Heller Ehrman partners will vote to dissolve the firm on Friday. The news was announced by Chairman Matthew Larrabee at a meeting that began at 1 p.m. today, according to a Heller staffer in attendance. Larrabee told all attorneys and staff that dissolution is unavoidable and that the partnership is expected to vote to voluntarily dissolve, for which a two-thirds vote is reportedly needed. He described the dissolution of the firm as a tragedy for the entire legal industry and, after about 10 minutes, turned the meeting over to partners in each of the firm’s offices for in-person question-and-answer sessions. Staff will be paid on Friday, Larrabee said, and indicated that under the federal WARN Act, associates and staff would be paid for the next 60 days. A small group of staff would remain beyond that date to handle the winding down of the firm’s business. During a New York office meeting following Larrabee’s talk, a partner there said the firm expects to collect at least 90 percent of an estimated $118 million in accounts receivable. Heller has about $6 million in cash, that shareholder reportedly said. By 1:30 p.m., Heller employees were coming out of the firm’s San Francisco headquarters at 333 Bush St., some in tears, some hugging one another for support. They said they don’t know what their next moves would be, or where they’d find work. “This totally sucks,” a shaken woman from the firm’s support staff said softly.
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