Monday, March 14, 2011

Howrey: It's Time to Update Your Website

Howrey has announced its dissolution, published a press release, and there's news all over the information superhighway about it...except on Howrey's website.

Consider DC Bar ethics opinion 249, which sets forth DC Ethics Rule 7.1(a):

The portion of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct applicable to this inquiry is Rule 7.1(a), which provides:
(a) A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication is false or misleading if it:
   (1) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading; or
   (2) contains an assertion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services that cannot be substantiated.
As the ethics opinion states, "In determining whether the advertisement in question violates Rule 7.1(a), the primary test, therefore, is whether the advertisement, or any portion of it, is misleading."

We can all agree that it's time for Howrey to update its website with information that it's about to close.  Does anyone care to weigh in whether the failure to update constitutes an ethical violation?


  1. I think there are quite a few things on the firm's plate right now that are far more important than this. Another thing worth considering is if Howrey's in-house designers/web admins are 1. still employed, or 2. still willing to work with no guarantee of payment. There's clearly doubt current employees are even going to receive checks for hours worked, and Howrey has stopped paying vendors some time ago; the firm no longer has control of its checkbook.

    I doubt anyone in the industry would think Howrey is still rolling along -business as usual- because the site is unchanged.

    I also have serious doubts any person seeking representation from Howrey based on their website is going to get an attorney on the phone to take them on as a client.

    In short... really? I'm angry with whats been going on too, but this seems a bit trivial.

  2. Couldn't have said it better myself. Trivial and, frankly, petty. Now that Howrey's partners have voted to dissolve, how about us finding something positive to discuss? I'm struggling to understand how the existence of a legacy version of the Firm's web site hurts anyone or is really newsworthy.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. haha - I can't wait till you take this down because of a "threat". You are delusional if you think anyone who is reading this (me included) is of any importance. We aren't, we just want to bitch because we lost our jobs. Ruyak is a good guy, got me a job last week when I asked for help. Am i pissed, sure - i loved working at Howrey. But this blog is just mean and nasty. move on.

  5. Agree that DC ethics is not worth the focus right now. How about the fact that Howrey took money out of paychecks for 401k but never put that money into 401k accounts?

  6. Hmm, they did for me...but i guess legal assistants are special :)

  7. (1) I have no idea if this is an ethics violation or not, but I'm not sure why people are reacting like merely asking the question is a horrible thing to do, particularly given that associates fired over the past year were reportedly told that their names could not stay on the website due to ethics rules.

    (2) @10:01. I suspect that you have a job. It is not hard for me to imagine why those who don't, or who didn't until very recently, would want a forum to vent. Many things in life aren't constructive, this strikes me as no more frivolous than, say, the NCAA selection show I watched the other night.

    (3) @10:50. I am entirely unclear why you are attacking the blog author so viciously.

    (4) @11:04. Your experience with Ruyak appears to be very different than the experience reported by many others, but I am glad that you landed on your feet. The question isn't whether Ruyak is a "good guy" or not, but whether he ran Howrey effectively. It seems very hard to make the case that he did, given the outcome, but wth do I know, I'm still just a low-level person myself.

  8. Rule of thumb: don't use the adjectives "incredible" or "amazing" unless you're delivering a non-heartfelt speech at a going-away party. Unless, of course, it's modifying something like "bastard."

    You'll never head "incredible litigator" from someone who knows what a good litigator is.

  9. Am I the only one who thinks that about 95% of the posts from 10:30-11:30pm last night were the work of one sock puppet?

  10. Today irvine shuts it doors. Rip.

  11. I have to agree. Howrey has called it quits... I think it is time for this lame blog to do the same.

  12. @10:36-my thought exactly. I'd be interested to understand how anyone could think that Ruyak didn't make mistakes. My guess is that this is one of Ruyak's staff members who benefited greatly from Ruyak and who was taken care of personally by Ruyak. That such a person feels indebted to him is understandable, though I don't think it excuses the vitriol towards those who take a different view.

    A legitimate defense of him (and I don't personally buy into this) would be that he pursued a calculated high-risk/high-reward strategy that came up short (e.g., buying a construction group mid-recession), but that the risks were worthwhile ex ante. A legitimate defense, on the other hand, is not an ad hominem attack on those who believe that Ruyak was a bad leader who made poor choices, followed by blind assertions that he is a great guy who made no mistakes.

    In any event, I'm a little concerned that we're encouraging that poster by even responding...

    One final caveat: I posted earlier today, and I haven't been at the firm in a few years. My posts are speculation, nothing more.

  13. I was an incredible golfer - 12 years ago. Then stuff happened and I didn't play for a long time. Not sure that makes me an incredible golfer anymore, or even a golfer at all.

  14. Ruyak just lost a gigantic case for Eaton in which damages are about $100 million, the last case for which he spent time in a courtoom. He has not practiced law really for the last decade. That is the same period of time during which he has also failed to manage the firm. Go figure. Must be his kids or mom who are posting about his legal skills. Certainly not anyone connected with Howrey.

  15. 2:17

    ...his loss of a jury trial means he has no legal skills? What an ignorant statement.

    Bob's solid in court. His management of the firm is another story.

  16. He also one an incredibly important case for American Airlines last November, and probably has about $50 million in business with involves expedia. HUGE series of cases. Any firm would be smart to grab hold of that.

  17. $50 million is a major exaggeration, and the AA business isn't Ruyak's--it's going with other Howrey partners. But it's true that he did a nice job in that Orbitz (not Expedia) TRO trial. I was actually surprised at what a skilled litigator he was, given how little time he must have had to practice while he was running the firm.