Archive for September, 2009

Job Posting: Practice Support Mgr – San Francisco

Hanson Bridgett LLP, a major Bay Area law firm, seeks a Practice Support Manager.  The Practice Support Manager is responsible for consulting with attorneys and paralegals regarding electronic discovery projects, case management processes and budgeting.  On a daily basis, responsibilities will include litigation case project management, administering Concordance, managing vendors and vendor relationships, administering LiveNote and training attorneys and paralegals in best practices.  The Practice Support Manager will lead the Electronic Discovery Task Force and be responsible for executing the task force’s practices and plans.   The Practice Support Manager will oversee and manage Practice Support Specialists.  The Practice Support Manager has a yearly billable requirement.  The ideal candidate should have experience working in a mid- to large-sized law firm.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Excellent project management and writing skills
  • Management experience
  • Strong familiarity with a Concordance, Concordance FYI, SharePoint, LiveNote, Trial Director, FileSite and MS Access
  • Experience with in-house data processing preferably with LAW Pre-discovery
  • Experience training attorneys
  • Comfort with client interaction and public speaking
  • Flexibility and creativity

The friendly atmosphere and mutual respect that Hanson Bridgett attorneys enjoy is just as evident among the firm’s support staff.  This congenial and mutually supportive environment allows all firm employees to meet the highest standards in the practice of law.  Candidates for this position should be excellent communicators and dedicated to client service.  College Degree preferred or applicants with appropriate work experience.
The Practice Support Manager reports to the Director of Information Technology.

We offer a competitive salary and benefits package and are an EEO employer. Please email resume with cover letter and salary requirements to Director of Information Technology and reference job code IT02 in the subject line. Visit our website


Your Thoughts, Prayers and Support Are Needed

I wanted to update Heller Highwater readers on some recent news involving a former Heller Ehrman San Francisco staff member:

Schelle Simcox was a reference librarian at Heller’s San Francisco office a little over five years ago. Schelle left to become the SF librarian at Paul Hastings and she  gave birth to a son Lukas in 2008.

Schelle has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and is going through her first round of chemo.

You can send messages of support and follow her treatment at (This is a free site for posting treatment or other news to friends and loved ones.)

Schelle says that the caring of so many people is giving her wonderful support so let’s keep it up!

A Low-Ball Settlement Offer

I’ve received several e-mails from ex-Hellerites concerning a settlement offer made by the employment lawyer for Heller Ehrman LLP (John C. Fox of Manatt).

Blum Collins – the firm representing the class action lawsuit group – has been in contact with its clients in the form of two letters:

  • the settlement offer letter from John C. Fox dated August 27, 2009; and
  • a summary and recommendation letter from Craig M. Collins of Blum Collins dated September 4, 2009

For those ex-Heller Ehrman employees who have not yet signed up with Blum Collins as part of the class action lawsuit, I wanted to convey some of the information as to the settlement and why acceptance of such settlement is not recommended:

  • The offer is too low.  The Heller Ehrman LLP offer is less than 25% of the $23.4 million in claims owed to its former employees.
  • Heller Ehrman LLP has the ability to pay much more than the offered amount.  Besides having over $10 million in its bank accounts right now, according to the Unsecured Creditors Committee, there was a fraudulent conveyance of $106 million to Heller’s former shareholders prior to the firm’s collapse.  This money should be returned to the estate to take care of claims and bills.  And the $50 million which Bank of America took out of the firm despite not having a perfected security interest should also be returned to the estate.  Former clients of the firm still owe it over $50 million.  This is over $206 million total and yet we’ve being offered pennies on the dollar for our claims.
  • The former shareholders are looking out for themselves.  The settlement offer has been designed by the Dissolution Committee to protect the shareholders from having to return any of the $106 million mentioned above.  Instead of taking responsibility in paying former employees their hard-earned wages and benefits, the shareholders, by way of the Dissolution Committee, engage in bankruptcy maneuvers and delaying tactics to get out of such responsibility.
  • Taking advantage of desperation.  The Dissolution Committee is confident that there are enough former Heller employees who will be desperate to take any amount of money as a settlement no matter how insulting the amount.
  • Threats are part of the settlement offer.  It has been made clear by Heller Ehrman LLP that if the current offer is not accepted, they will use various banruptcy maneuvers, including a plan of reorganization, to try to force the ex-Heller employees to accept the low ball amount to settle the claims.
  • The Unsecured Creditors Committee is no friend of ex-Heller employees.  Despite our various attempts to secure a representative set on the committee, we still have no voice.  The Unsecured Creditors Committee has still not offered an explanation as to why it has not sued the former shareholders to recover the $106 million in alleged fraudulent transfers.  Any attempt for information has been blocked by the committee’s attorney and the committee seems to operate under an unhealthy cloak of secrecy. In addition, the committee has not offered an explanation for the delay in collecting the remaining over $50 million in accounts receivable owed to the firm.

What You Can Do

Not only is Heller Ehrman LLP’s low-ball settlement offer unreasonable and unacceptable, it is an insult as it incorporates desperate divide-and-conquer tactics used with its former loyal employees.

  • E-mail me at if you are a former Heller employee and would like to see a copy of the settlement offer and the Blum Collins response.
  • Go to and sign up for the email list to receive future communications on the settlement offer and upcoming maneuvers by the Unsecured Creditors Committee.

* * *

The former shareholders cannot be allowed to avoid their responsibilities to its former employees by way of inadequate settlement offers and bankruptcy maneuvers.  There must be a much fairer resolution for all ex-employees.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Heller SF/SV Get-Together – October 9, 2009

Announcing a get-together for all San Francisco/Silicon Valley ex-Heller employees:

Friday, October 9, 2009
5:00 pm – ?
Chevy’s Embarcadero – 2 Embarcadero
San Francisco

As an added bonus, yours truly- Heller Drone – will be in attendance!

I hope to see you there!

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Don’t Drop The Soap

Some readers in the past have pointed out how the Republic Windows and Doors case (where employees were suddenly let go around Thanksgiving 2008) has many similarities to our situation here with Heller Ehrman.

One update on the Republic case is the fact that the CEO of the company has been charged in a plot to loot the company and move assets.

I wonder if other inept management teams of former firms and companies should be worried?  Especially given recent accusations of funny accounting.

Bankruptcy Mediation Talks Set

According to a post at LegalPad, Judge Montali has scheduled a series of mediation talks between the Heller Ehrman shareholders and the creditors.

Read more here.

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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