Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WolfBlock Dissolves

Philadelphia is losing one of its great law firms, Wolf Block. The firm is going out of business: dead, nada, kaput.
Here's a statement from Sayde Ladov, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association on the dissolution of this storied firm:
“This is a sad day for Philadelphia. Our hearts and thoughts go out to our friends and colleagues at Wolf Block.
“Philadelphia is a city brimming with history, and as a century-old institution, Wolf Block is an important part of that tradition. Wolf Block lawyers have been at the forefront of litigation that has changed the face of Philadelphia. In addition, Wolf Block has been an outstanding corporate citizen that has contributed to the common good, producing judges of state and federal courts, former city officials, chancellors of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association and even a president of the American Bar Association.
“This is a difficult day for Philadelphia’s lawyers, reminding us that no one is immune to current economic challenges. Despite the loss of this venerable law firm, however, we remain confident that Philadelphia’s legal community will weather this storm and emerge stronger as a result.”
“As Philadelphia lawyers, we have a responsibility to ensure continued access to justice.
“For more than 200 years, the Philadelphia Bar Association has fought to protect legal rights, advocate due process and ensure the rule of law. We have survived a civil war, two World Wars and a Great Depression.
“I want to assure citizens that Philadelphia’s legal community will survive this economic crisis, too, and that the Philadelphia Bar Association will continue on its mission of promoting access to justice.”
BTW: I don't know who came up with the term "unwind" to describe the liquidation (or dissolution) of Wolf Block but it's a bad term. It's false, artificial. It's like calling layoffs "downsizing" or terming tax increases "revenue enhancements" or calling civilian war deaths "collateral damage."
Maybe these terms came from Bradford Hildebrandt which was brought in to oversee the Wolf Block dissolution. Here's how it was announced:
The partners of WolfBlock LLP have voted to commence an orderly unwinding of the firm's business.
WolfBlock will remain in the practice of law for several months to protect the interests of its clients, employees and creditors. The decision to unwind was reached in view of a confluence of unfavorable factors: the economic recession, especially in the firm's core real estate practice; the constriction of credit occasioned by the ongoing banking crisis; and the intended and anticipated departure of significant partners and practices.
These dreadful, stagnant and hopelessly phony words and phrases stink. They don't fool anyone. They're insulting, dumb and depersonalizing.
I will use this pompous "announcement" in my corporate communications classes as I teach my student's how NOT to announce bad news.

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