A year in the strife of Lehman Brothers

Like many of his counterparts in firms on either side of the Atlantic, Bugg had been convinced that Lehman would not be allowed to fail. “Looking back at the events in New York no one thought the Fed would let it go under: if there was a solution for Bear Stearns then there would be a solution for Lehman,” he writes on TheLawyer.com today.

Bugg was not alone in finding the events leading up to and during 15 September 2008 shocking. As Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley writes: “As Lehman collapsed over the weekend, we started getting calls from clients who needed help urgently. As the phones rang off the hook we quickly realised this was no ordinary crisis.”

As lawyers look back on the day the financial world changed, we look back at the firms that won mandates to steer countless financial institutions through some seriously choppy economic waters (see story).

The whole banking sector was shaken up in the months that followed Lehman’s collapse, with banking lawyers now viewing the world in two distinct eras: pre-Lehman and post-Lehman (see story).

There was a pile of work generated in the post-Lehman era, as we detailed at the time (see story), with leading lawyers such as Slaughter and May’s Charles Randell and Sullivan & Cromwell’s Rodgin Cohen stepping up to the plate.

Elsewhere, as we know, the main effect of the Lehman collapse on most lawyers was to precipitate a fully-fledged recession.

It appears that the impact would be starting to subside, though, with some lawyers starting to predict that the worst could be behind us (see story).


Quote of the day: “In my experience, women partners often lack the softer skills required to foster good client and staff relationships. A lot of this emanates from some perceived pressure upon high powered women to act like ‘bitches’, when this is clearly not necessary.” Do you agree?


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