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Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison quietly trudged through its final day Friday with departing lawyers setting up shop at new firms and glum staffers simply hoping they would get paid for their unused vacation. After a dramatic collapse two weeks ago that made national headlines, Brobeck’s last hours seemed almost anticlimactic. The few remaining employees were either preparing to go to work for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius — the firm taking over much of the office space — or were scrounging for boxes to pack up their belongings. “It’s an emotional, rough period,” one longtime staffer said Friday. Uncertainty is still the watchword for former Brobeck lawyers and staff. The now-defunct firm continues to negotiate with its bankers about how to resolve its myriad financial obligations. One of them was particularly on the minds of staffers Friday: Would they receive vacation pay in their final paychecks? It’s an issue that has had many of them threatening to sue Brobeck if the firm fails to pony up. One finance staffer said she had heard the bank was going to release enough money to cover vacation pay. But it wasn’t immediately clear Friday if that had actually occurred. “If it wasn’t for ‘Brokebeck’ the bank wouldn’t give us our money,” said one finance department staffer, referring to the online nom de plume of a Brobeck employee who has organized an Internet campaign to get staffers their pay. “Everyone wants to know who this guy is and give him a big hug.” Friday also saw continued movement by Brobeck lawyers to new firms. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe hired bankruptcy partner Frederick Holden Jr. and tax partner Grady Bolding. The firm announced earlier that it had hired James Baker, chair of Brobeck’s ERISA litigation practice group. And Los Angeles -based Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory has hired a group of real estate litigators for its San Francisco office. With the addition of partner Nicholas Waranoff, of counsel Ivan Gold and associate William Huckins, the office has 38 lawyers. The hires place Allen Matkins in an unusual position, since the firm is representing Brobeck’s landlord, Equity Office Properties-One Market, in an action against Brobeck. EOP filed an unlawful detainer complaint against the firm last week to regain the premises and receive back rent for Brobeck’s San Francisco headquarters. Partners in Brobeck’s Los Angeles and Austin offices also landed at new firms. Atlanta-based employment firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart hired partner Paul Gleason and associates Howard Magee and Torey Favarote in its Los Angels office and associates Scott Brutocao and Rayna Jones in its Austin office. As lawyers continued to find new jobs, staff members have set up a message board on Yahoo to exchange information about employment opportunities. The last remaining Brobeck employees have tried to keep some semblance of normalcy — though at times they’ve had to dig deep to stay positive. The office coffee machine was carted away, so a staff member brought in a Mr. Coffee. Every morning employees have been bringing in treats to keep each other’s spirits up. Even the company that supplies boxes for Brobeck removed its inventory, and staff have had to bring in their own to cart away personal belongings. A senior paralegal said a lack of communication from Brobeck management has caused confusion and anger. She also said partners might have difficulty finding client files since the manager of records couldn’t get permission to put out a memo on protocol and procedures for dealing with records. “Some people are sad,” the paralegal said. “But there’s really a lot of anger. Who wouldn’t feel screwed?”

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