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Wake Up Call: Akin Gump Opts for ‘Standby’ Over New Return Date

Sept. 17, 2021, 12:43 PM

In today’s column, the litigation finance market is drawing investments from U.K. listed or soon to be listed law firms; New York’s bar association launched a new task force on racism and social equity; telecom giant T-Mobile hired its Cleary outside counsel to become its new top lawyer.

  • Leading off, as delta variant Covid-19 cases continue to spread across the U.S., several Big Law firms are delaying their return-to-office to specific new dates. With the pandemic still in flux, Akin Gump has instead opted to keep its personnel on “standby,” promising to give them three weeks’ notice before a new return date. Other firms may take that approach, too. (American Lawyer)
  • A recently approved California bill would allow remote court hearings in state civil proceedings to continue into mid-2023. (ABAJournal) In Georgia’s Court of Appeals, appellate lawyers are saying they’re happy with current hybrid proceedings that allow for counsel to appear in person or remotely. But some judges say they prefer in-person arguments. (Daily Report Online)
  • The litigation finance industry’s reputation took a hit after hedge fund Muddy Waters in 2019 accused Burford Capital of misreporting the value of cases it invests in. But the market continues to grow, and stock-market listed U.K. law firms are showing particular interest. (Investors’ Chronicle)
  • The New York State Bar Association launched a task force that it said will study structural racism’s impact in the state. (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • In Covid-19-related travel insurance cases, federal judges in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California are trying to define what “quarantine” means in insurance policies. The cases stem from governmental shutdown orders that forced ski resorts to close and travelers to cancel their plans. (Law.com)
  • As over a dozen Big Law firms have entered the Northern California market in the last three years, they’ve overwhelmingly preferred San Francisco over Silicon Valley, according to a report. (The Recorder) Big Law’s legal talent war is still causing attorney compensation costs to soar in several hot areas, but Chicago may not have been hit as hard as other markets. (American Lawyer)
  • A Washington judge in a malpractice suit against Foley & Lardner denied plaintiffs’ motion to disqualify the firm from defending itself. (Reuters)
  • Netflix ordered production of a series about a young female, Asian American lawyer trying to climb the partner track at an elite New York City law firm. (Variety)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton grabbed veteran Greenberg Traurig patent litigator Robert Hollingshead as a partner in its Tokyo and Washington offices. According to his LinkedIn Profile, he previously spent 12 years as a partner in Tokyo at Morrison & Foerster; Bracewell added energy industry veteran Travis Counts, former top lawyer at Concho Resources, as a Houston-based partner in its oil and gas team; Northeast regional firm Cullen and Dykman hired former Dewey & LeBoeuf corporate tax lawyer Bozena (“Bonnie”) M. Diaz as a partner in New York. Arriving from New Jersey-based Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, Diaz advises on tax aspects of renewable energy projects. (CullenLLP.com)
  • DLA Piper hired former European Commissioner, Irish Parliament and government minister, Phil Hogan, as a senior strategic and political advisor to the firm in Brussels. It’s the latest expansion move by an international firm in the city. (Law.com International) Nixon Peabody brought in employee benefits and executive compensation attorney Jean Y. Yu as of counsel in Los Angeles. According to her LinkedIn profile she was previously a Jackson Lewis partner and of counsel at Venable. (NixonPeabody.com)
  • T-Mobile said its longtime outside counsel, Cleary Gottlieb partner Mark Nelson, will become its new executive vice president and general counsel in October. T-Mobile said its current top lawyer Dave Miller is retiring April 1, 2022, after 26 years at the company. Nelson has been at Cleary 28 years, is vice chair of the American Bar Association’s antitrust section economics committee; integrated circuit maker Analog Devices hired telecom industry veteran Janene Asgeirsson as senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary. She’s former Big Law corporate lawyer and was recently at a Cisco Systems, Inc. subsidiary, where she was CLO, secretary and chief compliance officer. (BizWomen)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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