Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And just like that, Dewey LeBoeuf is over. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. The shoemaker's children go barefoot. Whenever I see a firm like that go bust I marvel-- it inevitably happens because the decision makers make decisions that they would never, ever recommend to their clients.

Some years back we were a minor beneficiary of a similar meltdown, inheriting a batch of files from a firm whose partners didn't know how to share. I went with the client to retrieve the files in person, and the poor son of a bitch that had stayed on deck to manage the wind-down was a lawyer with whom I'd had some dealings in the past. He had been one of the decent ones in a office that was well-known for its hard-nosed swagger, and he was miserable, surrounded by banker's boxes and broken office furniture. Everyone else had left the plantation, and he was stuck, being paid out of the bankruptcy estate, doomed to be the last one out of the gate in his search for a place to land. I'd never particularly liked him, and I actively hated the firm, but seeing the guy like this gave me no pleasure. Really all it did was remind me that our glamor profession is a very delicate ecosystem. Every day your chief assets put on their hats and go home, and if they go into work the next morning at a different place, well, that's what happens. If enough of them do that then the secretaries and the mailroom guys, and the overnight staff and the paralegals -- and the associates-- are all out of work. The outfit that takes care of the plants, the cleaning contractor, and the coffee service company lose a valuable account. 


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