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Law Firms to Learn Meaning of ‘Bet the Company’ Work

March 26, 2020, 12:21 PM

As corporate priorities shift in response to the pandemic, some legal work that clients once considered of the utmost importance will no longer be, as law firms love to say, “bet-the-company.”

Cost Cutting to Come: Big Law pricing departments were developed in the wake of the last recession to help clients and law firms reach agreements that provide relief for clients in the short-term and preserve law firms’ health for the long-term.

Proper Responses: Partners will feel pressured to provide billable hour discounts, but pricing experts say that can prolong a downturn for firms. There are plenty of other ways law firms can be empathetic to clients and help them out in a time of need.

Roy Strom has more in the latest Big Law Business column.

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DAILY BRIEF


Law Firms

Baker McKenzie in Talks to Lease Former RBS Office for London HQ
Baker McKenzie is in talks to lease a new London headquarters at the former offices of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s top executives.

Business of Law

Jones Day Advises GM on Effort to Ramp Up Ventilator Production
General Motors Co. turned to longtime legal adviser Jones Day to help handle a partnership with Ventec Life Systems Inc. to produce more ventilators and other medical equipment needed to battle the new coronavirus pandemic.

Death Fears Fuel Demand for Wills, Forcing Lawyers to Improvise
The rising death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is prompting more people, from young health care professionals to the elderly, to prepare their wills in a hurry -- a task being complicated by social distancing and fear of catching the bug.

Texas, N.J. Law Firms Get Suit Over Fees From Mesh Deals Tossed
Texas and Alabama residents who say several Texas-based law firms and a New Jersey firm took excessive fees in pelvic mesh settlements lost their claims, after a federal court in that state ruled Texas, not New Jersey, law applied.

Ethics

Minnesotan’s Tiff Over Estate Tax, Firm Malpractice Thrown Out
A Minnesota man who sued a law firm over accounting malpractice and negligence had his case dismissed by a federal court. The suit related to an estate tax return and a rental fight with the man’s brother over their parent’s farmland.

Nevada Lawyer Who Was No-Show for Clients’ Court Dates Suspended
A Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who knowingly didn’t show up for several clients’ court hearings and failed to reply to requests for information was suspended for six months by the state’s highest court.

Law Schools

States Consider Delays to July Bar Exam in Response to Virus
New York, California, and Florida are among several states that may delay bar exams scheduled for July due to health risks from Covid-19.

WAKE-UP CALL

Remote Litigating Leads to Awkwardness in the ‘Age of Zoom’
In today’s column, federal authorities are easing antitrust rules to let a coalition of health care and tech companies team up to fight the coronavirus pandemic; as leaders in two of Latin America’s biggest economies send mixed messages on the outbreak, multinationals with business in those countries are turning to Big Law firms for advice; BakerHostetler officially launched its Dallas office; and Detroit-based Clark Hill blamed its flat 2019 results on continued costs from a 2018 merger with a Texas firm.

BLOOMBERG LAW ANALYSIS

ANALYSIS: Lawyer Well-Being Critical During Pandemic
Firms that began prioritizing lawyer well-being through new programs, policies, and incentives like work-life programs and alternative hours targets before the coronavirus crisis have a head start in responding to the pandemic. According to a recent Bloomberg Law survey, large law firms are the ones who most likely got this head start.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

  • · At least 65,434 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 937 people have died. Global confirmed cases of Covid-19 now surpass 450,000 worldwide, with deaths topping 21,000.
  • · Many companies have turned to their employment lawyers to understand their legal duties to notify workers about mass layoffs. Management-side attorneys spoke to Bloomberg Law about some of the most common questions they’re getting from businesses.
  • The Third Circuit is closing the doors of its Philadelphia courthouse for several days after two attorneys who appeared at the court recently told the court they had symptoms of coronavirus. Track 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: De Blasio’s Use of Encrypted App Sparks Legal Concerns
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of an encrypted messaging app raises legal and ethical questions, writes Marianna Shafir, with data security solutions company Smarsh. Transparency, especially for public officials, is key to public trust and lack of transparency and data retrieval can result in damaging lawsuits, she says.

INSIGHT: Price Gouging in the Time of Coronavirus
The U.S. is seeing a rise in price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic as the demand for essential items is growing and the supply is dwindling. Akerma LLP’s Lawrence Silverman explores state regulations on the phenomenon and gives strategies for corporate compliance.

INSIGHT: Coronavirus and the Stafford Act--What It Means for Contractors
President Trump’s national emergency declaration triggered the Stafford Act and more federal funding for contractors. Covington attorneys looks at what that entails and the opportunities and considerations for businesses not used to dealing with the federal government.

INSIGHT: Cyber Incidents Call for Privacy Counsel and Litigation Counsel
Companies facing an actual or suspected cyber incident or breach often rely on outside counsel to help them navigate the legal aftermath. Robins Kaplan LLP partner Anne M. Lockner recommends general counsel hire separate privacy counsel and litigation counsel to create a strong team ready to focus on their areas of expertise.

WORKFLOWS

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has hired Ravi Purohit as a partner in the Energy and Infrastructure Practice in Houston | Allen & Overy is adding federal enforcement partners Billy Jacobson and Jonathan Lopez in Washington from Orrick | Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s New York office hired private equity and M&A partner Stefan dePozsgay from Paul Hastings | K&L Gates’ Melbourne, Australia office added transactional corporate partner Harry Kingsley; he arrives most recently from Holding Redlich | Blank Rome hired real estate lawyer Jared N. Klein as of counsel in Philadelphia from Orphanides & Toner | Baker McKenzie has added Blair Robinson, Paul Evans and Jeff Sturgeon to its North America Employment & Compensation Practice in New York from Morgan Lewis | Axinn said that Koren Wong-Ervin will join as partner in the Antitrust Group in Washington on March 30; she joins from Qualcomm Incorporated | Pillsbury’s corporate practice announced that Nicole Islinger has returned to the firm as a partner in Washington from Vedder Price.

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

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