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American Lawyer Media News Service San Francisco-Time may heal all wounds, but it may take an awfully long time for the animus surrounding the collapse of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison to dissipate. As the firm’s liquidation continues, so does the finger pointing. In the past few months there has been an effort by Brobeck’s liquidation committee to recruit some ex-Brobeck staffers to join a possible assault against former Chairman Tower Snow Jr.; former managing partner James Burns Jr.; and their current firm, Clifford Chance. Whether the committee, headed by former Chairman Stephen Snyder, will end up suing Snow is uncertain. But one possible approach has raised questions about its wisdom-and legality. In May, Snyder called a meeting with roughly 20 senior staffers now at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, according to a staffer who communicated with at least one person who attended. Roughly 150 Brobeck lawyers, including Snyder, and 150 staff workers landed at Morgan Lewis after Brobeck announced in late January that it would disband. At that meeting, each staffer received a four-page “Assignment and Release” form. The complex document, obtained by The American Lawyer, a sister publication of The National Law Journal, offered the workers the chance to join a potential suit against Snow, Burns and Clifford Chance. Claims could include breach of fiduciary duty, unfair com-petition and other “conduct which contributed to financial distress and liquidation of [Brobeck],” the document states. Snow declined to comment. But to join the suit, staffers would have to waive any claims against Brobeck for lost wages or benefits, the document stated. These claims would include sums from profit-sharing accounts and 401(k) administrative fees that Brobeck failed to pay last year and that were taken out of workers’ accounts. Snow was no longer at Brobeck when the firm skipped these payments. Despite criticism from Mark Thierman, a Reno, Nev., lawyer representing nearly 50 other former Brobeck staffers who are suing Brobeck and Morgan Lewis, Snyder said he doesn’t think the agreement violates a California law barring waivers of earned wages. “Nobody’s told me there’s anything wrong with . . . giving them this option,” he said. Another issue is whether it’s wise to get staffers riled up to sue those responsible for Brobeck’s collapse. They could end up targeting those who failed to pay the fees for their 401(k) accounts. That could include Brobeck’s final policy committee, led by ex-Chairman Richard Odom, and others now at Morgan Lewis.

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