The Work

September 15, 2008 6:21 PM

Will Skadden and Paul Weiss Litigators Lose Work in Demise of Merrill and Lehman?

Posted by Alison Frankel

By Julie Triedman

Corporate types aren't the only people affected by the imminent extinction of Merrill Lynch and Lehman Bros. There also are plenty of litigators out there worrying about losing the companies as clients.

Who represents Lehman and Merrill when they go to court? Here's a quick rundown.

For Lehman:

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is defending the investment bank in ten matters filed in state and federal court in the last two years (and 32 since 2003), according to Westlaw. Paul Weiss partners Moses Silverman and Brad Karp (when he gets a moment away from Citigroup) are working on Lehman's derivative, auction-rate securities, and antitrust cases.

At Jones Day, David Cardin--who led Lehman's defense in the Enron securities class action--has handled 33 matters for Lehman since 2003. DLA Piper worked on 17 matters, and Heller Ehrman and Morgan Lewis each worked on 16.

Simpson has lately become a go-to firm for Lehman, taking the lead in six cases filed in 2008, including a major mortgage-backed securities class action. Partners Michael Chepiga and Paul Curnin are leads on Simpson's Lehman cases.

For Merrill Lynch:

Skadden dominates the securities docket, working on more than 60 matters in the last five years (and 28 in just the last two years). Partners Jay Kasner and Scott Musoff are leads in cases that include Merrill's recent settlement of auction-rate securities litigation with regulators. Shearman & Sterling's Stuart Baskin also represents Merrill in securities cases; he was lead counsel for Merrill when the bank successfully challenged class certification in the Enron case. Dickstein Shapiro has handled 380 matters, mostly tort and real estate, for Merrill since 2003; Munger Tolles has represented the bank in more than 50 employment matters; and Gibson Dunn has worked on about 60 securities and ERISA cases.

Calls to lawyers seeking comment on whether they'd lose work didn't yield much more than an off-the-record, "It's too soon to tell."

Meanwhile, the litigators at O'Melveny & Myers must be doing cartwheels in the hallways. Since Bank of America--a loyal client of O'Melveny's litigation department--took over Countrywide earlier this year, O'Melveny has already begun to pick up extra work generated by the beleaguered mortgage company. With Merrill about to become part of B. of A., O'Melveny might just be the best bet for out-of-work securities litigators looking for someplace to send their resumes.

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