10 Law Firms That Are Loving The Financial Crisis



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What’s bad for some is great for others.

Though the economy has been tough on law firms, as evidenced by record lay-offs and lacking profits, it has not been all doom and gloom for firms.

When things go bad, the lawyers are called in.  And sometimes, seeing an opportunity to represent hundreds of shareholders against the huge banks/agencies/bankrupt companies that did them wrong, they call themselves in.

The benefits to firms may come in the form of good old-fashioned billable hours or in prestige or with the opportunity to change the law for a long-standing client.

But whatever the benefits or the case, the economic crisis has brought a storm of good fortune for these rainmaking firms.

Click Here For 10 Firms That Are Loving The Financial Crisis*>>>
*The list isn’t all-inclusive, and we’d love to hear arguments for those we left off.

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permalink=”weil-gotshal-1″
title=”Weil Gotshal”
content=”Weil Gotshal is known for its bankruptcy practice,and superstar partner Harvey Miller; an hour of Miller’s time costs around $950 per hour. They’ve taken the lead in the Lehman bankruptcy (they surpassed $100 million billed in August) and GM (up to $55 million in June, and still counting).

Miller said that, due to the complexities of the GM bankruptcy, he expects those fees to exceed Lehman’s.”
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[slide
permalink=”bernstein-litowitz-gerger-and-grossman-2″
title=”Bernstein Litowitz Gerger & Grossman”
content=”Berstein Litowitz is a plaintiffs’ firm that focuses on securities litigation — and nothing drums up securities lawsuits like a financial crisis.

Berstein has filed lawsuits against Washington Mutual and Bank of America and is also pursuing claims involving mortgage pass-through certificates of Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.

The firm kicked off its crisis-related lawsuits before the crisis had even begun in earnest; they filed the first subprime mortgage-related class action suit against AIG in May 2008.”
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permalink=”sullivan-and-cromwell-3″
title=”Sullivan & Cromwell”
content=”If there is a famous corporate lawyer in New York, it is Sullivan & Cromwell’s Rodge Cohen.

Cohen has been a big shot for years, but Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail and a lengthy profile in The New York Times told millions how Cohen and S&C have advised just about everyone involved with the crisis. (“Every time I looked up, it seemed like Rodge was in the room,” Hank Paulson said.)

And the advice came with impressive fee rates, of course. It was recently reported that the firm was named as special counsel to CIT so it could continue advising the company while ensuring its fees (Cohen was approved at $965 per hour) would be paid.”
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[slide
permalink=”kaplan-fox-4″
title=”Kaplan Fox”
content=”Kaplan Fox is another plaintffs’ firm that did not hesitate to search for clients when the economy crashed. A quick peak at the biography of Frederic Fox proves they did not have any trouble finding some.

Fox represented clients in a subprime mortgage-related securities suit against Merrill that recently settled in January for $475 million. He’s also acting as lead counsel in the major securities class action against Bank of America and represents institutional clients in additional securities cases pending against Fannie Mae and Credit Suisse, among others.”
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[slide
permalink=”baker-hostetler-5″
title=”Baker Hostetler”
content=”Any story about Bernie Madoff usually mentions Irving Picard, the trustee charged by the court with recovering money for Madoff victims. He’s filed suits against Madoff feeder funds, Madoff ‘victims’ he believes were complicit and Madoff family members.

Picard’s firm, Baker Hostetler, had more than $14 million of its fees approved by the bankruptcy court in August; they submitted a bill for another $22 million in November. Picard has so far recovered $1.4 billion in assets for the victims.”
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[slide
permalink=”boies-schiller-6″
title=”Boies Schiller”
content=”If there is cutting edge and aggressive legal work to be done, David Boies and Boies Schiller are usually in the mix. In September, Boies announced it was suing Bear Stearns on behalf of shareholders who argue they were fraudulently induced to retain shares.

The firm is on the defensive side of the table in the litigation filed by Lehman against Barclays over Barclays’ September 2008 purchase of Lehman’s North American operations.

Pictured is Boies with Hank Greenberg; he represented Greenberg in his years-long lawsuit against AIG, which settled shortly before Thanksgiving. As part of the settlement, Greenberg and his co-plaintiff Howard Smith will get as much as $150 million in legal fees. Smith was represented by attorneys at Winston & Strawn.”
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[slide
permalink=”susman-godfrey-7″
title=”Susman Godfrey”
content=”By late March 2009, the impact of the financial crisis became obvious to Susman Godfrey co-founder and plaintiffs’ bar legend Steve Susman. He had tried three cases in a month, in part, he said, because no one had any money to settle.

His firm jumped on the crisis-litigation train early. Like many firms, it had already established a ‘Meltdown Task Force,’ but in December it converted it to the ‘Madoff Task Force,’ and has since filed suit against alleged Madoff feeder Ezra Merkin on behalf of real estate and media scion Mort Zuckerman. Susman’s son, Harry, has taken the reins in that litigation, as well as the firm’s part in the Bank of America securities litigation.

Susman has a hand in the auto bankruptcies as well. He represents the unsecured creditors’ committee for Chrysler that is suing former parent Daimler for allegedly taking billions from Chrysler.”
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[slide
permalink=”cleary-gottlieb-8″
title=”Cleary Gottlieb”
content=”Cleary Gottlieb has a reputation as being the go-to firm if you happen to be a country in need of an attorney. It has not backed away, of course, from that global practice in this global crisis — its website features resources for dealing with the financial crisis by specific region.

But Cleary’s litigators have been making the financial crisis news as well. Most specifically through their defence of Bank of America in the very high profile lawsuit filed by the SEC. And its dealmaking group seems to have got a little work from the litigators’ relationship, as the firm is taking the lead counsel position in BofA’s negotiations to pay back its TARP funds.

Cleary also added prosecutorial teeth to its practice when it hired Lev Dassin to its ranks last month. Dassin was the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York during the Madoff trial.”
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[slide
permalink=”cahill-gordon-9″
title=”Cahill Gordon”
content=”Credit agencies have been the target of a long string of lawsuits claiming they fed the housing slump and credit market by giving inaccurately high ratings to securities that later collapsed.

But those lawsuits have given First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, a senior partner at Cahill Gordon, the opportunity to make a somewhat novel argument on behalf of Standard & Poor’s. Abrams has long represented McGraw-Hill, which owns S&P.

Abrams argues that S&P should enjoy the same type of free speech rights as journalists, saying that the ratings are kin to an editorial. In other words, the agencies are basically making an educated guess.

(His participation in the suit was a surprise to many who think of him only as the renowned defender of free speech — but, he told The New York Times, he doesn’t ‘spend [his] life simply working for the A.C.L.U.’)

One court refused to throw out one of the cases despite the First Amendment grounds in September, but the arguments continue.

In late September, Abrams brought his arguments on S&P’s behalf to Congress (pdf).”
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permalink=”simpson-thacher-10″
title=”Simpson Thacher”
content=”In October 2008, Simpson Thacher was tapped by the U.S. Treasury to be the lead advisor on the TARP.

Simpson’s work for the government continued as the government invested billions more in BofA and Citigroup, and as the TARP became the Capital Assistance Program.

The government’s initial contract with Simpson was for only $300,000, well below the firm’s usual rates, but one cannot discount the added prestige to the already very prestigious firm. And of course, it can now say it advised the government during one of the most trying economic times in history.

In October, Lee Myerson, the head of the firm’s financial institutions practice, shared a few of his thoughts about the crisis with The New York Times DealBook, namely: ‘The Next Global Crisis Won’t Look Like The Last.’

But when the next crisis happens, we feel certain law firms will be around to sue, defend, regroup and restructure, all while being handsomely compensated, of course.”
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