Bankruptcy Basics: The 55-year-old firm’s partners voted to dissolve as of March 15, 2011. Less than a month later, a group of unsecured creditors pushed the firm into involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy in San Francisco. Despite an initial insistence by Howrey’s dissolution committee and the firm’s Wiley Rein lawyers that the wind down move to the Washington, D.C., area, the West Coast venue stuck. The bankruptcy proceedings were converted to Chapter 11 in June, and in September U.S. bankruptcy judge Dennis Montali ordered that a trustee take control of the case. Texas attorney Allan Diamond, a partner at Diamond McCarthy, assumed that role in early October.
Financial Status: As of January 31, 2012—the most recent date for which information is available via court filings—the Howrey estate had $38.3 million in total assets, including an art collection valued at $1.2 million and $2.4 million in unrestricted cash in a Citibank account (Citibank is Howrey’s largest creditor). Among the other listed assets: $17.3 million in accounts receivable the estate expects to collect out of a total of $30.3 million in unpaid bills. Diamond has hired the Adler Law Firm in San Francisco and On-Site Associates, a consulting firm specializing in law firm collections, on a contingency-fee basis to help him recover that money from more than 500 former clients and other delinquent parties. The estate’s liabilities are currently unknown, according to the latest operating report (PDF), though earlier filings listed $107 million in total liabilities, and secured creditor Citibank contends in its filings that it alone is owed $40 million.
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