Long, a partner at Davis & Kuelthau in Milwaukee. “I’m guessing this is
something the bank sent out hoping some people would send money back.
It’s an aggressive move on behalf of the bank and very unusual.”
Thacher Proffitt & Wood is the only failed firm known to be pursuing
incoming first-years for funds advanced before they reported for work. Representatives of three other defunct firms—Dreier, WolfBlock and Heller
Ehrman—didn’t respond to a request for comment or declined comment.
However, Thelen, whose partners voted to dissolve at the end of 2008, isn’t
seeking the return of any fees paid to incoming associates.
“It just wasn’t anything we considered in connection with administering
the windup of the firm,” says Doug Davidson from the firm’s dissolution
committee. “I don’t believe the amounts were material relative to other
items,” he says, “and had we discussed the matter, my belief is that we
would have concluded that those students were incurring enough difficulty as a result of not having a job with Thelen and having to find another
job elsewhere.” ■
SERVING GAYS ON THE NET
New website helps prepare documents,
By Julie Kay
IT WAS THE 2004 ELECTION, AND LINDALISA SEVERO
was distressed. The Atlanta lawyer and gay rights
activist was disturbed by the number of anti-gay-marriage amendments on state ballots (including in
her own state of Georgia) and thought other gays and
lesbians were being systematically denied legal rights
available to the general population.
So she got the idea to start an online service where the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community could
turn to have legal documents prepared—everything from
living wills to parenting agreements to powers of attorney.
Her idea was to have an easy and affordable way for
gays and lesbians to fill out forms online without having
to visit a lawyer. She realized that while same-sex couples
in big cities may feel comfortable visiting lawyers, those
in smaller, rural or conservative towns might not. She also
wanted the service to be affordable.
After Severo teamed up with her brother, Internet guru
Tony Severo, as well as online legal services provider
RocketLawyer.com and other partners, she launched
LegalOut this spring.
In addition to document preparation, LegalOut offers
document storage and sharing, news blogs, links to petitions and other activist sites, and a referral network of
lawyers sympathetic to LGBT causes.
The service costs $20 a month or $120 annually for unlimited document preparation, with the first document
“I felt like if they weren’t recognized by the law, at
least legally same-sex couples could be tied together,”
says Severo. “I’ve heard horror
stories of one of the partners passing away and the family taking the
house and leaving the other partner with nothing.
“If you’re not protected as an
LGBT couple, you could really
lose a lot.”
Even in states that don’t ban
same-sex marriage, same-sex couples often lack the right to visit
hospitalized partners, to make
health care decisions for ill partners or to assume community
property when partners die. They
also may have no clear-cut separation or parenting-rights agreements.
LegalOut is one of several online legal documentation services
that have sprung up in the last few
years. Pink Legal offers similar
services in the United Kingdom.
RocketLawyer.com and Rainbow
Law Center do so in the United
Many of the services, like LegalOut, are state-specific: The online
LegalOut founder Lindalisa Severo