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A year ago, this was the week when it all went really wrong. Twelve months on and, in case you missed it, The Lawyer has been reporting the personal testimonies of partners who were there on 15 September 2008, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
Such as that of Linklaters partner Tony Bugg, who later advised PricewaterhouseCoopers on Lehman’s administration, but who recalls sitting in jeans in his office in London with a judge deciding the bank’s fate (see story).
Across the Atlantic in the eye of the storm, Paul Weiss’ chairman Brad Karp says that period was a constant barrage of emergency assignments for key clients, trying to figure out what domino was likely to fall next and what the implications would be.
“We were dealing with uncharted territory at that point,” admits Karp.
And the reality is we still are. There is a growing sense among partners at the world’s top firms that the level of work and profit enjoyed during the heady days of 2007 was as much a bubble as anything seen by the US housing market.
And it has burst just as spectacularly.
“What people thought in 2007 was ‘normal’ will turn out to be with the benefit of hindsight an aberration,” argues Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steve Davis.
For the full article on this topic see The Lawyer on Monday.