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Wake Up Call: As Saudi Arabia Scandal Grows, Gibson Dunn Cuts Ties

Oct. 19, 2018, 11:19 AM

• As the scandalgrows around the alleged murder of a Washington Post writer in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, Gibson Dunn became the latest business to back away from the kingdom. The firm said in a filing that it stopped lobbying for the kingdom related to U.S. legislation affecting oil-producing countries. ( National Law Journal ) A month ago the kingdom’s Washington-based embassy hired Gibson Dunn partner Ted Olson, a former Solicitor General, to lobby against the proposed “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act.” The arrangement called for the firm to get up to $250,000 for an initial op-ed and legislative analysis, plus $100,000 per month if the embassy wanted the firm to lobby lawmakers.( Bloomberg via BLB )

• The conservative Heritage Foundation is reevaluating its plans for a secret training program for recent law school graduates who have accepted federal court clerkships, after media reports raised alarms that the program violates ethics rules. ( ABA Journal ) ( New York Times ) ( Slate )

• International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, aformerBaker McKenzie global chair and French finance minister, said that when she first started out as a lawyer, some clients thought she was there to serve the coffee. In this video interview, Lagarde also talks about wanting to be a lawyer to fight for abolition of France’s death penalty, and her early work helping big companies deal with the country’s tough and convoluted labor laws. ( Bloomberg )

•Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that when she first arrived on the court she faced “the expectation of others that because I was Latina I lacked the intelligence to do this job,” but she added that many of those people “have since changed their mind.” Sotomayor commented in a Spanish-languageinterview, in which she also addressed the arrival of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. ( National Law Journal )

• Former Williams & Connolly partner Emmet Flood was temporarily named White House counsel after Don McGahn left the administration on Wednesday, while President Donald Trump awaits McGahn’s longer-term replacement. ( Bloomberg ) Trump said that will be former Kirkland & Ellis partner Pat Cipollone. ( Bloomberg Law )

• The Commodity Futures Trading Commission concluded its first anti-fraud enforcement action linked to bitcoin, getting a $2.5 million penalty and judgment by default against a man and his company accused of operating a bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Alston & Bird said former Environmental Protection Agency acting general counsel Kevin Minoli joined the firm’s environmental practice as a partner in Washington. ( )

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

• Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz asked a New York appeals court to throw out a defamation lawsuit by a former “Apprentice” contestant who claims Trump sexually harassed her. ( New York Times )

• K&L Gates faces a $100 million legal malpractice suit from a Texas semiconductor company, Quantum Materials Corp., that accuses the firm of representing lenders in a legal action against the company while also representing Quantum. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Aetna Inc. must pay $4.3 million to the attorneys who represented a class of insureds accusing Aetna of wrongly disclosing the HIV status of nearly 14,000 people who received prescription drug coverage or related services from the company. Manatt; Elliot Greenleaf PC; and Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice represented Aetna. Berger & Montague PC; Kaplan Fox; Legal Action Center; Aids Law Project of PA; and Dorros Law represented the insureds.( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• The Boston-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said it is changing its name to “Lawyers for Civil Rights” as it celebrates its 50th anniversary, and it has a new website. ( )

Laterals, Moves

• JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution services provider, said former judge John M. Mott joined its panel in Washington. He spent 18 years on the District of Columbia Superior Court, and previously, among other things, was deputy chief and senior trial attorney at the Justice Department’s Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division. ( )

• Nelson Mullins said government contracts lawyers Katherine “Katie” Burrows and Nathanael “Nathan” Hartland joined the firm as partners in its Baltimore office. They were previously at Miles & Stockbridge. ( )

• Skadden said corporate lawyer Jan Bauer joined the firm as a partner in Frankfurt, Germany. According to Bauer’sLinkedin, he was previously co-head of the private equity group at German firm Gleiss Lutz. ( )

• Former Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case partner Joanna Ritcey-Donohue launched her own firm in Washington, JRD Law, providing cross-border risk and compliance advice. ( National Law Journal )


• The engineer who sued Google after he was fired for blasting the company with allegations of anti-conservative bias has to go to private arbitration. ( Bloomberg )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Molly Ward.