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ABA Passes Access to Justice Resolution After Opposition Fades

Feb. 18, 2020, 1:37 PM

The American Bar Association passed a resolution encouraging state bars to explore innovative approaches to access to justice by voice vote on Monday, after several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations during which its passage seemed unclear.

Last Minute Changes: Proponents of Resolution 115 prevailed in the House of Delegates vote during the ABA midyear meeting in Austin, Texas, in part because they were willing to adjust the proposal’s language to make it more palatable to detractors who had been concerned about its possible impact on legal industry independence.

Come Together: ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said that attorneys need to work to come together on the access to justice issue. “This is what lawyers do best. We have varying perspectives, but we listen to each other,” Martinez said after the vote. “This was a significant day for the ABA.” Sam Skolnik has the story.

DAILY BRIEF

Law Firms

Morrison & Foerster Women Move to Drop Classwide Sex Bias Claims
Two women accusing Morrison & Foerster LLP of systemic bias against pregnant women and new mothers are looking to drop their claims for classwide relief, federal court records show.

Fox Rothschild, Ousted Lawyer Look to Nix Sexual Harassment Suit
Fox Rothschild LLP told a New York federal court a former administrative assistant’s sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit should be dismissed. Or at least most of her claims should be and the remainder transferred to federal court in New Jersey, where she worked, according to court filings.

Ethics

Bar Group Aims For Lasting Impact With Access to Justice Report
An upcoming report from a leading legal ethics group could add significant momentum to the growing movement to bridge the chronic legal services gap for middle-class and poorer citizens.

Avenatti Found Guilty of Trying to Extort Millions From Nike
Michael Avenatti was convicted of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc. and defrauding a client in the process, completing a steep fall for a celebrity lawyer who shot to national attention by styling himself as a foil for President Donald Trump.

Lawyer Who Linked ATM Card to Escrow Account Hit With 3-Year Ban
A New York lawyer who siphoned money from an escrow account using his ATM card has been slapped with a three-year suspension by a state appellate court for that and other professional ethics violations.

In-House Non-Compete Clauses Break Ethics Rule, Ohio Court Says
Ohio lawyers working in-house can’t agree to non-compete clauses in their employment contracts because they restrict their autonomy and the ability of their clients to choose their representation, the state high court advised.

WAKE-UP CALL

Kirkland Gets $765 Million IP Win for Motorola
In today’s column, DLA Piper topped $3 billion in revenues for the first time last year. Partners at a handful of Big Law firms last year rode work on litigation and corporate megadeals to average profits topping $3 million; but big firms are not prepared for the next recession and might need a “Brody Moment” to wake up.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: Washington’s Proposed Privacy Act—Navigating the Requirements
A new version of a Washington state privacy bill proposes to grant consumers expansive rights and places additional obligations on businesses. Fox Rothschild attorneys examine key components of the act.

INSIGHT: Don’t Let Your Shield Down—FTC Gets Tough on EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework
The FTC flexing its enforcement muscles with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, so U.S. companies doing business with EU customers need to carefully examine their privacy policies. Buckley LLP attorneys provide a guide on how to successfully navigate within the framework’s compliance requirements.

INSIGHT: FCPA’s Benefits, Advantages Outweigh Opposition Arguments
President Trump has spoken about his distrust of the FCPA, a law opponents claim disadvantage U.S. businesses. Stroock’s Joel Cohen and Columbia Law School’s Jennifer Rodgers say this opposition is misplaced, as the law’s success is well documented, including predictability for corporations and fringe benefits like stronger internal controls, improved quality control, and prevention of human rights abuses.

WORKFLOWS

Shearman & Sterling will launch its Dallas office with three M&A partners from Jones Day, and three partners who will move from the firm’s Houston office | Crowell & Moring’s global policy and regulatory affairs affiliate is opening up shop in Singapore, its first formal office in Southeast Asia | Jackson Walker announced the election of 11 attorneys to partnership | Thompson Hine recently elected nine new partners | Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell said that Patricia DeSantis Belton (Labor & Employment Dept.) and Neill Brower (Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Dept.) – both in the Los Angeles office - and Joseph Mellema (Litigation Department, Orange County) have been promoted to partnership | Norton Rose Fulbright appointed Peter Scott as Managing Partner for Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA), effective Apr. 1 | Gordon Rees has relocated their Irvine office to 5 Park Plaza, Suite 1100, Irvine, CA 92614 | Irell & Manella said that Andrew Krause and Dominik Slusarczyk of Los Angeles have been promoted to counsel | Dentons announced their combination with Kensington Swan in New Zealand to further its Australasia growth strategy | Williams & Connolly recently appointed partners David I. Berl, Jessamyn S. Berniker, and Kevin Hardy as Co-Chairs of the Patent Litigation practice | Barnes & Thornburg added Christian Exnert in Chicago; associates Abraham Llama, Brian Saling and Devin Schoonmaker to the Atlanta office; and associate Anthony Sallah to the Grand Rapids, MI office | Jones Day announced that Elizabeth McRee (based in Chicago) has been appointed Co-Practice Leader of its Labor & Employment Practice; she joins Matt Lampe (based in New York) in co-leading the Practice.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Kaufman in Washington at bkaufman@bloomberglaw.com

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