I'm very surprised that so many esteemed lawyers could throw their entire firm away on something that was "more likely than not" legal. Why you would risk so much on "more likely than not"?
This is an glaring example of why the legal profession has such a bad rep in this country. Greed very clearly overtook sense and legality.
Very, very true.
The climate was different back in the late 1990's. The IRS was less aggressive at clamping down on shelters, and the increased wealth of the booming markets meant there was a lot of money being made by potential clients and a lot of money you could make if you could come up with a "more likely than not" tax shelter strategy. A whole bunch of shelters came out then from well-known accounting and law firms - think KPMG, BDO Seidman, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, and many, many others (These are some free articles through Google news archives... http://www.usatoday.com/money/finance/2002-07-10-tax-shelters.htm
I guess I have nothing more to add other than, "but everybody else was doing it." Ha.