Monday, February 7, 2011

Associate News Update


The information should be coming in fast and furious this week.  If you have information that you would like to contribute about the associate phone call scheduled for today (or anything else), please feel free to comment below.  If you think it makes sense to start a separate conversational thread, let me know and I'll start a new post.

All information can be posted completely anonymously.

Good luck to everyone,
Howrey Doody

47 comments:

  1. Anyone have any details?

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  2. Yeah any details?

    I'm an incoming (sinking?) first year and willing to bet 12:25 is one too.

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  3. First year: if you were hired by Howrey, you'll float. It's up to you how far you sink before you bob back to the surface.

    There's many non-first years who are very interested in this. Thousands of people who have been connected to Howrey through the years.

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  4. Point taken. We're not on the massive associate call, which is why I was guessing. Best wishes to everyone of course.

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  5. What time is the call supposed to be? Has it gone on yet?

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  6. I think it's supposed to be at 4pm EST.

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  7. It's over, nothing happened. Move along.

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  8. I think it's supposed to be at 5pm EST.

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  9. 4:20 "It's over, nothing happened. Move along."

    What is that supposed to mean?

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  10. I think it means the call is at 5:35 EST?

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  11. The call was at 12N ET. Nothing happened.

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  12. "Nothting Happened" very ambiguous.
    What guidance was given, if any? Associates in holding pattern?

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  13. I think what this means is Ruyak and his peers had their customary argle bargle baffle bullshit that served them brilliantly in the last decade. However, reading between the lines, associates are fucked. Is that clear enough?!

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  14. Summary :

    1. Press and Blogs inaccurate, don't pay attention to them.

    2. Conflicts between Howrey and WS are being resolved.

    3. Associate offers will follow that.

    4. Staff offers will follow them.

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  15. Did someone very high up in the antitrust group take part in the call?

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  16. If you want to know what happens in the meetings you should attend them.

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  17. Re 5:20,

    People were told not to believe press/blogs before - right before layoffs. Also, check out the statement in www.thelawyer.com from Jan. 10 about how over 60 partners leaving was part of a restructuring. I haven't worked there in a while, but am wondering whether anyone actually believes what they are being told.

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  18. I would be interested to know who spoke to the troops. It would be a good sign if partners who have business said that they're on board with the Winston plan. Just getting through the weekend without major defections has to be considered some kind of victory.

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  19. People are taking things with a grain of salt, keeping their options open and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst. These are some good people, associates and staff who don't deserve this. I know one guy on staff who is freaking that he won't be able to pay his rent next month. So please, enough with the "I can't wait to see Howrey go down in flames" posts. It's really depressing to read that stuff. Have a heart.

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  20. Lawyers have heart? Ruyak does not have one.

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  21. There are lots of good people there, but I don't read any of the comments as directed at them. I think the overwhelming percentage of the frustration/anger has been directed at the people who have been making the decisions.

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  22. Then you aren't reading all the comments.

    >I can't think of a firm that deserves it more. >You guys have really made my day.

    I'm glad my misery is making your day.

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  23. At 7:08 -- I agree. A lot of folks on this blog need to put themselves in other people's shoes. Life is short and what goes around, comes around. Enough with the nasty, petty comments.

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  24. I think when most people are referring to "Howrey" or "you guys" or "the firm," they are clearly referring to its leadership rather than the fine and talented people who have worked there over the years and continue to do so.

    If 7:08 and 7:20 still work at Howrey, I wish you nothing but the best of luck. People will know you came from a quality firm, and your potential new employer will also not confuse you with a senior member of the firm responsible for this mess that is affecting so many good people. Howrey alums tend to do pretty well.

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  25. >Howrey alums tend to do pretty well.

    Yeah, I'll do fine. The partners will be fine. I'm worried about the paralegals, even more so the docketing, records, office services and IT people. They may not do so good. That's who I'm worried about.

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  26. I agree with you 8:47. Fortunately, in my experience, virtually all voluntary and involuntary Howrey alums tend to land on their feet sooner rather than later. The pain at the beginning sucks, though.

    (I hate to sound like a lame-o outplacement counselor.)

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  27. What about non-discretionary bonuses? Has anyone with an hours-based bonus heard anything? My understanding is you must be employed by the firm at the time of payout, and if I had one coming I would be sweating it big-time.

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  28. Bonuses? What are those? The firm folded bonuses into comp, which meant that, in effect, your bonus would come in monthly installments. So, if you left the firm in April, you would be leaving 2/3 of your bonus on the table. Another innovation.

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  29. Hey, remember last year when they laid off all those people and then said no more layoffs? And then they had more layoffs like, three weeks later?

    Yeah.

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  30. Howrey said "press/blogs are wrong"

    As for associate/staff offers, in some offices (OC for example), that's highly unlikely as all the associates/staff who could leave (those linked to departing partners) have already left. Then again, these same offices (along w/others) were told "la la la, all's ok" before the first round (and 2nd round) of layoffs.

    CA offices are all being told they're closing, so why drag out the already dead horse + beat it to a pulp? Certain offices are practically vacant, so why would W&S assume any remaining staff/associates there? W&S has no need to take on all of the bad leases Howrey has in CA.

    Howrey's dragging this out so instead of paying 4 mos. or so of severance like they did w/the last layoffs, they can pay nothing while screwing people out of their PTO.

    If you haven't already contacted recruiters (including temp agencies), now's definitely the time to do so.

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  31. @11:04: but does CA closing mean that DC closes too? Basically, you're saying that DC is closing but the management called a meeting to say that it wasn't. Weird.

    Does anyone know whether and when the Winston offers/acceptances will become public?

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  32. @11:04 p.m. You said "CA offices are all being told they're closing ... ." Where did you get your information? It's not true.

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  33. If history holds true, most of the people going to Winston will immediately be laid-off via the patented Winston Zombie Trick. It's awesome - you're going to totally dig it: it's like a slow agonizing death by starvation, but you aren't allowed to die... instead, they finally inform you that you've been laid-off for the last 5 months but no one bothered to tell you.

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  34. 9:36pm: wrong about bonuses.
    5:18pm: wrong about associates being fucked.

    Why are there so many ignoramuses on here just making stuff up? Got a lot of work to keep you busy, eh?

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  35. @6:59...

    Why are so many people here?

    Maybe because they're worried/scared about their jobs, and aren't getting any answers?

    And watching partners jump ship, while being told "don't worry, there's plenty of room on the lifeboats on the other side" doesn't typically work out all that well....

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  36. @8:06. While your point is well-taken, and there are many concerned people, I do not believe those are the people 6:59 is referring to. According to the page view counter, there are nearly 37K visitors, and I cannot believe that Howrey people account for all of these. I imagine there are quite a few law school / law firm trolls on this site commenting about things they have nothing to do with.

    This is a horrible situation, and while blame can be placed on some, that does not diminish the difficult situation.

    Best of luck, everyone.

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  37. Ruh Roh Shaggy!
    http://www.wilmerhale.com/about/news/newsDetail.aspx?news=2501&leftnav=no

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  38. @Matt Wolf (8:06).

    I used to be at Howrey and I'm deeply indebted to a lot of the people there. I left the firm to enter public interest, not because I had anything against the the people.

    However.

    This is precisely what management told all of the associates before they were axed over the last few rounds of layoffs. And looking around and pretending that you always intended to get rid of folks like Bunsow and Rooklidge, that it's not a big deal to have an entire continent's expansion fall off, or that it was always the great "plan" to shed 1/3rd of the attorneys in two-years and then have 3/4 of what remains join Winston lacks credibility.

    But I want to be wrong about this. It would be terrific if the vast majority of the associates currently at Howrey are happy Winston associates 18 months from now. It would be good if you had money to pay associates bonuses (although I thought you guys did away with that after I left), and it would be even better if you took care of staff somehow.

    @8:38, I imagine the 37k is the number of hits, rather than the number of visitors, so it's tough to know how many people are coming here. I suspect, as well, that there are a number of people like me who come here because they're concerned about their friends and curious about their former employer.

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  39. I hate to sound like Managemment, but the best thing the Howrey lawyers can do right now is make sure you get the clients serviced as clients are our only security in this world. I feel sorry that many staff will lose their jobs, but the best way we can take care of them now is to make sure enough money comes into the firm to pay them during the severance period. Cynics may say that revenue will only go to the partners, but I think it is fairly safe that the partners will not get another dime until the firm liabilities are taken care of--and that means liabilities to the staff and non-partner lawyers.

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  40. I'm supposed to join here in the Fall, and I am truly sorry for what's happening at this firm. I met lots of wonderful people during my summer. I wish everyone the best of luck.

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  41. @ 11:57 ... has anyone contacted you? Are you reaching out to other firms now?

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  42. @10:43-- either you work for Citibank or you are incredibly out of touch with reality. Any work done in the next few weeks will go to help pay the big banks and bankruptcy attorneys. And that's if the clients choose to cough up what they owe howrey. It is usually very difficult for firms in bankruptcy to collect from these clients. Once the banks, bankruptcy attorneys and other various bottom feeders have been paid, there is little motivation to collect to pay back the staff and associates that did the work in the first place. And don't think the class attorneys representing the employees are any better. Once they get their cut in the initial settlement, they have no motivation to push for further collections (see Blum Collins in the Heller bankruptcy). No, the best thing staff and associates can do right now is take care of themselves -- look for jobs online, network, spend time keeping on top of the latest news by talking to other staff -- client work comes absolutely dead last at this point. I promise you the clients don't give a damn about what happens to the staff or associates in this whole mess.

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  43. I’m 11:04 from 2/7. I never said anything about DC closing. Perhaps my “OC” was misread as “DC”. While I've been to the DC office (and several others), I've only heard "rumors" from DC esqs, so haven't posted anything about whether DC will close or won't close.

    I’ve gotten my ‘ca offices are closing’ (LA’s still up in the air) info directly from various people (@ various levels) inside various CA offices. These are the same people who said certain partners were leaving days before the news was printed in the Daily Journal/AbovetheLaw/WSJ, etc., these are the same people who told me that the “departing partners/job lists” were way off (+ they had names/#s to back it up), these are the same people who said that “secretaries w/partners are going w/their partners + those who don’t work for partners are SOL” (+ that did in fact happen, right after I saw certain partners in certain offices in the middle of the night directing movers to pack up their stuff + move it to their new firms), + these are the same people who told me of various other Howrey “insider events” long before the “media” got word of the news, so I have reason not to believe them….unless someone fed them false information (but why?). Then again, maybe Ruyak will somehow magically save the Irvine office (and the whopping 10- if that- people left on 2 floors) + the EPA office/other CA offices (along w/Houston + Chicago, offices I was also told by Howrey people were closing), but honestly, it doesn’t make sense for WS to bother w/most, if any, of those offices.

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  44. Any thoughts on the fate of incoming first years/summer associates?

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  45. @3:42, I've heard that they should just sit tight as nothing has changed (at least officially). Not sure if they are included in any WS moves.

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  46. I'm a former Thelen associate who remained with that firm until the end. I foolishly believed that the partners would somehow find a way to right the ship, even though it was clearly leaky and sinking. Because I waited so long it was that much harder for me to find a new job, which I eventually did.

    I'm just saying don't wait too long. Despite firm management denials Howrey looks to be in serious trouble - Heller/Thelen/Brobeck kind of trouble. There aren't that many jobs out there right now. Yeah I know, I'm stating the obvious. It's just that this all feels so familiar.

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