Monday, August 20, 2007

Do These Come in a Size 6?

The Law Offices of Marty Lipton (a.k.a WLRK) is known as the top M&A shop in the country (the M&A department often overshadows its lesser known and certainly less lucrative landlord tenant practice group). Lipton didn’t earn this reputation by accident. Though Lipton’s tenacity in the boardroom certainly helps, his corporate A-List clients are often most impressed with the firm’s understanding of rudimentary financial principles.

According to one C.E.O., “You’d be surprised how many corporate attorneys don’t know the difference between debt and equity. I was once asked by a prominent M&A attorney if an ‘L.B.O’ is a type of sandwich. I guess I can see how someone could confuse an ‘L.B.O.’ with a ‘B.L.T.”…I don’t know, I just expected a little more.”

Lipton took note of his clients’ needs. Unlike other Wall Street Firm’s, Lipton insists that his attorneys possess an understanding of corporate finance. He often encourages his associates to role up their sleeves and get dirty (This may explain the recent implementation of casual weekends at the firm). We hear that first year associates are required to attend a number of lectures, seminars and even field trips. According to one associate, “Though I enjoyed the speaker on high yield debt, I really learned the most from our trip to the women’s shoe sale at Saks Fifth Avenue.”

Leave it to corporate law guru Marty Lipton to unhinge the wealth of knowledge that one can gain by observing the carnage of a women’s shoe sale. Pure genius!

In 1987, the summer associate’s annual field trip to the N.Y.S.E was cut short when the stock exchange was unexpectedly closed for renovations. “We were really disappointed when we got there and the stock exchange was closed,” lamented one summer associate. Rather than returning to Lipton’s midtown Manhattan offices for an afternoon of document review, Lipton instructed the bus driver to take them to Saks Fifth Avenue. That’s right, Saks Fifth Avenue!

Though undoubtedly puzzled by Lipton’s decision to re-route the field trip to a department store, the astute summer associates quickly realized that Lipton had made a calculated gambit that was about to pay out great dividends (ironically, they had no idea what a dividend was prior to that day). What has the same feverish intensity of the N.Y.S.E’s trading floor? Where else does business acumen, or any sort of acumen for that matter, play second fiddle to cutthroat instincts? What makes the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange look like Pee Wee’s Playhouse? A women’s shoe sale!

The sound is deafening. Tissue paper litters the ground. Women frantically gesture across the “pit,” indicating their shoe size to sales associates. “It’s kill or be killed. Take no prisoners!” exclaimed one woman set on “bidding” on a pair of designer pumps that were 50% off.

Since that fateful summer day, the Saks Fifth Avenue semi-annual women’s shoe sale (up to 50% off with friends and family) has become an institution for WLRK summer associates. The summer associate educational program also includes a trip to Ben Benson’s steakhouse, the Empire State Building’s observation deck, and European bottle service at the Sound Factory Nightclub.


Anonymous said...

i dont get it...any of it.

Anonymous said...

hahahah. i got an a- in my corp finance class at a major law school in nyc. and get this: i was a nerdy, redneck, ex-engineer in a class full of wall street and big 4 accounting types. after this and some of the questions in class, i know why the financial world is upside down right now....


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