to sit at a desk or computer station for up to 7.5 hours per work shift.

·        Physical ability and manual dexterity to carry single file boxes weighing up to 30 lbs. and/or to move items weighing up to 100 pounds using hand trucks, dollies and other similar mechanical material handling aids.

·        Physical ability to lift boxes, push carts, break down and set up of conference room tables, meeting room equipment, deliveries of shipments received, etc.

·        A current U.S. driver’s license of the appropriate classification, and the physical ability and manual dexterity to
safely drive standard passenger vehicles on public roads and highways, as well as on clients’ property or at clients’ work locations

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Billing On The Way Out

We’ve received a copy of a memo which was sent to all billing shareholders at Heller as part of the dissolution process.  This may help to answer some of the questions as to what “arrangements” were made in terms of collecting Heller’s receivables especially for those shareholders on their way out the door.

September 26, 2008

Dear Billing Shareholder:

            You are receiving this letter because you are a Billing Shareholder.  As you know, the Plan of Dissolution of Heller Ehrman, LLP (the “Firm”), dated as of September 26, 2008 (the “Plan”) has been approved by the Shareholders.  Pursuant to the Plan, you will be receiving a monthly tabulation of your work-in-process and accounts receivable by client and matter.  The tabulation will also indicate the amounts you have collected since the last report.  Please note that in accordance with Article XI E of the Plan, any record of success/failure and cooperation in connection with billing and collection will be taken into account in allocating any returns of capital to Shareholders.

We request that you prepare and send bills to the clients in the amounts stated within one week of such accrual.  Any failure on your part to do so will result in the Dissolution Committee having to take on the task of arranging to have these bills prepared and sent to your clients.

The bills you prepare must conform with the following guidelines:

1.        Each bill must indicate the outstanding balance due;

2.        All billing must be strictly based upon the outstanding amount of work-in-process, provided that: if you determine that the client should pay a premium for the work done, you may prepare a bill in excess of the amount of work-in-process; and provided further that, you will have discretion to write-down the lesser of $1000 or 10% of the work-in-process; and

3.        If there is an existing arrangement with a client not to bill a matter until its completion (or some similar practice), you should prepare a “dummy bill.”  This “dummy bill” will reduce the work-in-process and be forwarded to the client at the time that the matter is completed.  You are required to provide appropriate documentation of any such special arrangement to the Dissolution Committee immediately.

As the Billing Shareholder, you must assume primary responsibility for collecting all accounts receivable for which you are responsible at the Firm that are less than 90 days old.  If you are unwilling to assume such responsibility or appear to be uncooperative or to be acting in bad faith, or in any event, if any accounts receivable more than 90 days old are not paid within thirty (30) days of the date of the letter, the Dissolution Committee will take all actions it deems necessary to collect such accounts receivable from your clients.  For good cause, the Plan provides that the Dissolution Committee in its discretion may permit you to continue to remain responsible for collection of certain accounts receivable that are more than 90 days old but you must advise immediately why there is good cause.

Your inquiries or comments regarding the work-in-process and accounts receivable for which you are responsible in the first instance should be directed to the Manager or the Deputy Manager.  Except as permitted above, you may not writedown work-in-process or write-off accounts receivable without prior written approval of the Dissolution Committee.  You must direct clients to pay their bills immediately unless the Dissolution Committee has otherwise consented in writing.  Such consent may be granted in the following circumstance:

1.          The Firm had entered into a written payment plan with the client prior to the dissolution and you have submitted a copy of this agreement to the Dissolution Committee;

2.          There is a prior existing written agreement between the Firm and the client that provides that the client will not be required to pay until the occurrence of some contingency or the completion of the matter and you have submitted a copy of this agreement to the Dissolution Committee;

3.          The client has filed bankruptcy and you have submitted a copy of the proof of claim that the Firm has previously filed against the client’s bankruptcy estate; and

4.          Other extenuating circumstances which you feel should be approved by the Dissolution Committee.

Unless you request otherwise, and such request is granted by the Dissolution Committee, all unapplied receipts will be applied to outstanding accounts receivable for a particular client on the basis of oldest bill first, applied to disbursements and then to fees.  You must get written approval from the Dissolution Committee and./or the Manager if you do not want the Collection Staff to contact the client directly for payment.

Additionally, enclosed please find a draft letter to your clients with active matters and/or outstanding accounts receivable.  Also enclosed, please find a letter to your new law firm, if applicable, regarding (i) fee splitting arrangements when the final fee is subject to performance of additional work and (ii) accounting for/certification in respect of fee splitting arrangements.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.


The Dissolution Committee

A 10% Collection Rate

In the News Articles section today, I’ve posted a link to Heller Collects Only $8M of $77M from The Recorder.  The reporter, Amanda Royal, who has covered many recent Heller Ehrman developments, reviews the latest Operating Report filed by Heller on February 28, 2009 and makes this observation:

Heller Ehrman has “collected only $8 million of the $77 million owed to it by clients since its bankruptcy filing nearly three months ago . . “

In addition, as I pointed out yesterday, Heller has marked about $12m as doubtful accounts.  Others have said it is very optimistic for Heller to think that they will collect 85% of their accounts receivable and only “write off” 15%.  Some have even said Heller will be lucky to collect 25% of the $77m.

This leads me and others to believe that the idea of there being “plenty of money to go around when all is said and done” is bullshit.  

I also have to wonder why type of “deals” the departing shareholders struck with their clients as they crept off to other firms like Orrick, Cooley, and Covington and Burling.  Did they offer a discount on existing Heller Ehrman billings? A total write-off? Was that part of the “deal” to go to these firms and bring their clients along?

Job Posting: Office Services – New York

POSITION:  New York Office Services

GENERAL PURPOSE:  Providing general office support through a variety of tasks including courier services, copying and scanning of documents, ordering and maintenance of office supplies, front desk coverage and office machine maintenance.  This is a full-time position with a one-hour lunch break and occasional overtime required. 


  • Errands (driving and walking) – including court filings, hand deliveries, lunch pick-up, etc. 
  • Copying and scanning of large volumes of documents
  • Maintain office and kitchen supplies – keeping them organized and placing weekly orders for supplies
  • Keep kitchens and conference rooms clean
    • Make coffee
    • Empty, fill and run dishwasher
    • Clean microwave ovens
    • Clean counters and tables
  • Assist with internal office moves
  • Distribute in-coming mail and deliveries; apply postage to and deliver out-going mail to post office
  • Keep printers, copiers and fax machines filled with paper and toner; clear jams
  • Assist with setting up and moving computer equipment
  • Front Desk Coverage – occasional back-up for receptionist
  • Refill postage meter account
  • Assist with video conferencing and other conference room equipment requirements
  • Work with Helpdesk to troubleshoot office equipment and blackberry service
  • Set-up decorations for holidays
  • Maintain log of incoming and outgoing interoffice mail, UPS, Federal Express and hand-deliveries 


  • Proficient technical skills, in installing computer equipment
  • Ability to operate office machines (printers, copiers, fax machines, postage meter)
  • Ability to operate multi-line switchboard and greet visitors with pleasant demeanor
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Time management and good prioritization skills
  • Ability to work well with others 


  • High school diploma
  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Minimum 2 years of office services experience
  • Experience operating office machines

Contact for more information.

Job Posting: Receptionist – New York


POSITION:  New York Office Receptionist

GENERAL PURPOSE:  Answer multi-line switchboard and greet visitors.  This is a full-time position with a one-hour lunch break and occasional overtime required.


  • Answer telephone, transfer calls, operate overhead paging system
  • Meet and greet visitors
  • Maintain conference room schedule and assist with conference room set-ups
  • Maintain log of incoming and outgoing interoffice mail, UPS, Federal Express and hand-deliveries
  • Maintain log of postage meter reading
  • Order and maintain log of food for meetings
  • Set up conference room for meetings (i.e. food and beverages, white boards, etc.) and clean up
  • Keep reception area tidy
  • Keep kitchens and conference rooms clean
    • Make coffee
    • Empty, fill and run dishwasher
    • Clean microwave ovens
    • Clean counters and tables
  • Assist visiting attorneys with printing, faxing and scanning
  • Schedule transportation (i.e., taxi-cabs, etc.) for attorneys and clients
  • Assist with video conferencing and other conference room equipment requirements
  • Set-up decorations for holidays


  • Ability to operate multi-line switchboard and greet visitors with pleasant demeanor
  • Professional appearance
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Time management and good prioritization skills
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Good computer skills 


  • High school diploma
  • Minimum 2 years of receptionist experience
  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Experience with multi-line switchboard

Contact for more information.

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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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.