Odds and Ends
Howrey's demise, more deals and steals at Borders, and the quest for the perfect bourbon.
6:25 PM, Mar 22, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Last week, the partners at Howrey, LLP, voted to dissolve the 55-year-old firm. Most of the top brass have already been snatched up by other firms like Winston & Strawn and Baker Botts. Those who have yet to find new jobs will supposedly be paid until May 9. (Yet eerily, the firm's website is still up, still looking like it's open for business, listing partners in London and elsewhere who have long since fled, still looking like the firm that once pulled in more than half a billion dollars a year.)
Howrey CEO Bob Ruyak explained to the Wall Street Journal how and why the firm disintegrated (the steep decline in contingency fees, competition, and the resulting mass exodus of talent). The Washingon Post's Steve Pearlstein offers his own postmortem:
The Legal Times blog reports that the mood is "tense—but mostly very sad.... There’s no ceremony to mark the firm’s demise, although [spokeswoman Chris Till] said employees are gathering for an informal, low-key get together this afternoon."
Meanwhile at the soon-to-be-shuttered Borders at 18th & L, I found a few more bargains: Susan Boyle: The Woman I Was Born to Be was $29.95 but with a 30 percent discount can be had for only $21. David Archuleta's eponymous album is also on sale, previously priced at $18.99 but now $13.30. Yes, it was once on sale for $18.99.
I joke but, in fact, I did walk away with two items from the super-deal section in the rear of the main floor near the biography shelf—a dense pictorial history of modern military aircraft went for $6.99 (perfect for my son) and an even cheaper DK book on golf tips (probably useless for the father). There were also a few copies left of a history of weapons, priced similarly around $6.99.
A reader recently wrote in, regarding my mention of another reader who tried to hide a book until he could get it for 40 percent off (the book was gone when he returned). Here is what this person writes:
"How nice. It is because of cheapskates and conniving, dishonest, greedy customers like this that Borders stores are closing and I am out of a job. I will make it my business in the few days I may have left to recover all such 'hidden' merchandise and place it where the original 'hider' will never find it."
When I asked one of the cashiers if the store would still be open next week, he assured me it would be at least until April. "Is that next week?" he then asked.
Also, the cafe is now closed.
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