Posts Tagged 'termination'

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.

Today’s Terminations

I know that this is the last day for many people given the round of emails sent out yesterday.  We are hearing talk from several people that they have been requested to “sign papers.”  As far as we can tell, those terminated on October 10th were not asked to “sign papers.”

Please take the time to read each and every line of those papers, despite the summary that HR may give you.  Ask for a copy of the papers if possible and barring that, please email your cruise director at a summary or description of what you are being asked to sign.  And let us know what the recourse is if you don’t sign.

Do not be bullied into signing papers in order to get a final paycheck, or threats to take away your 401k, etc.  It is very clear what Heller can and cannot do, despite what they tell you, what they say the banks are telling them, and what they have done in the past.

This is going to be a tough day with lots of emotions.  Forcing people to sign papers under duress will only exacerbate the situation.  Let’s all try to keep level heads about this, figure out is being signed and then ask if you can take some time to think about it.

Over and out.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director

A Parting Shot From Seattle

TO:  All left aboard the ship

FROM:  Bill Maer

Before everyone is gone, I wanted to send out my own farewell email message. There is no way to put a good face on what is happening here.  I do not know how it happened, but my guess is a few arrogant and none-too-bright shareholders in San Francisco — people who, for most of their careers with Heller Ehrman, treated everyone who was not part of their inner circle as “the help” — managed to sink the ship.  Now, as they abandon ship for their next million dollar jobs, they are sending out their fond and often trite farewells, when they should be sending out apologies to all of you.  With each one of those messages, I grow more angry.  It does not help much, but I know that every person in this office is a better human being than the best of those who led this Firm to failure.

More Terminations

This just in:

From: Dissolution Committee 
To: Dissolution Committee 
Sent: Thu Oct 16 08:23:43 2008
Subject: Important Message from the Dissolution Committee (DC)

It is with a great deal of regret that we write to inform you that we will not be able to pay you for work performed after tomorrow, Friday, October 17, and, as a result, that your employment with the firm will be terminated on that day.  We do expect that we will be able to continue to pay some people for a longer period of time.

Because of the volume of final paychecks we will need to prepare, it may take a few days to get your final paycheck to you.  We know this is important to you but please be assured your colleagues in the Payroll Department will be working as hard and as quickly as they can to get you your paycheck.  Paralegals, secretaries and other non-exempt employees should promptly submit their timesheets so that they can be paid for any overtime.  The final paycheck will be mailed to your home.

These actions have been forced upon us by the banks that control our ability to make any payments.  We understand how upsetting this news is. You should continue your activities to serve clients, including, where applicable, to bill your time.  Time billing and client service are two of the criteria the banks are examining in our continuing negotiations with them to maintain an orderly transition.

We have now posted on the external Heller Ehrman website ( the Career Placement Opportunities listing of job openings and contacts.  We encourage you to check the postings frequently and to provide any new opportunities that you hear of to Wendy Kwan in Human Resources (

Your health insurance will remain in effect through October 31.  The firm is devoting intense effort to negotiate a continuation of benefits, including COBRA coverage, and we will keep former employees informed by postings on the firm’s internet site.  Alternative individual health coverage arrangements have been described in the Benefits Frequently Asked Questions on the intranet  that document will also be posted to the firm’s external internet site.

We want to thank you for your professionalism and forbearance to date and ask you to continue to proceed with the same degree of professionalism you have demonstrated during your valuable service to the firm and to its clients.

The Dissolution Committee

What Terminated Employees Can Do

In reference to the emails being sent out, keep in mind that “regrets mean sh*t.”  

Important stuff here – please read this carefully:

– ask the status of your medical benefits and COBRA, whether your last paycheck will include accrued vacation, the week of wages Heller holds back (today’s paystub should say that it pays for work performed through October 3rd), balance of WARN severance, etc.  Make them tell you verbally or get it in writing.  If it is uncomfortable for them to give you this information, remind them of how uncomfortable it is to receive it.

– keep in mind that this is a Dissolution Committee decision, the news of which is being delivered by your supervisor or other staff.  They are people, they have feelings.  Express your displeasure, your outrage, your disgust but make sure it is directed towards the Dissolution Committee and not them personally.  And remind them that there is no guarantee that they’ll be paid for staying aboard the S.S. Heller Ehrman after we all have left.  

– make sure you have copies of any email, memo, letter etc. that mentions the WARN Act, the email concerning accrued vacation, your termination etc.  You will need these for filing unemployment, wage claims, etc.

– make sure you backup your email, contacts, files etc. and make arrangements to take all pertinent info with you or upload it to a file storage site.  See

– be prepared to file an unemployment claim either online or in person on Monday.  See

– consider filing a wage claim for your balance of pay, accrued vacation, etc.  Remember to list sharholders individually.  Email for a current list of shareholders as of today.  See and and

– make sure you are in LinkedIn (there is a Heller Ehrman LLP Alumni group: and/or send your non-Heller email address to so you can be updated on the progress of various strategies.

– there is now a Facebook group for Heller Ehrman alumni – sign up here

– if Heller Ehrman LLP files for bankruptcy be assured that the employees will be ready as a class to be part of the process every step of the way and make sure they get what they have worked hard for.

Over and out

Heller Drone
Cruise Director

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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Last Modified: September 14, 2008

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