Posts Tagged 'abandon ship'

When Did The S.S. Heller Start Sinking?

According to a new article in The Recorder this morning, the matter of when exactly the S.S. Heller started sinking is up for debate.

Read it here: Heller Leaders Saw Failure Looming, Documents Show

Why Is Heller Opposing Class Certification?

You may remember that the former employees of another esteemed law firm which imploded last fall – Thelen Reid – were able to have Thelen’s counsel, Latham & Watkins, stipulate to class certification.  

And while the counsel for the Thelen group is the same counsel which our class action group is using – Blum Collins – it appears as if Heller’s employment counsel, Manatt Phelps would rather fight such class certification.

This approach makes no sense at all unless the intent of John Fox, Manatt’s lead attorney on this matter, is to rack up lots of billable hours and soak money out of the estate’s pool of meager assets.  By opposing class certification, Heller is stating clearly that they don’t believe in paying their former employees what they earned while they worked for the firm.

In fact, Heller Drone has learned that during discussions as to class certification and the merit of the claims of the ex-Heller employees, the following concept was pushed: ex-Hellerites had so much accrued vacation because they loved working at the firm so much and never had a chance to use it.

Once you stop laughing at the asburdity of such an idea, wait a minute while humor turns to anger, as it should.  You should be angry that Heller feels a sense of entitlement in not paying wages that you as an ex-employee earned.  I could see them opposing the WARN Act penalties and some of the other items discussed on this blog.  

To want to fight in court over the basic principle of recognizing that there is a class of ex-employees that were thrown overboard from the S.S. Heller while shareholders scrambled for their lifeboats is not funny.  It is shameful.

From our Director of Communication, Marcel Marceau . . .

“To: All-Hands 

I am profoundly sorry that I have not been in direct communication with you recently. We realize that there has been a lot of news coverage about our firm, and it is wrong to have that be your source of information. We have been focused on urgent and significant issues that are facing the firm and carefully considering our options. We also have been focused on trying to get answers to the many questions that we know need to be addressed.

While that may explain some of the private meetings and small-group discussions that have been held recently, we know that there has been a lengthy gap in communication that needs to be filled as soon as possible.

To that end, we are planning to hold meetings with everyone before the end of this week via video conference and/or local, in-person discussions. You will receive an invitation to participate as soon as we can finish gathering important information we know you seek.

Again, I apologize for not communicating with you sooner. We realize the anxiety that you are feeling and we are doing everything we can to find answers to your questions.


My Heart Will Go On

Ever have one of those days where the news outside The Firm is just as bad if not worse than what little info you can gather inside The Firm? I’m talking about the recent problems on Wall Street, not on Montgomery Street.

The problems on Montgomery Street barely rate a blip on the newswires, locally or nationally, but by the end of the month, the end of Q3, I’m sure the Chronicle or the Trib will pick it up. It has been called the Lehmanization of Heller Ehrman.

Right now is not the time to play “shoulda, coulda, woulda.” There will be plenty of time during the post-mortem of the bloated corpse that was Heller Ehrman to play CSI, point fingers, assign blame and walk away in a huff. Right now is the time when professional support staff who have tried to believe the line of bullsh*t fed to them by management need to gather together, pull down the life boats, make sure everyone is safe, and get the hell out while the deck is still at an angle, and not vertical.

In this past decade, we’ve all learned that when the man on the intercom says, “Everything is fine. Stay where you are. There is no danger,” that you haul ass and get the hell out or at least make plans for when you feel comfortable leaving. That time is now.

We all know that over the next few days management will make attempts to seem concerned, watchful and caring – all in line with their much touted “respect and dignity” policy. But as with any disaster, being pro-active, being positive, and helping each other is the way to survive. As the shareholders, at least those that are left, are pulling out their dry and golden life preservers, we’ll do what many of us have done in the past (remember Brobeck?):

– stay focused
– be creative
– help each other out
– encourage
– celebrate successes
– briefly note defeats
– and do what our leaders failed to do:

lead and communicate!

So there it is and have at it. Please review the Terms of Service for the code of conduct during a disaster. This is not a drill. I repeat: this is not a drill.

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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This blog has been created by Thomas MacEntee.

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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.