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Fried Frank Attorneys Pivot During Pandemic Slowdown (Corrected)

June 5, 2020, 1:04 PMUpdated: June 5, 2020, 1:49 PM

Real estate transactions have been on the decline during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting property lawyers to shift to advising clients on other issues, like how to navigate contracts and handle unpaid rent. Fried Frank real estate lawyer Jennifer Yashar and litigator Joshua Roth say they’re starting to see more questions about reopening commercial spaces as stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Force’ Questions: The healthcare and economic crises stemming from the pandemic have many clients exploring whether certain real estate contract obligations may be suspended under force majeure clauses in those agreements, Yashar and Roth said.

Getting Personal: The shift to telework in response to Covid-19 has given Roth the chance to make a more “personal” connection with clients through video meetings, he said. It has also offered some insight into how others manage working from home. Mary Ellen Egan has the story.

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DAILY BRIEF


Law Firms

Arnold & Porter Joins Black Lives Matter to Sue Trump
Black Lives Matter is getting an assist from a prominent Washington law firm in a new lawsuit against President Donald Trump by protesters who say they were violently dispersed from an event near the White House.

Law Firms Call for Social Justice, Despite Own Diversity Issues
Major law firms have denounced racial inequality and pledged push for change in the wake of protests across the country, but some attorneys say platitudes alone won’t cut it from an industry still struggling with diversity issues.

In-House

Zoom Looking for General Counsel After Legal Chief’s Promotion
The top in-house lawyer at Zoom Video Communications Inc. is moving up in the C-suite as the video teleconferencing platform enjoys increasing popularity and profits amid the coronavirus crisis.

Comcast, Ticketmaster, TiVo Reshuffle Legal, Regulatory Ranks
The world’s second-largest broadcasting and cable television network announced June 3 its promotion of Rose to replace Kathryn Zachem as head of its federal, state, and local government affairs and regulatory team.

SAP NS2 Hires National Security Vet as Next General Counsel
SAP National Security Services Inc. has hired former federal prosecutor and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft partner Joseph Moreno as its next general counsel.

Business of Law

Headhunter’s Case Against Freshfields Over Lateral Hire Narrowed
Headhunting agency Boston Executive Search Associates Inc.'s case against Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP over the law firm’s lateral hiring of a partner will be narrowed, but not dismissed entirely, a Massachusetts federal court said.

UnitedLex, Polsinelli Target Intellectual Property Clients
Polsinelli and alternative legal services provider UnitedLex are launching a new collaboration, this time to help businesses develop and protect intellectual property assets.

Judiciary

Supreme Court Faces Transparency Test After Livestream Success
The justices have long-shunned any technological encroachment on their in-person argument sessions. Now, fresh off of their lauded live-audio debut—prompted by coronavirus social distancing measures—they’re left with little excuse not to continue the practice, especially when they return to the bench.

Justin Walker’s Nomination to D.C. Circuit Goes to Full Senate
President Donald Trump’s latest nomination to the court often referred to as the second highest in the land advances to the full Senate.

Follow Bloomberg Law’s global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic on our Coronavirus Outbreak channel, and track the latest changes in the federal court operations with our interactive map.

WAKE-UP CALL


Covid Spurs Students to Reconsider Legal Career: Survey
In today’s column, a Ropes & Gray associate guaranteed bail for a lawyer friend accused of firebombing a NYPD police car in the George Floyd protests; U.K. insurance firm Kennedys launched an office in San Francisco; the SEC awarded a record $50 million to a whistle-blower in a financial misconduct case; the judge in the iPhone throttling securities class action against Apple let some claims go forward, and she also relegated the lead plaintiffs counsel; a report finds no progress in two years on pay disparities for Canadian minority and women in-house counsel.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: A New Target of ERISA Class Actions—COBRA Notices
Employers should ensure their COBRA continuation notices adhere to Department of Labor rules. Mayer Brown attorneys cite an increase in class action lawsuits arising from allegedly improper COBRA election notices and offer steps employers can take to avoid being a target of litigation.

INSIGHT: Tips for Using Fingerprint Biometrics Effectively and Safely
Companies using fingerprint biometrics in the workplace need to take several actionable steps to effectively leverage the technology in a manner that minimizes security risks and complies with the law. Blank Rome LLP attorneys walk through five steps to address privacy, notice, consent, security, and vendor management.

INSIGHT: Covid-19 Expert Witnesses—These Specialties Will Be Indispensable
The wave of lawsuits contending with the immense human and economic impact of Covid-19 is upon us, and growing. Experts of all stripes will be in enormous demand to assist in assessing merits of claims in areas like loss causation, workplace safety, nursing home care, and force majeure, says GLG Law’s David Solomon.

INSIGHT: Pandemic Offers Chance to Reshape Conversation Around Water Services
The nation’s water utilities are putting the needs of low-income individuals at the forefront during the pandemic, including restoring service to delinquent accounts and suspending service shutoffs. Executives from three water nonprofits call for the federal government to provide relief to public water and wastewater systems so they can fulfill their duty to ensure that everyone has access to safe and clean water.

INSIGHT: Fraudulent Transportation Insurance Claims Could Hit $200M
The Covid-19 pandemic is creating an onslaught of insurance claims, and Segal McCambridge attorneys say the transportation industry is likely facing a spike in cargo loss claims in excess of 250% over the coming years. They look at lessons from the Great Recession in 2008 that can help transportation insurers avoid fraudulent cargo claims.

INSIGHT: CARES Act Medicare Money—A View From Former Prosecutors
The CARES Act has dozens of strings attached for Medicare providers, including multiple certifications for the providers to attest to. Squire Patton Boggs attorneys, all former prosecutors, examine how law enforcement may scrutinize these certifications and give tips on how providers who receive CARES Act funds can insulate themselves from such scrutiny.

WORKFLOWS

Buchalter hired litigators Vincent Whittaker as a shareholder and Skye Daley as an associate in San Diego; both arrive from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith | Sheppard Mullin added Lindsay H. Ferguson and T. Allen McConnell as partners to the Corporate and Securities practice group in Dallas from Hunton Andrews Kurth | Barnes & Thornburg has added Grant T. Pecor as a partner in its Labor and Employment practice, and he will work out of the Grand Rapids and Chicago offices | Foley Hoag hired Jeffrey I.D. Lewis as a partner in the Intellectual Property Department and member of the Intellectual Property Litigation practice in New York from Norton Rose Fulbright | Allen & Overy has appointed Patrick Mischo as Office Senior Partner to its Luxembourg office | John Ahern has joined Covington’s Financial Services Industry Group as a partner in London.

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(An earlier version of this newsletter incorrectly identified Roth as a real estate attorney, rather than a litigator.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jerome Ashton in Washington at jashton@bloomberglaw.com

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