Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Financial Crisis Manual: A Prestigious Work Product or a Desperate Attempt for Finding Clients?

American law firms never cease to amuse me. After working together with other firms in producing a 40 pages comment to an SEC regulation, now Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, a very respectable US law firm provides an impressive 279 pages of financial crisis manual. You can read the manual here and its quick summary here. In general, it discusses the current regulatory issues related to the US financial crisis and the effect of such regulations to US financial institutions. I haven't read the manual, but the table of contents shows a very promising product.

Nevertheless, the most interesting part of this manual is not about the content or the quality of such manual as I am quite sure that the manual has been prepared in a professional manner, but the fact that 21 partners and counsels of Davis Polk are the ones that have prepared this manual. Given the latest news on how US law firms are trying to survive in the crisis, I have no doubt now that the crisis has really affected such law firms.

While it is true that from time to time law firms publish certain materials for the purpose of marketing and promotion, in normal circumstances, it is hard to believe that a law firm can produce a manual that is very huge and comprehensive, how in the world that they can find a spare time to write the manual? I'm afraid this time I might need to assume that such opportunity exists because of the crisis, i.e. less work, less billable hours, more promotional time.

Well, I hope that I'm wrong though. Maybe in the United States, it is usual for law firms to issue this kind of manual. After all, they have many resources for doing that.

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