Yeah, kill all the lawyers, but good luck eviscerating McKee Nelson, the law firm that vetted the sneaky scheme by Goldman Sachs to sell America short. It’s long gone.
It won’t be missed — except to answer questions. Some of the 901 pages of documents in the SEC’s case against CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s Goldman crew strongly hint that Goldman’s outside counsel may have been directly involved in Goldman’s lack of disclosure about how shitty this CDO was.
What did McKee Nelson know about Goldman’s side-bet chicanery? Who knows? Should we expect someone to hang? As we keep pointing out (and now Bill Clinton agrees), Goldman probably didn’t break any laws, except in God’s eyes, and what’s She going to do about it?
The small but extremely powerful McKee Nelson was flying high when it signed off as “outside counsel” for Goldman on the designed-to-fail Abacus collateralized debt obligation in 2007. It was getting its butt kissed in the national press for raking in more money per partner than any other in D.C. (It operated in both NYC and D.C.) A few months later, though, McKee Nelson was crashing as the subprime mortgage market crashed. By July 2009, it didn’t even exist.
As Zach Lowe points out in AmLaw Daily, Goldman probably wasn’t looking for an “outside” opinion on its particularly slimy deal:
In a Jan. 26, 2007, e-mail outlining the Abacus deal now being scrutinized by the SEC, Goldman executive Fabrice Tourre, the only person charged by the SEC so far, wrote that Goldman was using McKee as outside counsel “since they have a deep knowledge of the ABACUS transactions documents.” Tourre added that, “I am afraid that if we use counsel not familiar with our deal structure, legal expenses might be significantly higher than otherwise, and the transaction execution might take more time.”