We were just poking around the docket of the Dreier LLP bankruptcy this morning (that would be the eponymous Dreier firm in New York, not to be confused with Marc Dreier himself, or any of the many offshoot Dreier So-and-So & Whatsisface firms in various states). And while this transcript is not exactly fresh out of the box, we found some moments that we wish we could’ve been there for, if only because the lawyers just seem so candid about how no one really has a handle on all the layers of the onion that was Dreier LLP.
First, we present you with The Cast from the
Stephen J. Shimshak and Brian Hermann, both with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, representing Dreier LLP and Paul, Weiss’ Mark Pomerantz, the SEC receiver for Marc Dreier’s assets
Steven Reisman, with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, representing a representative of creditor 360 Networks USA Inc. (which is missing $38M-$40M that was in escrow)
Judge Stuart Bernstein, as himself
Acts I through VI, after the jump …
Not to seem like we’re quibbling over peanuts, but … in this case, it’s eat peanuts or eat dirt.
Steven Reisman: “We're not dealing here with large dollars in the scope of cases. But in this particular case, there doesn't seem to be a lot of money either. So every dollar is, in fact, meaningful.”
Even in this economy, there are some “jobs” most lawyers still don’t want.
Stephen Shimshak: “We do not have, as often happens in these cases, a wind down committee or anything of that sort comprised of former partners. There are two partners who are continuing to assist the firm, as Mr. Hermann indicated, but most of the partners at Dreier LLP have made the decision to try to get on with their professional lives as best they can. And it has fallen to the receiver to oversee the wind down of the firm.”
But something tells Legal Pad it’ll be easier to find volunteers to give Marc Dreier a push.
Brian Hermann: “It is our intention to do the best we can to try to get Mr. Dreier either cooperatively or, if not cooperatively, in some involuntary fashion also into a bankruptcy case.”
At least it'll be a billing-hours dream ...
Stephen Shimshak: “Counsel for Wachovia spoke earlier about the size -- the amount of money in the bank account. But the truth is that the dimensions of this estate are essentially unknown at this time because of the inner relationship of the affairs of Mr. Dreier and the partnership. And there is a great deal of sorting out that needs to be done. And there is a great deal that needs to be investigated in terms of the relationship of parties to the operation of the firm and to Mr. Dreier.”
… but that dream won't be lived by our firm.*
Stephen Shimshak: “The receiver has determined that the most effective way for that to be done is through a Chapter 11 trustee. And a Chapter 11 trustee, he underscores, who would have expertise in this area, expertise in the sense of understanding the Bankruptcy Code, understanding the avoidance powers, understanding all of those issues. But also the support of a law firm that can discharge all of this free of conflicts and free of the need to work around conflicts in a fashion that, frankly, neither the receiver nor Paul Weiss are able to do. As the parties who are emerging in this matter begin to surface, we see, frankly, many of our current clients on the list. So it became apparent to us that we had to find a workable way that would protect the best interest of the creditors and insure the orderly administration of the estate."
The name ‘Dreier’ isn’t necessarily a kiss of death. There's a 20 percent survival rate**.
Judge Stuart Bernstein: “What about these other affiliated entities that I've read about?”
Brian Hermann: “We have been examining them one by one. Frankly, there is some that -- and the analysis is incomplete. But there are some that we believe, at least some, that can viably function independent of Dreier. And as long as we are comfortable that there are no estate assets in those entities and that those entities are otherwise self-sufficient and the attorneys at those other firms can make a living and go on with their lives, we don't want to stand in the way of that. To the extent we come across entities that do need to be in bankruptcy, and we kind of viewed that as secondary to getting this firm in because this is where the vast majority of the assets live, we will follow up and file those entities as well.”
** Our totally unscientific guesstimate.
— Pam Smith