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Wake Up Call: As Tech Giants Gear Up For Antitrust Probes, Big Law Eyes Big Fees

June 10, 2019, 11:55 AM
  • As tech giants prepare for bruising antitrust fights and related litigation in Washington and abroad, Big Law firms could be in for a big windfall in legal fees. For firms ranging from Boies Schiller Flexner and Wilmer Hale, which advise Apple Inc., to Google advisers Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Paul Weiss, the monthly legal fees could be in the low seven figures, and pile up quickly, depending on how complicated litigation gets. Inc. has turned to Williams & Connolly for previous antitrust cases, while Facebook Inc. has used Cooley and Kirkland & Ellis. (BLAW)

  • A Washington appeals court affirmed a win for Google LLC, Yahoo! Inc., and Microsoft Corp., rejecting claims the companies conspired to let phony locksmith companies game their search systems and make legitimate companies pay for the sponsored results. King & Spalding represented Google; Morrison & Foerster advised Yahoo; while Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe advised Microsoft. (BLAW)

  • Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht brought on former Greenberg Traurig shareholder Marc Mukasey to help it deal with its escalating legal battle with former partner Donald Lewis. Mukasey, an ex-federal prosecutor who has represented President Donald Trump, recently started his own boutique. Pierce Bainbridge hired him for outside advice after Lewis filed a $75 million defamation suit against the firm, on top of a suit Lewis filed weeks ago over his firing amidst a sexual misconduct probe. (New York Law Journal)

  • Law firms’ “excessive hours” and other “rigid” traditions are causing them to lose young and female talent leaving to more modern, flexible, companies, according to a study by U.K. legal recruiter Obelisk Support. (Financial Times)

  • French tax lawyer and machine learning expert Michaël Benesty says France’s controversial ban on judicial decision stats grew out of judges’ reactions to an application he and a friend created to search for bias in judges’ decisions on the rights of aliens and claims of asylum. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Kirkland & Ellis got final court approval of $55.7 million in fees for representing Toy “R” Us in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (BLAW via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Washington-based educational company Blackboard Inc. said its general counsel and chief legal officer, Stuart Kupinsky, will serve as interim chief financial office starting June 28, after the resignation of its current CFO. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Sedgwick, the 85-year-old San Francisco firm that closed about 18 months ago, asked a California bankruptcy judge to approve a nearly $1.6 million claw-back settlement with 45 former partners who received equity payouts as they slowly failed throughout 2017. (BLAW via BLB)

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Proskauer Rose partner Fangli Chen advised Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and South Korean company SK Chemicals Co. LTD in their U.S. Patent and Trademark Office win over Pfizer Inc. in a case involving an antibacterial vaccine patent. White & Case advised Pfizer. (BLAW)

  • Tivo Corporation’s Rovi subsidiary, advised by McKool Smith, won a decision by a U.S. International Trade Commission judge that Comcast’s X1 pay TV platform infringes Rovi’s patents for search functions. The decision is subject to review by the full commission. (BN via BLAW)

  • Haynes and Boone won an ITC ruling on behalf of PTS Diagnostics that ACON Laboratories, Inc. and ACON Biotech Co. infringed upon two key patents for lipid analyzers and test strips for blood plasma concentration. The ruling is subject approval by the full commission. (

  • Goodwin advised Advent International on its $17.5 billion fundraising for a global private equity fund focused on buyouts, corporate carve-out, public-to-private and growth equity transactions. ( (

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Barnes & Thornburg appointed litigation partner Brendan Miller as legal operations advisor for practice innovation, as part of its new legal ops department. IMiller, former vice chair of the firm’s eDiscovery and knowledge management team, will help attorneys, matter teams, and client legal ops pros leverage best practices in legal project management and technology tools, the firm said. (

  • Payment card platform Marqeta Inc. hired startup in-house veteran Seth Weissman as its chief legal officer. Weissman, a former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati attorney, spent over eight years as top lawyer at solar energy services startup SolarCity, which he helped lead through an IPO and its 2016 sale to Tesla Inc. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Bradley Arant Boult Cummings said it added a partner and two associates in Houston. Partner David R. Roth, who spent over a decade as general counsel of power generation company Northern Star Generation, joined the firm’s corporate and securities and energies group from Jackson Walker. Associates Andrew W. Bell, from Christian Smith & Jewel, and Philip J. Morgan, from Husch Blackwell, joined the firm’s construction practice group. (

Legal Education

  • The University of Alabama voted to return Florida lawyer and investor Hugh Culverhouse Jr.'s $21.5 million gift and to remove his name from its law school. Culverhouse had called for students to boycott the university because of the state’s passage of a law banning nearly all abortions. (Miami Herald)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at