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It isn’t just financial institutions that are feeling the heat on Wall Street this week.
The collapse of Lehman, the acquisition of Merrill Lynch and the effective nationalisation of AIG has left dozens of lawyers facing life without their once lucrative client relationships.
Lehman certainly used to be a big deal for Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft once upon a time. Back in 2004, the firm is thought to have billed the bank around $20m. Coming hot on the heels of the collapse of another of its big clients, Bear Stearns, Cadwalader will be feeling Lehman’s pain almost as much as the bank will itself.
Elsewhere, Merrill Lynch’s takeover by Bank of America will have caused sleepless nights among the partners at several firms, including Sidley Austin and Fried Frank.
On the flip side, firms that have built up a significant presence in Charlotte – stand up K&L Gates, among others – are almost audibly rubbing their hands at the prospect of the migration of control of Merrill from New York to North Carolina.
Back in Manhattan, Latham & Watkins had close ties with both Lehman and AIG. Is the firm troubled? Despite the double blow, at least one Latham partner seemed relaxed.
“AIG and Lehman were both significant clients for us but individually we are not concerned about what has happened,” he said.
“We had revenues of over $2bn last year and if Lehman represented $20m of that I would be very surprised.”
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