Posts Tagged 'WTF?'

Heller Ehrman Estate Sues Greenberg Traurig

Check out today’s article in The Recorder entitled Heller Estate Files Malpractice Suit Against Greenberg Traurig.

The Heller estate is seeking to recover monies on several levels including the litigation costs in defending itself against the employee lawsuit relate to the WARN Act.

As far as I’m concerned, Greenberg Traurig should be footing the bill for all the WARN Act costs and penalties because if it wasn’t for their role in creating this massive fuster cluck, then at the very least Heller could have wound down its business operations in a more sensible manner. One that at the very least respected its employees, especially its hard working staff.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Heller Ehrman Art Up For Sale at Bonham’s

A faithful reader and ex-Heller employee from San Diego (who is still without employment!), alerted us to the next sale of artwork from Heller Ehrman LLP taking place at Bonham’s in San Francisco on 8 February 2010.

Here is a link to the catalog with all 340 lots and while looking through the works I was able to remember some of my favorites from the San Francisco office.  I also see several Dale Chihuly works which, I assume, were in the Heller Seattle office.

Some works just are begging to be bought and I am seriously thinking that either a visit to San Francisco is in order (I have a thing for paddles – auction paddles that is!) or I might sign up to bid over the phone.

And other works just seem to describe what transpired at Heller, don’t they?

Dogma, 1999
Brian Burke (Canadian, born 1952)

“Ha ha ha! And you should have seen the employees’ reaction when we just shut that mother down!”

Natural Ziggurat, 2004
Yvonne Domenge (Mexican, born 1946)

“The proverbial Heller screw”

Lover of Time, 2000
Stephanie Frostad (American, born 1965)

“Hmmmmm, I wonder what the little people from Heller are doing today . . .”

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Ex-Heller SF Get Together – Was Larrabee There?

A group of almost 100 ex-Hellerites met up at the Hyatt Regency (Embarcadero) in San Francisco on Wednesday night and I am only getting information in dribs and drabs right now.

First, if there are photos and you’d like them placed here on Heller Highwater then email me at  

Second, several people stated that Matt Larrabee actually had the chutzpah to show up.  Yes, granted, he is an ex-Hellerite like the rest of us but considering the fact that he was one of the major players in this tragedy you’d think he’d have the sense to stay away.

If this is the case, I would like to hear about any encounters, discussions, words traded with Mr. Larrabee and whether anyone actually confronted him on his actions and the actions of the rest of the Dissolution Committee.  I think followers of Heller Highwater would like to know as well.

Is Larrabee turning out to be our very own Blagojevich?  Does he just not get it like the rest of the D.C.? Or does he just think that the rules of common decency that apply to the rest of us mere mortals, just don’t apply to him?

A New Trend: Rearranging Deck Chairs?

This week, Reed Smith LLP announced a massive 115 person layoff – on the heels of hiring a group of almost 20 Thelen LLP attorneys over the past few weeks.  Given this news, and the recent decision in October by Orrick to layoff 40 attorneys after having taken on 27 Heller attorneys, you begin to ponder: is this the new way for BigLaw to adjust its staffing resources?

Instead of pursuing an outright merger with another firm – and we all know how well that strategy was for Heller and Thelen – the prospective merger partners simply play a waiting game.  And then when the time is right they court a specific group or groups of attorneys to join their firm.  And then ditch some of their current staff – attorney and non-attorney – as part of this process.

Some might say that these firms are simply “rightsizing” and making necessary adjustments to staffing levels given the recent economic times.  Others have said this trend is the “coward’s way out.”

Either way, I bet the recently laid off staff at Reed Smith and Orrick received some type of package, or at the very least their accrued vacation and back wages to which they were entitled.

If you are a recently laid off employee from Reed Smith, Orrick or any BigLaw firm – first, we say welcome.  And second, you are in good company here.  Take a look around and read through the job postings and other posts which might help you during these rough times.

If you are a BigLaw administrator or part of a firm’s management committee, consider the message you are sending while you rearrange your deck chairs.  Mother always said “dance with the one that brung ya.”  At the very least firms like Reed Smith and Orrick have a duty to make every effort to adjust within prior to bringing in new deck chairs from outside, ya think?  Have these firms cut every cost, examined every expense (especially any $300k closing skits or performances as part of annual partner retreats – just sayin’) and made every effort to shift attorneys and staff to other areas where possible?

Or is it more a matter of just finding a prettier dance partner – one who knows all the latest dances – and discarding the loyal ones who were with you through thick and thin times?  What does it say about you as a firm?  And why would BigLaw staffers not consider just setting themselves up as consultants – itinerant legal services workers – since there seems to be no sense of loyalty or job security left?

Over and out.  And as always your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Heller Drone
Cruise Director 

(Oh yeah – and don’t certain terms like “rightsizing” just piss you off?)

Fiddling While Rome Burns

If you haven’t seen the Why Heller Didn’t Survive article in the recent issue of The American Lawyer, then take a look at this quote:

“When Heller Ehrman partners gathered at Santa Barbara’s Bacara Resort & Spa in March 2007, there was already reason to be concerned about the firm’s future. Several practice areas were slow. The firm’s national and global ambitions were in disarray. And partners were increasingly skeptical about management’s ability to address the problems. But that weekend they were determined to laugh at this somewhat worrisome predicament.

The final night of the retreat featured a $300,000 skit. Performers from the Los Angeles Opera, accompanied by a professional orchestra, portrayed Chairman Matthew Larrabee and other firm leaders frantically searching for a merger partner. “Some people were laughing, but I thought it was surreal,” says one former shareholder (Heller’s term for partner).”

and once you have picked up your bottom jaw or your entire self off the floor, tell me:

– can anyone confirm said skit and said price tag?

– can anyone give a synopsis?  Not a review – this is not the theater section of the New York Times

– does anyone have a video?  Oh how I’d love to post it here on HH.

And can someone tell me why this makes the AIG Retreat look like a working lunch?

Over and out of my mind

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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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.