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Today's Bankruptcy Filings - A York Lawyer Asks to Join in the Fun
Thursday, November 08 2007 @ 01:27 AM EST

Here are the Wednesday bankruptcy filings, the notable one being York lawyer Scott McNutt, who spoke at the hearing the other day, has applied to appear pro hac vice:
195 - Filed & Entered: 11/07/2007
Motion to Appear pro hac vice (B)
Docket Text: Motion to Appear pro hac vice of Scott H. McNutt of McNutt & Litteneker, LLP. Receipt Number 149509, Filed by York Capital Management. (Rosner, Frederick)

196 - Filed & Entered: 11/07/2007
Affidavit/Declaration of Service
Docket Text: Affidavit/Declaration of Service (and Service List) Regarding [Signed] Order Approving the Employment of Mesirow Financial Consulting, LLC as Financial Advisors to the Debtors (related document(s)[190] ) Filed by The SCO Group, Inc.. (O'Neill, James)

197 - Filed & Entered: 11/07/2007
Affidavit/Declaration of Service
Docket Text: Affidavit/Declaration of Service (and Service List) Regarding [Signed] Order Authorizing Retention of Professionals Utilized in the Ordinary Course of Business Pursuant to Sections 327 and 328 of the Bankruptcy Code (related document(s)[192] ) Filed by The SCO Group, Inc.. (O'Neill, James)

No doubt we'll be seeing more of him, the next time likely being at the hearing on the proposed sale of the assets on the 16th. Perhaps you'd like a little background on McNutt & Litteneker?

If so, here's a 2002 Business Times article, "Boutique law firms bite into corporate bankruptcy bonanza". Well. Who doesn't love a bonanza? Of course, that was a few years back, when there were a lot of bankruptcies. It mentions Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young & Jones as another example of cream-sipping boutique law firms back then specializing in the bankruptcy bonanza. This will give you a flavor of Mr. McNutt, assuming he was quoted accurately, which I never actually do assume:

"At general practice firms, people with those relationships are valuable and cost a lot to bring on," said Tobias Keller, a partner in Pachulski, Stang's San Francisco office.

Just winning an introduction to creditors committees means winding through a labyrinth of contacts.

"It's like dogs in a vacant lot," McNutt said. "If you sniff enough butts, you're going to know a lot of dogs."

Translation: it's all who you know. And if your specialty is bankruptcy, well... to survive one must get to know a lot of troubled folks. He went to Yale, but I don't think they teach you to talk like that at Yale. Well, maybe one could pick it up in the frat parties. Or maybe one starts to pick up the lingo in the hallways of bankruptcy courts, from one's clients. His partner attended the University of Utah, where they don't talk like that anywhere. Maybe in the dark.

Just kidding around. Don't sue me. Here's a more refined firm profile:

McNutt & Litteneker, LLP strives to provide the best insolvency services with the smallest possible firm. M&L specializes in complex bankruptcy and corporate restructuring cases. Among other things, the firm acts as general counsel in large bankruptcy cases, including selecting, hiring, and supervising associated firms with special non-bankruptcy expertise. M&L also provides litigation services, and strategy and oversight in tandem with litigation firms in complex bankruptcy related litigation matters. M&L has extensive experience in corporate bankruptcy, including handling cases in the technology and telecommunications industries, representing Committees, Trustees, Creditors and Debtors. Recent representations include the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of At Home Corp. (Excite@Home) and affiliated entities, the post-confirmation entity established to liquidate the assets of At Home Corp. for the benefit of trade creditors, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Webvan and affiliated entities, as well as multiple SBC affiliates in the Northpoint Bankruptcy case.

I gather Mr. McNutt doesn't mind a bit of risk, and he isn't frightened by large firms. And his firm has handled bankruptcy auctions before. That's not all the firm does. A former partner in the firm, Michael Sweet, was appointed to the Human Rights Commission for the city of San Francisco, California in July, and his bio says that his specialties are "general civil litigation, restructuring and insolvency, and election law." However, Kinney Recruiting says the firm was hit hard by a downturn in bankruptcies, and it went from 10 lawyers to the two original partners. But the Estrin Report says the field is "buzzing with anticipation" now, since bankruptcy guys do well in recessions.

Interestingly, both the firm and Morrison & Foerster participate in a project, The Brobeck Closed Archive, which is absolutely a wonderful idea, I think. Here's what it is and why it came into being:

Q: What happened to Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison?

Explanations differ, but the long and the short of it is that Brobeck entered liquidation in February 2003. The firm continued to exist on a shoestring until September 2003, when it sought protection in United States Bankruptcy Court. Since then, the Brobeck estate has been administered by Ron Greenspan, a court-appointed trustee. The trustee’s account of what happened to Brobeck is available [PDF].

Q: What is the Brobeck Closed Archive?

A. The Brobeck Closed Archive is a secure digital repository authorized by order of Judge Dennis Montali, United States Bankruptcy Court, North District of California, San Francisco Division on August 9, 2006. The “Order Granting Motion for Order (A) Authorizing the Abandonment of Brobeck’s Digital Records...” and related exhibits are available.

The short version is a huge law firm, with 189 partners alone, went belly up, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and after it all settled, all the records were going to be abandoned, so someone had the brainstorm of collecting it all and preserving them all for history's sake as a significant piece of the history of the bubble when it burst. It isn't, obviously, open to the general public. Someday, perhaps. But it's being preserved, meaning someone is looking out for the upkeep that digital records require. The trustee's report is truly fascinating to read, and I learned quite a bit about bankruptcy processes from reading it. I think you'll enjoy taking a look. It's way more interesting than any of the filings in this day's collection.

Oh, and just as a small footnote to history, Brobeck was the law firm that represented Caldera in its 2001 deal with Santa Cruz regarding OpenServer, as you can see if you look at the filings listed on that linked page.

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