Even with some venerable law firms going under and many of the biggest clients in the financial services area disappearing altogether, some lawyers and firms may emerge as big winners in the current financial crisis. In an article on Friday, Reuters identified a number of law firms that seem poised to see record fees in the years ahead. They include:
- Weil Gotshal & Manges, which is advising Lehman Brothers in its bankruptcy proceedings. Lynn LoPucki, a law professor at UCLA and Harvard University, believes that the Lehman meltdown is poised to churn out the biggest fees ever in a bankruptcy, possibly as much as $1.4 billion altogether.
- Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, which advises the Lehman Brothers creditors’ committee, and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, which advises the creditors’ committee special counsel.
- Firms such as Wilmer Cutler and Williams & Connolly, whose white-collar criminal defense and litigation practices will be very busy in the years ahead with matters such as Wilmer’s current representation of Countrywide Financial Corp Chairman Angelo Mozilo in civil and criminal securities probes.
- Firms such as Sullivan & Cromwell and Boies Schiller & Flexner, which have emerged as “go to” firms in the area of the government bailout of financial firms and a changing regulatory environment. Jerry Kowalski, co-founder of legal consultant Kowalski & Associates, says it is his expectation “that those (types of) firms will be seeing record years for 2008 and 2009.”
Sullivan & Cromwell’s H. Rodgin Cohen, who advises many banks on bailout-related issues, confirms in the article that his business has exploded recently.
“It’s been extremely busy. Probably over six, seven weeks of time, it’s the busiest time we’ve ever seen,” he said. “I don’t think it can stay this frantic over a long period of time. Just a lot of factors came together and those are not long-lived circumstances. No one could live through it if it continued anyway.”