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Wake Up Call: As Snap Goes Public, Cooley Eyes $1.8M in Fees

March 3, 2017, 2:18 PM

• Cooley has taken the lead advising Snap Inc. on its $33 billion initial public offering and could earn as much as $1.8 million in fees and expenses as the California tech company cashes in on Snapchat’s popularity. ( The Recorder ) Snap’s successful launch could inspire tech companies to try the same trick. ( New York Times DealBook )

• Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ sudden decision to recuse himself from election-related Russia probes eased some of the political pressure that was building around his two meetings with the Russian ambassador. But the nation’s top law enforcement officer now will be mostly sidelined on the agency’s highest-profile, highest-stakes federal investigation, barely weeks into taking over the job. ( Bloomberg )

• What’s behind the migration of former U.S. Supreme Court clerks taking jobs at firms outside the Washington Beltway? Nineteen ex-clerks from last term have gone elsewhere, including eight to N.Y. firms. ( National Law Journal )

• Holland & Knight has announced that Wifredo A. Ferrer, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, will join the firm as a partner in its Miami office. ( HK Law ) The firm also snagged a four-partner team of commercial lending lawyers from Jones Day, led by Cindy Brazell, in a drive to expand its Atlanta office and its national finance practice. ( Daily Report )

• European antitrust regulators are close to approving the $140 billion merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont and ChemChina’s $43 billion acquisition of Syngenta, two of three major tie-ups in the global food industry that have faced EU political hurdles. ( Financial Times )

• Things may get uglier still over at Uber. A former engineer who alleges sexual harassment and sexism at the company has hired law firm Baker Curtis & Schwartz. She is said to have made the move after hearing that her former employer hired Perkins Coie to help former Attorney General Eric Holder’s firm, Covington & Burling, look into her claims. ( Recode )

Sessions Recusal

• As Trump expressed confidence in Sessions, leading Congressional Democrats called on him to resign. ( Bloomberg )

• Even if Sessions didn’t commit perjury during his confirmation hearing, he could still face other types of legal trouble for failing to tell his Senate colleagues that he met the Russian ambassador twice during the tumultuous presidential campaign. ( Politico )

• Who could replace Sessions in an investigation of the scandal? A Q&A. ( New York Times )

Law Firm Business

• Munger, Tolles & Olson had a slower 2016 after resolving several key cases at the end of 2015, the firm said. The California firm’s gross revenue fell 10.2 percent, to $234.5 million, compared with 2015, while profits per partner plummeted 14.7 percent, to $1.59 million. ( The Recorder )

• Nixon Peabody’s headcount declined last year, but the northeast-based firm continued to push for momentum. Its gross revenue fell less than one percent, to $458 million in 2016, compared with 2015, while profits per partner jumped 8.3 percent, to $980,000. ( Am Law Daily )

• Kirkland & Ellis is the latest firm to get work from a failing retailer. This week BCBG Max Azria Group LLC, a high-end women’s fashion house under $685 million in debt, hired K&E to handle its bankruptcy filing. ( Am Law Daily )

Legal Market

• Facebook Inc. agreed to resolve a class action targeting the way it scans URLs in users’ private messages, in a settlement that involves no cash. ( The Recorder )

• Ex-New York Port Authority chief David Samson, once a close political ally of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who pleaded guilty to pressuring United Airlines to fly a money-losing route convenient to his family’s weekend home, deserves two years in prison for his “outrageous abuse of power,” U.S. prosecutors said. ( Bloomberg )

• After a blockbuster 2016 for inbound mergers & acquisitions to the United States, the country’s current political uncertainty makes the outlook for 2017 murky for foreign investors. However, the stable U.S. economy and the new pro-business Trump administration are reasons for continued optimism, writes the chairman of Dentons. ( Dentons via BLB )

• General Wireless Operations, the joint venture between Sprint Corp. and former RadioShack owners, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to people familiar with the matter. ( Bloomberg )

• Special prosecutor Park Young-soo is going after South Korea’s most powerful business leaders and politicians, but the man dubbed the “Chaebol grim reaper” has taken down tougher opponents. ( Bloomberg )

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• A package of far-reaching bills to overhaul the civil litigation process, long cherished by business and derided by consumer groups, is likely to win approval from President Trump if it reaches his desk. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 looked like a goner when Trump was elected in November. But Republicans’ anti-Dodd Frank campaign has lost momentum. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Warning of negative business consequences of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a Virginia transgender boy’s sex discrimination claim, 53 major technology companies including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Airbnb Inc. and Twitter Inc. and other businesses filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court backing the suit. ( National Law Journal )

• In an important decision that’s unusual for being almost unanimous, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday clarified the constitutional rule for the design of majority-minority legislative districts, perhaps the single most significant issue in contemporary voting-rights law. ( Bloomberg ) Nate Persily, a professor at Stanford University Law School, discusses decision. ( Bloomberg Radio )

• Two lawyers who are potential witnesses in a malpractice case can represent each other at their respective depositions, a federalmagistrate judge in Nevada ruled. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• The investment manager who brought the lawsuit that forced U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to get parliamentary approval for her Brexit plans is considering another legal challenge. ( Bloomberg )

Laterals and Moves

• Allen & Overy’s litigation chief Tim House is headed to the Big Apple to become senior partner in the firm’s New York office. ( The Lawyer )

• Fort Worth, Texas, civil-litigation and family-law attorney Kelly Decker left Decker Jones, a firm her grandfather helped start, to launch a firm with her husband, Olyn Poole. ( Texas Law Journal )

Technology

• Hack attacks on medical devices can generate scary headlines, but medical device makers haven’t got the message yet about the need for better security. ( Wired )

• Lawyers concerned about how automation could affect their jobs may want to look at H&R Block’s recently announced plans to partner with IBM’s smart computer Watson. ( BLB )

• Republicans attacked Hilary Clinton for using a private email server while she was secretary of state. It turns out that Vice President Mike Pence did essentially the same thing while he was governor of Indiana, and that private email account was later hacked. ( Washington Post )

• Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss will know within days whether they’ve won SEC approval to begin offering their bitcoin-based exchange traded fund, with the digital currency’s record rally hanging in the balance. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Education

• Has the law school so-called “brain drain” stopped? It’s been well-documented that fewer graduates of elite universities are applying to law schools. But a recent look at 11 elite colleges by Keith Lee of the legal blog Associate’s Mind suggests that law schools’ worst days could be coming to an end. ( BLB )

• Oprah, dogs for rent, and other debatable new reasons to avoid law school. ( Bloomberg )

• Two Texas law schools have reached a tentative settlement of their dispute over a name change. ( Texas Law Journal )

Miscellaneous

• A former Dewey & LeBoeuf litigation partner who became of counsel at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., jumped to his death in New York Thursday. ( Am Law Daily )

• In Nomad Capital’s recent ranking of 40 of the world’s most desirable passports from a business point of view, the U.S. didn’t even make the top 20. Its No. 35 ranking was due largely to its policy of taxing U.S. citizens on their global income. ( Bloomberg )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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