Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reports: Heller will vote to dissolve tomorrow

Boy, I'd like to be a fly on that wall. The reports are here and here. Employees, including associates, will receive 60 days severance (WARN Act and all that) and will be expected to participate in the winding up of the firm (read: keep a phone, office and PC and brush up the resume).

Coudert, now Heller...great firms going by the wayside. As Law.com reminds us:

As recently as 2004, Heller ranked second on The American Lawyer's A-list, a ranking of firms based on a variety of factors such as profitability, pro bono representation, associate satisfaction and diversity ratings.
But I guess the watchword is "What have you done for me lately?" The cause of the demise?

A tough economic climate coupled with declining revenues and several litigation cases settled in a short period last year has put Heller Ehrman in a difficult spot. Profits per partner, a traditional measure of a law firm’s success, fell by 3 percent in 2007 to $1 million. The firm’s revenue per lawyer fell by 5 percent, to $805,000.
Of course you want to say, "People jumped ship because of a measly 3% dip?" That would make for a great greed story, but it is more complex than that. But it also goes to show you that even at the best of shops as an employee, you could be just a short period from...well...the dole. Food for thought.

I'm sure you'll see more updates at Heller Highwater. As for me, back to dirt.

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