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For Big Law, ‘Diversification’ One Antidote to Virus Fallout

April 23, 2020, 12:21 PM

The Big Law market already favors the strong, and that may only become more pronounced as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Firms with more diversified practices, usually big, rich partnerships, have a natural hedge against acute damage being inflicted upon certain industries.

Oil and Gas: Houston’s oil and gas market is one prime example. Firms with Texas roots tend to have M&A practices more heavily concentrated in the region’s energy market compared to national competitors who have opened Houston offices.

Deal Flow: M&A involving Texas energy companies was at lows not seen since 2009 in the first quarter. The broader M&A market has been slowed by the coronavirus, but not to the same extent.

Roy Strom has more in this week’s Big Law Business column.

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DAILY BRIEF


Law Firms

Remote Arguments Pose New Challenges, Routines For Lawyers
Appellate attorneys are adjusting to remote arguments as the virus keeps them away from federal courts across the country. Despite a few technical difficulties, lawyers are discovering new workarounds and tricks to argue by video or phone

Business of Law

Google, Perkins Coie Get Federal Circuit Argument Reinstated
A female associate at Perkins Coie LLP will argue her first case at the Federal Circuit after the firm and its client, Alphabet Inc.'s Google, persuaded the court to reschedule a hearing canceled by the coronavirus.

King & Spalding’s Fees-Related Documents Won’t Be Destroyed
King & Spalding LLP may withdraw its attorneys’ fees request connected to winning a FOIA case against the government, but a federal judge in Washington refused to destroy the underlying exhibits supporting the request.

In House

Top Fox Media Lawyer to Go Without Pay Through September
Prominent litigator Viet Dinh will forgo his salary at the parent company of Fox News and Fox Sports through Sept. 30 as a result of the coronavirus crisi

Legal Tech

Legal Tech Group Lays Off Eight Amid Virus-Spurred Slowdown
The International Legal Technology Association has laid off eight workers and furloughed another five because of the coronavirus and its related impact upon the legal tech economy, trade group officials said.

Ethics

Lawyer Who Texted Undercover Officer Posing as Teen Suspended
An Ohio lawyer who through text messages tried to solicit an undercover officer posing as a teenager was suspended indefinitely by the state’s highest court.

Ohio Lawyer Who Took $128K From Mentally Ill Client Suspended
An Ohio attorney who stole from and overcharged a client nearly $129,000 was indefinitely suspended by the state’s highest court.

WAKE-UP CALL

McDermott Axes Professional Staff in Covid-19 Move
In today’s column, new data show the Covid-19 pandemic has created opportunity for federal lobbying firms; Big Law firms that planned major office moves in London now face extra expenses because of construction delays; the Texas State Bar’s health insurance exchange is getting a lot of use from recently laid off lawyers; two Greenspoon Marder lawyers helped rapper Pitbull trademark his signature “grito"; former VP and current Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is scheduled to address Columbia Law grads via YouTube.

BLOOMBERG LAW ANALYSIS

ANALYSIS: Feds Seize PPE Using Unlitigated Hoarding Statute
Federal law lacks an explicit statute against price gouging, which is the subject of a patchwork of state laws. However, the Department of Justice has developed a task force against hoarding and price gouging, and has begun seizing medical supplies and investigating cases.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

  • Over 828,819 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 45,698 people have lost their lives. Global confirmed cases of Covid-19 surpass 2,600,000 worldwide, with deaths topping 182,000.
  • Courts across the country continue to extend their original orders limiting operations as the virus lingers. The Virginia Supreme Court extended its judicial emergency through May 17, and the Western District of Tennessee extended its continuance of in-person proceedings until after May 30.


Follow the latest changes in court operations using our interactive map.

Follow Bloomberg Law reporters on Twitter as they track updates from courts across the country with the hashtag #COVID19Courts.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: Is Plastics Litigation the Next Public Nuisance?
King & Spalding attorneys say an environmental institute’s lawsuit claiming single-use plastic packaging is killing marine animals invites a single court to transform the everyday use of plastic bottles into a national tort and could lead to a patchwork of answers to a large-scale environmental issue.

INSIGHT: SCOTUS Montana Superfund Ruling Will Have Ripple Effect
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that landowners on a Superfund site in Montana may proceed with state law claims regarding their restoration plan, which goes further than the EPA and Atlantic Richfield’s plan. Peter Keays, with Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, says the case has significant implications for landowner rights, the EPA’s authority, and the role of state law claims and state courts in the Superfund realm.

INSIGHT: Just When It’s Most Critical, Republicans Seek End of Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act remains one of our best resources in the struggle to contain the coronavirus. The White House and Republican state officials seeking to void the ACA should withdraw their case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, write Harvard Law Professor Robert Greenwald and Will Dobbs-Allsopp.

INSIGHT: FDA Makes Three (Regulatory) Orders Helping Restaurants
Restaurants are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and are fighting to stay afloat during state “stay at home” orders. Mintz attorneys discuss the FDA’s recent orders regarding food labeling, which are aimed at helping the food industry during this emergency period.

INSIGHT: Health-Care Transactions Will Pick Back Up After Virus
Although 2020 health-care transaction started off at the same fast pace as prior years, the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down much of the deal activity. Epstein Becker & Green attorneys take a look at what to expect in 2020 after the dust settles and activity picks back up.

Med Student Takes Anti-Abortion Facebook Rant Case to High Court
A former University of New Mexico medical student asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive his First Amendment lawsuit challenging the school’s decision to make him undergo professionalism training after he posted a profanity-laced anti-abortion screed on Facebook.

WORKFLOWS

Fish & Richardson said that Joy Backer Kete has joined the Litigation Group as an associate in Boston from WilmerHale | Dickinson Wright announced that attorney Flavia Campbell has joined the Phoenix office | O’Melveny added Michael Hamilton and Timothy Evans as partners in the Project Development & Real Estate Practice in Los Angeles from DLA Piper | Blank Rome added worklaw attorneys Andrew I. Herman and Mariette Mooyman as associates in Philadelphia | Buchalter hired tax attorney Parisa Weiss as special counsel in San Diego in its Tax, Benefits, & Estate Planning practice; she arrives from Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek | Mayer Brown has added Trevor Borthwick as a partner in the Banking & Finance practice in London; he previously served as the global head of corporate lending at Allen & Overy | Spencer Fane recently hired Crawford Moorefield as of counsel in the Tax, Trusts, & Estates practice group in Houston | Buckley recently promoted Heidi M. Bauer, Kari K. Hall, H. Joshua Kotin, Susanna K. Sedrak, and Moorari K. Shah to partner.

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

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