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Legal Daily News Feature

More Wall Street Meltdown News


By Stony Olsen

Another day, another bailout on Wall Street, where the government has just agreed to extend an $85-billion loan to
insurance giant AIG. In return, AIG will be paying a very high interest rate and giving the feds an almost an 80% stake
in the firm. In other words, the shareholders of AIG just lost 80% of what was left of their shares’ value.

09/18/08 follow Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers in waving the


white flag. So, more legal work and mega-deals are likely
Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers is feeling to follow.
slightly better now that Barclays, a
British bank, has agreed to purchase In addition, there are growing expectations for a massive
most of the firm for $1.75 billion. litigation resurgence. The former Lord Chancellor, Lord
Lehman’s employees, however, might Falconer, has predicted a litigation boom in the wake of
be forced to give back any bonuses Lehman’s bankruptcy. At a conference in London, Falconer
from last year, as those payments may said that “[t]here is going to be litigation on a scale
be scrutinized under the bankruptcy that we have not seen before.” He went on to predict
regime Lehman is now under. Clearly Gottlieb advised the emergence of “a new era” for litigation and dispute
Barclays on its deal to snag Lehman, which should generate resolution.
a lot of work for the firm.
With AIG, however, existing class action lawsuits are likely
Davis Polk & Wardwell, meanwhile, advised the Treasury on to take a huge hit, as the collapse of the firm’s value means
their bailout of AIG, while Sullivan & Cromwell represented that any potential returns are likely to be greatly reduced.
the troubled insurance giant in the matter.
After the panic is over (soon, we hope), it will be interesting
There may well be some silver linings in the meltdown after to see the legal ramifications as some firms get fatter and
all, even as it appears that the carnage may not be over. others shrink. Early money has Cadwalader taking another
Washington Mutual, and possibly Morgan Stanley, may yet hit.

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