Ed. note: This is a weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline, wrapping up the week that was in law and finance. Elie is not a practicing attorney, and anything he says that you listen to can and will be used against you.
So we’re all having fun today with J.P. Morgan, lawyers at Mayer Brown and Simpson Thacher, and their collective $1.5 billion error. The Second Circuit ruled that creditors to the old General Motors may be entitled to $1.5 billion based on a legal mistake in old JPM loan documents.
It might seem weird to use this story as an example in favor of gigantic legal fees, but as you look at how this error happened, you’ll see my point.
JPM loaned GM money as part of a $300 million synthetic loan. Unrelated to that, JPM also financed part of $1.5 billion loan to GM. When GM paid off the first loan, it needed to release JPM’s interest in GM property used to secure the $300 million.
I’m bored already. Evidently, so were lawyers at Mayer Brown. A senior partner delegated part of the task to an associate, who delegated some of the research to a paralegal. The paralegal was unfamiliar with the transaction, probably because he was a paralegal and people spend more time housebreaking their dogs than they spend explaining to a paralegal why they are being asked to do any particular task. The paralegal put in the wrong term because, whatever, he made a mistake researching something no lawyer knows off the top of his head.
From there, the associate copied the mistake into the documents sent to the senior partner without checking the paralegal’s research. The partner send the docs to JPM’s outside counsel without checking the associate’s research. Outside counsel Simpston Thacher didn’t double check or catch the error. Nobody at Mayer Brown, Simpson Thacher, or in-house at GM or JPM caught the mistake. Richard Gere shoved a gerbil up his ass. I know because I read it somewhere. Read more »
In 2011, Dean O’Malley walked away from a high-paying job with no plans for the future, other than to escape the world of finance. His IT job at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had survived the financial crisis, but he had no desire to stick around for the next one. O’Malley had grown tired of the crazy hours, increasing regulation and negative stigma. “Banking was one of those industries where we were seen as the root of all evil. I felt like I wasn’t really doing any positive work,” the Southern California native told CNNMoney. Just two weeks after leaving his Vice President of Technology post, O’Malley ran into a friend who opened up a very different career path. Her family was launching a business based on jetpacking, an emerging extreme water sport that lets riders fly above the water James Bond-style. Even though he thought jetpacks looked crazy at first, O’Malley eventually agreed to run day-to-day operations and invest in the new business, which launched in Newport Beach, California. Three years later, O’Malley is loving life as president of Jetpack America, a business he’s led to $1 million in annual gross revenue. He’s making just a fraction of what he took home at JPMorgan, but O’Malley said he’s in it for the long haul. “Not a day goes by that I don’t thank myself for walking away from the old job,” said O’Malley, who is 38 years old. [CNNMoney]
After beating cancer, Jamie Dimon — like many survivors — is looking to give back after a life in banking. The 56-year-old JPMorgan Chase chief executive is considering philanthropy and teaching when he leaves the bank he’s helmed for 10 years, he said during his first public appearance in New York since finishing the cancer treatment last month. “I still want to make it a better world,” he said Tuesday at the Javits Center for an industry conference. “I think when I’m done with this, I’m going to do it more directly.” [NYP]
If you’re going to team up with other banks to manipulate interest rates and engage in other shady behavior, just make sure to be the first one to go to regulators and let them know what you’ve all been up to. Read more »
Fact: JP Morgan is interested in moving its headquarters from 270 Park Avenue to a yet-to-be constructed “corporate campus” on the west side of Manhattan. Fact: Real estate developers like the idea of this place, which would cost approximately $6.5 billion to build. Rub: JP Morgan needs the city to entice it to head West, and not that you can put a price on these things but $1 billion would probably be enough to get Jamie and Co. to put their hard hats on. Read more »