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Law Firms Rush to Get Bills Out, See More IOUs During Covid-19

June 17, 2020, 1:01 PM

Some cash-strapped clients have turned to their law firms for some relief to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, asking for everything from rate discounts, to alternative fee arrangements and deferred payments.

Tightened Purse Strings: Though worst-case scenario delays in payment in many cases have failed to materialize for firms during the second quarter, the ongoing crisis may have clients tightening their legal spend. This has taught some law firms the value in being more disciplined in their billing and collections practices.

Billing Benefits: “This has shown to firms the benefit of a more rigorous approach around how they bill and how they collect,” Gretta Rusanow, head of advisory services for the law firm group at Citi Private Bank, said of the current crisis. Meghan Tribe has the story.

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DAILY BRIEF


Law Firms

White & Case Hires Quinn Emanuel Trial Chair
Tara Lee, co-chair of the national trial practice at Quinn Emanuel, has joined White & Case as a partner in Washington.

King & Spalding Expands to Virginia Hub for U.S. Contracting
King & Spalding is opening a Northern Virginia office to expand its client reach in the areas of technology, including life sciences and health care, aerospace, and government contracting.

In-House

Ex-Time Warner Lawyer Shifts to Family Honda Dealership
Marcie Jacob, a former vice president of employment law at Time Warner, has taken on a very different kind of role as chief compliance officer at a Bronx Honda dealership.

Twitter Hires Former FBI General Counsel Amid Fight With Trump
Twitter Inc. has brought on former FBI general counsel James Baker to its growing legal department as the company remains locked in a highly public battle with President Donald Trump over guidelines on its popular social media platform.

Ethics

Indiana Disbars Lawyer Who Spent Assistant’s Payroll Withholding
An Indiana attorney who spent money withheld for his assistant’s social security contribution and neglected a client’s case has been disbarred by the state’s highest court.

Georgia Lawyer-Turned-Pastor Can Be Readmitted, Court Says
A Georgia lawyer who turned to the church upon surrendering his license for taking $90,000 from a client is fit to practice law again, the state’s high court said.

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


U.K. Legal’s 5% Drop in April Revenues Is ‘Good News’
In today’s column, Morgan Stanley’s ex-diversity chief, who used to work in Big Law, is accusing the investment bank of mistreating black women; most in-house lawyers told a recent survey their departments spend too much on outside counsel; Boies Schiller may have applied for federal Covid bailout funds; the Trump administration is suing to prevent publication of a book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton; a program started by Georgetown Law and Sheppard Mullin aims to get police to stop misconduct by colleagues.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: Retailers Considering Bankruptcy Should Look to CARES Act, Court Rulings
Retailers hit by the economic downturn are considering bankruptcy protections. Perkins Coie LLP attorneys say the CARES Act offers small businesses access to the streamlined Subchapter 5 process and recent rulings from bankruptcy courts provide cash flow relief for certain retailers operating under Chapter 11 through deferral of rent obligations, at least for now.

INSIGHT: Finding a Middle Ground on PFAS Using a Four-Step Process
Scientists, regulators, and concerned communities often fall into one of two groups: one says all PFAS should be banned and the other says PFAS are so different that each must be evaluated, classified and regulated individually. Barbara J. Henry, PhD, a toxicologist with W. L. Gore & Associates, says there’s a middle way forward if we group PFAS by their properties.

INSIGHT: Big Data in the Wake of Covid-19—A Conundrum for Enforcers
Big tech companies have provided critical services during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this factor could make raising the question of whether enforcement agencies will become more hesitant to go after their potential antitrust violations, Robins Kaplan attorneys write. They look at recent announcements by Google, Apple, and Amazon, potential public health uses for big data, and the antitrust implications of these companies’ roles in a post-pandemic world.

INSIGHT: Redesign the Legal System for More Than Just Lawyers
BYU Law School Dean D. Gordon Smith and SixFifty CEO Kimball Dean Parker say the U.S. civil justice system, designed by lawyers for lawyers, needs to be reformed. They point out ways to fix the system and how to make the law more accessible to those who need it most, particularly given the current pandemic.

INSIGHT: Liability Risks for Companies Pivoting to Covid-19 Supplies
The rapid transformation by manufacturers to switch gears and design and produce equipment related to the Covid-19 pandemic raises potential liability issues. Crowell & Moring attorneys explore the legal risks associated with these rapid developments and provide tips to mitigate them.

WORKFLOWS


K&L Gates added Skylor Hearn as a government affairs advisor in its public policy and law practice in Austin | Squire Patton Boggs picked up internal dispute resolution partner Ravinder Bhullar in Dubai and arrives with senior associate Alex Freeman, from the Dubai office of Dechert | Alston & Bird hired consumer financial services in-house veteran John Redding as a partner in Los Angeles from Buckley | Bradley added former bank officer George Barber as senior attorney in Dallas | Jenner & Block announced that communications lawyer Zeb Zankel has joined as a partner in its Communications, Internet and Technology Practice from Los Angeles.

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

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