Wall St woes: the heat and the cool

Wall St woes: the heat and the coolIt 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.”

So that’s alright then.

Latest Wall St news

18-Sep-2008 Milbank grabs Lehman creditor role
18-Sep-2008 PwC: Lehman lawyers will be paid
17-Sep-2008 Weil secures lead role for AIG on government fund
17-Sep-2008 3-4 South Square bags role on Lehman
17-Sep-2008 Clifford Chance completes Barclays’ £1bn Lehman purchase
17-Sep-2008 Allen & Overy, Links in HBOS-Lloyds merger talks
17-Sep-2008 Lehman to ask lawyers to stay ‘for months,’ insiders say
17-Sep-2008 Lehman’s UK lawyers ‘may not be paid’
16-Sep-2008 Sullivan & Cromwell gets AIG rescue mandate
16-Sep-2008 Firms scour for conflicts ahead of Wall St fall-out work
16-Sep-2008 200+ legal jobs under threat at Lehman Bros
16-Sep-2008 Sullivan & Cromwell gets AIG rescue mandate
15-Sep-2008 Shearman, Wachtell in Merrill Lynch takeover
15-Sep-2008 Cravath acts on $70bn cash lifeline
15-Sep-2008 Links advises PwC in Lehman administration
15-Sep-2008 Wachtell guides US Treasury on Fannie/Freddie

Previous Wall St woes

17-Sep-2008: A&O emerges
Day three of the Wall Street crisis, and the major legal players are emerging. As my colleague Julia Berris in New York noted yesterday, Wachtell and Weil Gotshal have snagged some of the biggest roles on the US end…

16-Sep-2008: Weil at heart
In a week of uncertainty, the only sure thing was that Weil Gotshal & Manges bankruptcy star Harvey Miller would get a call from longstanding client Lehman Brothers…

15-Sep-2008: The Lehman fallout
Oh, the ups and downs of finance lawyers. Three months ago Linklaters’ banking group was filled with gloom after JPMorgan dumped it from every mandate you’ve ever heard of…