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It had been a long day for Jeffrey Davidson. It was already past 5 p.m. on March 22, 2005, and the Kirkland & Ellis partner had spent hours questioning potential jurors. His client, Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., was about to go on trial in state court in West Palm Beach, Fla., charged with defrauding billionaire Ronald Perelman. Perelman wanted $2.7 billion for being stuck with a bunch of worthless securities in Sunbeam Corp., the residue of a deal that Morgan Stanley had concocted. As the long day in court drew to a close, Davidson was surprised when his co-counsel from a local Florida firm stepped forward and handed the lawyers and the judge a three-page document. Davidson had not seen it before. It had been prepared in such haste that it was missing its attachments.

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