How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

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MrAnon
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby MrAnon » Tue May 01, 2012 12:00 pm

MrAnon wrote:
The Duck wrote:
MrAnon wrote:You would think that very few if any partners left at Dewey now would have portable business. Anyone who had the ability to leave probably already took off.


Someone still has to wrap up current work or they have to take open matters with them. They can't just abandon clients. Especially bankruptcies, etc that are supervised by courts.


yeesh. Clients don't get abandoned. Portable business means you move and the work goes with you.


And do you really think their clients PREFER they stay with Dewey if they don't have to? Imagine you are the CEO of a Fortune 500. You are rep'd by Dewey. Frontpage of the NYT this morning says your law firm is collapsing. If the partner who represents you can go work under the sign of some other firm, wouldn't you not mind very much if he did that?

MrAnon
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby MrAnon » Tue May 01, 2012 12:01 pm

The guy who offered $10k made a nice gesture. Frankly he doesn't have to do jack shit for anyone.

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romothesavior
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 01, 2012 12:46 pm

MrAnon wrote:The guy who offered $10k made a nice gesture. Frankly he doesn't have to do jack shit for anyone.

I agree. Definitely not a "jerk," that's ridiculous. The guy left what was obviously a horrible financial situation for him for greener pastures. The firm is clearly sinking.

And yeah the money isn't a lot, but I think his offer to try and help people get jobs is even more meaningful to former DL folks than the cash. Even if he can only help place a few people, that would be a really nice gesture. Big firm partners get a lot of bad press (and often justifiably), so I don't understand why we're skewering one who apparently is trying to be helpful.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue May 01, 2012 2:04 pm

romothesavior wrote:
MrAnon wrote:The guy who offered $10k made a nice gesture. Frankly he doesn't have to do jack shit for anyone.

I agree. Definitely not a "jerk," that's ridiculous. The guy left what was obviously a horrible financial situation for him for greener pastures. The firm is clearly sinking.

And yeah the money isn't a lot, but I think his offer to try and help people get jobs is even more meaningful to former DL folks than the cash. Even if he can only help place a few people, that would be a really nice gesture. Big firm partners get a lot of bad press (and often justifiably), so I don't understand why we're skewering one who apparently is trying to be helpful.

Yeah, this is more of a "rich guy who got off the Titanic is offering the Leonardo DiCaprio classes some space in his lifeboat and encouraging others to do the same" situation. Seems ridiculous to criticize him for not just going down with the ship instead. Who would that benefit? There is really little upside to shows of solidarity at this point.

keg411
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby keg411 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:16 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
MrAnon wrote:You would think that very few if any partners left at Dewey now would have portable business. Anyone who had the ability to leave probably already took off.


Bienenstock, Kessler, Flaum, Climan, Pierce, Shutran, Bennett, Ferrara, Bunsow...


It will be interesting to see where some of these guys end up going. I could see Bienenstock going back to Weil (or FT academia), but not sure about the others.

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romothesavior
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 01, 2012 3:22 pm

How do you guys know who all these partners are? The only names of partners I know of or care to know of are at the firm I'm going to. And I suppose some of the huge names like Herbert Wachtell, Marty Lipton, David Boies, John Quinn, etc., but I couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 4:15 pm

romothesavior wrote:How do you guys know who all these partners are? The only names of partners I know of or care to know of are at the firm I'm going to. And I suppose some of the huge names like Herbert Wachtell, Marty Lipton, David Boies, John Quinn, etc., but I couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.


For me, its kinda like being a sports fan and knowing the all-stars. These are the people I aspire to be like.

randomdandom
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby randomdandom » Tue May 01, 2012 4:18 pm

keg411 wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:
MrAnon wrote:You would think that very few if any partners left at Dewey now would have portable business. Anyone who had the ability to leave probably already took off.


Bienenstock, Kessler, Flaum, Climan, Pierce, Shutran, Bennett, Ferrara, Bunsow...


It will be interesting to see where some of these guys end up going. I could see Bienenstock going back to Weil (or FT academia), but not sure about the others.


It will definitely be interesting - hopefully the conflicts checks don't prove to be too much of a problem. I imagine many potential "marriages" will not be feasible.

keg411
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby keg411 » Tue May 01, 2012 4:28 pm

romothesavior wrote:How do you guys know who all these partners are? The only names of partners I know of or care to know of are at the firm I'm going to. And I suppose some of the huge names like Herbert Wachtell, Marty Lipton, David Boies, John Quinn, etc., but I couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.


I had Bienenstock for a class.

And Jeffrey Kessler reps pretty much every single players union and litigated the NFL free agency cases back in the day.

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rayiner
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby rayiner » Tue May 01, 2012 4:37 pm

--LinkRemoved--

This Altorelli fellow seems like the man.

JOHN ALTORELLLI — EMAIL TO FORMER DEWEY PARTNERS

(Via the Daily Journal (sub. req.).)

Dear Colleagues,

It has been difficult watching the events unfold at our former firm. I feel terrible that I could not have done more to save the firm and the people who gave so much to the firm. I can no longer stand by without attempting to do something for the employees who remain at Dewey & LeBoeuf. I am in the process of taking the following actions steps: (1) finding a placement agency to help current D&L employees find new jobs in the event that D&L is no longer able to provide employment, (2) asking my new firm (and hope you will do the same) to offer jobs to as many employees and associates as we can (including members of the recently cancelled incoming summer associate class) in the event those employees and associates lose their jobs, and (3) soliciting donations from former partners of D&L to provide cash to employees who are in dire need as a result of losing their jobs at D&L.

I am going to make an initial donation of $10,000. I hope others will join me with donations of any size. I will return to the donors, on a pro rata basis, any funds that are not given to employees of D&L.

Shortly, I will be circulating more information on how to donate funds, how the funds are to be used and/or returned, and who to contact to assist with hiring D&L employees and associates who desire a job. I also am open to your help with any of the above.

I hope you all are doing well given the circumstances and hope you keep in touch.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Tue May 01, 2012 4:48 pm

romothesavior wrote:How do you guys know who all these partners are? The only names of partners I know of or care to know of are at the firm I'm going to. And I suppose some of the huge names like Herbert Wachtell, Marty Lipton, David Boies, John Quinn, etc., but I couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.


I know, it always amazes me when people list the top 10 people and cases they've worked on, despite never having met them. My roommate does it all the time in his field of law and I'm utterly astonished. I'm lucky if I can remember my professors half the time.

Younger Abstention
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Younger Abstention » Tue May 01, 2012 5:51 pm

sunynp wrote:
Younger Abstention wrote:Uhh... and why is he a jerk?

Because he left the firm to save himself and now wants to throw a bone of $10,000 to a thousand staff people (plus who knows how many associates)who will have no health insurance, no job and no income. Not to mention the associates,the partners would have taken with them if they could in the first place. New lateral partners don't usually get to just bring over expensive associates to handle their work, the existing firm has associates and staff already. Not to say that no one will get a job, but I would love to see, at the end of the day, how many people (staff and attorneys) the partners who left are able to hire.

Who is going to set up and administer a fund like that? How are they going to decide who deserves money? How much will they get? How much do you really think other partners will kick in? These funds are very complicated to administer, see the problems with the money for families of WTC victims. Example: is paying for someone's rent more important than helping a 3L pay for the bar exam?


what part of BANKRUPT do you not understand?

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rayiner
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby rayiner » Tue May 01, 2012 5:57 pm

NinerFan wrote:
sunynp wrote:
The Duck wrote:
sunynp wrote:Because he left the firm to save himself and now wants to throw a bone of $10,000 to a thousand staff people who will have no health insurance, no job and no income. Not to mention the associates who the partners would have taken with them if they could in the first place.

Who is going to set up and administer a fund like that? How are they going to decide who deserves money? How much will they get? How much do you really think other partners will kick in? These funds are very complicated to administer, see the problems with the money for families of WTC victims.


Because he should have screwed his own family to save them? Its his livelihood too. They are all in the same boat. He may be in a better position but that doesn't make him a jerk. He's offering to do something to help, there is isn't much more you can ask of him. It's not his fault the firm is going under.

My opinion is what he is offering is untenable and won't help people in a practical way. My opinion is he is trying to make himself look better for leaving the firm. He didn't have to leave, several of the best partners didn't.


I don't think you can fairly say this without knowing the specifics of his situation. If he was one of the people who was getting severely underpaid because of the stupid guaranteed contracts, why stick around? Or, if he saw the writing on the wall, he might have preserved his negotiating power by jumping ship when he did instead of waiting.

It's easy for you to sit there as a law student or young associate and criticize him, but if you were in his situation, I think you might have cut and run too. Any myth of some kind of "loyalty" you owe to law firm is laughable. Dewey wouldn't hesitate to de-equitize or push out someone who wasn't pulling their weight, what loyalty do you owe back?


I think law firms, not being organized as corporations, need some bonds of loyalty to the institution to function effectively. I think that's what makes firms that hire tons of laterals unstable--without some loyalty to the institution people have no reason not to bail when the firm hits a rough patch. It's a prisoner's dilemma--even if nobody wants to bail, the possibility of other people bailing makes it the rational choice for everyone to bail.

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ben4847
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby ben4847 » Tue May 01, 2012 6:10 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I really wanted Dewey and was rejected post-CB. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy that I didn't end up getting that offer, because I probably would've taken it.


Going to repeat this again. Never been so happy for that "we don't like you" letter as I am now.


Had this experience with Howrey.

Godspeed to the D&L summers, although I'd be surprised if they cut the program.


they cut it last week

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue May 01, 2012 6:28 pm

ben4847 wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I really wanted Dewey and was rejected post-CB. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy that I didn't end up getting that offer, because I probably would've taken it.


Going to repeat this again. Never been so happy for that "we don't like you" letter as I am now.


Had this experience with Howrey.

Godspeed to the D&L summers, although I'd be surprised if they cut the program.


they cut it last week


Sweet super-old poast bump, dooder.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 8:11 pm

rayiner wrote:
I think law firms, not being organized as corporations, need some bonds of loyalty to the institution to function effectively. I think that's what makes firms that hire tons of laterals unstable--without some loyalty to the institution people have no reason not to bail when the firm hits a rough patch. It's a prisoner's dilemma--even if nobody wants to bail, the possibility of other people bailing makes it the rational choice for everyone to bail.


To be fair, I don't think anyone would accuse Altorelli of being a loyal firm guy. His career involved a good amount of lateraling. He actually was at LeBoeuf until '04 or '05.

That said, he is actually a stand up guy and I'm sure the relief fund is a genuine gesture. It will be interesting to see how many former and soon-to-be former DL partners follow his lead and support the little guys who will be badly hurt in all of this.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 9:38 pm

Let's hope that Altorelli's generous gesture--and it is one--survives the BK trustee.

keg411
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby keg411 » Tue May 01, 2012 10:28 pm

I think Altorelli's gesture is more about encouraging the partners' new firms to hire summers/associates/staff then any type of money they drum up for the "fund."

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sunynp
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sunynp » Tue May 01, 2012 10:58 pm

I don't think the bankruptcy trustee can recover money from such a fund, should it actually work. The clawbacks would apply to former partners, but I assume the fund in support of the unemployed will be under separate administration as a donation. I think they will set up some kind of charity or trust, but I don't know that law.

Maybe I was angry at the Altorelli gesture because he made millions as a lateral partner, including lateral bonuses, and then leaves when the firm needed people like him to stay.

But it isn't fair to blame an entire firm's problems on the only guy who made a gesture, no matter how skeptical I am, you guys are right, at least he came up with some suggestions. And he backed up his idea with a promise to pay 10,000.

Even though I didn't work for Dewey, I had some very close connections there. I honestly feel like I am in shock and I feel very upset that a firm could disappear so quickly. I see now how naive I was about not reading between the lines of the reports about the firm. I didn't understand how fast it all falls apart. I feel so bad for the people who trusted the management there and were betrayed.

I dunno, I just really feel sad. This was a large well-respected firm in many aspects. I think it was in January the 18th largest firm. I also feel angry that the partners , through the management, ruined the firm. It could have survived, I think without the laterals. But perhaps there was fraud too.

I hope that a lot more financial details come out in the criminal investigation and in the bankruptcy. (though that hasn't been announced yet.) No one has been able to trace the money in this debacle because it isn't disclosed.

So TLS, what other lessons are there to be learned from Dewey and Howrey? How can first years protect themselves from being jobless with no experience or skills?

I hope that everyone who followed this thread and Howrey never forgets the signs to watch for at your firm. It may be hard to predict as an associate you don't have financials, but watch for lots of closed door meetings, rumors in the press and pep talks by the partners that things will be great if we all just stick together. I suppose the first thing to look for is not having enough work - if you don't have as much work as you can possibly do, then there is a problem somewhere. Other, better clues I missed?

My (vague) plan is to pick an area to become an expert in, not sure what yet. I just want to start with something that I can become the person people ask about a specific area in transactions : like default provisions, letters of credit, loan covenants... I dunno. I am looking at every project I get to see what skill I can gain from it and I am going to push for substantive work. I am focusing in skill building. One thing for sure, I will not be passive. Nothing like gunning as a first year! I know people say that drafting documents isn't substantive, but I want to know why every provision is in a document and why it was drafted the way it was.

I am financially conservative. I am worried about being Lathamed and I want to have something to sell myself on if I lose my job before my third year. I can see that I can't afford to be passive.

Also- FYI:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/ ... ispatches/
Last edited by sunynp on Tue May 01, 2012 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 11:27 pm

sunynp wrote:I don't think the bankruptcy trustee can recover money from such a fund, should it actually work. The clawbacks would apply to former partners, but I assume the fund in support of the unemployed will be under separate administration as a donation. I think they will set up some kind of charity or trust, but I don't know that law.

Maybe I was angry at the Altorelli gesture because he made millions as a lateral partner, including lateral bonuses, and then leaves when the firm needed people like him to stay.

But it isn't fair to blame an entire firm's problems on the only guy who made a gesture, no matter how skeptical I am, you guys are right, at least he came up with some suggestions. And he backed up his idea with a promise to pay 10,000.

Even though I didn't work for Dewey, I had some very close connections there. I honestly feel like I am in shock and I feel very upset that a firm could disappear so quickly. I see now how naive I was about not reading between the lines of the reports about the firm. I didn't understand how fast it all falls apart. I feel so bad for the people who trusted the management there and were betrayed.

I dunno, I just really feel sad. This was a large well-respected firm in many aspects. I think it was in January the 18th largest firm. I also feel angry that the partners , through the management, ruined the firm. It could have survived, I think without the laterals. But perhaps there was fraud too.

I hope that a lot more financial details come out in the criminal investigation and in the bankruptcy. (though that hasn't been announced yet.) No one has been able to trace the money in this debacle because it isn't disclosed.

So TLS, what other lessons are there to be learned from Dewey and Howrey? How can first years protect themselves from being jobless with no experience or skills?

I hope that everyone who followed this thread and Howrey never forgets the signs to watch for at your firm. It may be hard to predict as an associate you don't have financials, but watch for lots of closed door meetings, rumors in the press and pep talks by the partners that things will be great if we all just stick together. I suppose the first thing to look for is not having enough work - if you don't have as much work as you can possibly do, then there is a problem somewhere. Other, better clues I missed?

My (vague) plan is to pick an area to become an expert in, not sure what yet. I just want to start with something that I can become the person people ask about a specific area in transactions : like default provisions, letters of credit, loan covenants... I dunno. I am looking at every project I get to see what skill I can gain from it and I am going to push for substantive work. I am focusing in skill building. One thing for sure, I will not be passive. Nothing like gunning as a first year! I know people say that drafting documents isn't substantive, but I want to know why every provision is in a document and why it was drafted the way it was.

I am financially conservative. I am worried about being Lathamed and I want to have something to sell myself on if I lose my job before my third year. I can see that I can't afford to be passive.


I think there is almost NOTHING that one can do to keep out of this type of situation. I am rather industrious and found absolutely nothing about poor finances during all my research during OCI. Moreover, the firm touted (as I'm sure Dewey did) it's amazing finances throughout the process, and as one of last year's summers noted, the first day of the summer program was a presentation about how well the firm was doing.

What I see as a key problem is that partnerships are not liable to shareholders and there is no way for anyone to have a peak at the finances. Even if they do get a peak, somehow those numbers can be around 200 million off (as AmLaw demonstrated).

At any rate, the monetary problems had been growing and growing for about 3 years and no one knew the extent. From recent articles, it seems partners started to realize something was up around Oct/Nov when most people have already accepted offers by then.

The one thing I can think of is maybe some of the finances are public information. I know corporations have to make their 10-Qs and 10-Ks public and maybe there is a similar or equivalent requirement for partnerships. I had NO IDEA any firms relied on revolving credit lines. But even if i knew of a ~$100 mil credit line, I don't think it would have been public information that `$70 mil had been drawn on that line.

Same thing goes for the bond issuance. If I knew of a `$125 mil privately secured bond, that would have raised alarm bells.


I guess what I'm trying to say is develop those financial investigation skills and dig and dig and dig. Assume whatever you are told is either a blatant lie or alternatively, based on insufficient or inccurate data.

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sundance95
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sundance95 » Tue May 01, 2012 11:37 pm

Are you really suggesting that if law firms were corporations they'd be more ethical or less likely to enter bankruptcy?

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sunynp
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sunynp » Tue May 01, 2012 11:48 pm

sundance95 wrote:Are you really suggesting that if law firms were corporations they'd be more ethical or less likely to enter bankruptcy?

Me? No. I was wondering about what the warning signs of a firm close to financial distress would be. I am not worried about my firm now, but they, like a lot of firms, deferred, no-offered and stealth laid-off people in the downturn. I don't know what to look for in a firm teetering on the edge of distress when there are no public financials. The only real info I learned from Dewey is to look for any large amount of private notes that have been issued, but AFAIK, Dewey is the only firm that has done that.

randomdandom
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby randomdandom » Tue May 01, 2012 11:50 pm

sundance95 wrote:Are you really suggesting that if law firms were corporations they'd be more ethical or less likely to enter bankruptcy?


Nope - that was not my intention.

I'm suggesting that if partnerships had a even a modicum of transparency even just amongst partners, perhaps this problem would have been addressed a number of years ago and nipped in the bud instead of having 100 years of good will disappearing in a matter of 2 months.

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sundance95
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sundance95 » Tue May 01, 2012 11:52 pm

sunynp wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Are you really suggesting that if law firms were corporations they'd be more ethical or less likely to enter bankruptcy?

Me? No. I was wondering about what the warning signs of a firm close to financial distress would be. I am not worried about my firm now, but they, like a lot of firms, deferred, no-offered and stealth laid-off people in the downturn. I don't know what to look for in a firm teetering on the edge of distress when there are no public financials. The only real info I learned from Dewey is to look for any large amount of private notes that have been issued, but AFAIK, Dewey is the only firm that has done that.

Sorry, meant anon immediately prior to my post, but didn't want to quote his entire novella.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby concurrent fork » Wed May 02, 2012 12:36 am

LawIdiot86 wrote:
romothesavior wrote:How do you guys know who all these partners are? The only names of partners I know of or care to know of are at the firm I'm going to. And I suppose some of the huge names like Herbert Wachtell, Marty Lipton, David Boies, John Quinn, etc., but I couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.


I know, it always amazes me when people list the top 10 people and cases they've worked on, despite never having met them. My roommate does it all the time in his field of law and I'm utterly astonished. I'm lucky if I can remember my professors half the time.

Bienenstock teaches at both HLS and Mich, which is the only reason why TLS people know him.




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