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Wake Up Call: Atrium Law to Call It Quits, Return VC Funds, Report Says

March 4, 2020, 1:32 PM

In today’s column, Sidley Austin is canceling a partners meeting in Florida due to coronavirus concerns, and a New York boutique lawyer tested positive for the virus; Sheppard Mullin and Blank Rome reported strong results for 2019; Morrison & Foerster added two white collar partners in London and Paul Hastings poached an Irell partner to lead its entertainment and media practice.

  • Leading off, alternative legal services startup Atrium Law is shutting down after abandoning plans to shift its focus to other professional services for startups and founders, Tech Crunch reported. The firm will return some of the $75.5 million it collected from venture capital investors. The closure leaves about 100 people jobless, the report says. (TechCrunch) (Artificial Lawyer)

  • A 50-year-old lawyer at a New York trusts & estates boutique tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and has been hospitalized. He is the second New Yorker to test positive. (BLAW)

  • Sidley Austin yesterday said it is canceling its partners meeting in Florida next month, the latest law to change plans because of the virus. (American Lawyer)

  • Gross revenues at L.A,-founded Sheppard Mullin surged 13% to slightly over $799 million and its profits per equity partner rise 6.6% to $1.8 million in 2019, although its partnership added 10 lawyers. (The Recorder)

  • Philadelphia-based Blank Rome posted $474 million in gross revenues in 2019, up 7% from the year before, according to early data. The firm’s profits per equity partner rose 8.1% to $1.01 million, its first time over the $1 million threshold for PEP. (Legal Intelligencer)

  • The former director of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, Bruce Hoffman, joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton antitrust group as a partner in Washington. He earlier spent 20-plus years at Hunton & Williams, including as a partner and competition practice chair. (BLAW)

  • Morrison & Foerster added two London partners to its investigations & white collar defense practice team, getting them from King & Spalding. Partner Gareth Rees is a former executive director of enforcement at the U.K.’s statutory audit regulator and corporate governance authority. Hayley Ichilcik was a counsel at King & Spalding. (

  • Paul Hastings grabbed Irell and Manella entertainment litigator Steven Marenberg as a partner and chair of the firm’s entertainment and media litigation group, based in Century City, California. Irell intellectual property lawyer Josh Gordon arrives as of counsel. (

  • The fired CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences suing the Grammy-presenting academy and its Greenberg Traurig general counsel for retaliation and other allegations has updated her EEOC complaint to make accusations against Proskauer Rose. (The Recorder)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A dozen law firms are set to take in close to $160 million in contingency fees in 15 opioid settlements involving two counties in Ohio and the state of Oklahoma, and that amount is likely to increase. (

  • Baker McKenzie added a partner each from DLA Piper and Holland & Knight in its Miami office, which functions as the hub for its Latin America strategy. (American Lawyer)

  • Davis Polk & Wardwell unlawfully “weaponized” its performance review process, a black former associate’s racial bias suit against the firm says. (BLAW)


  • Goodwin Procter’s Paris office advised French media group Groupe Amaury, which among other things is promoter of the Tour de France bicycle race and Dakar Rally car race, in a sale of land in Paris’ northern suburbs to the French government. The sale price wasn’t disclosed. (

  • Major Japanese firm Nishimura & Asahi said it advised manufacturer Mitsubishi Materials Corporation on its acquisition of a 49% stake in Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Hitachi Tool Engineering, Ltd. from Hitachi Metals, Ltd. MHT becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Materials. (

Pro Bono

  • Milbank has partnered with civil rights nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative and the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights on efforts to identify and help individuals with cases of Virginia and Louisiana juveniles who were sentenced to life without parole. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Cooley expanded its intellectual property litigation practice group with life sciences-focused partners Sanya Sukduang and Jonathan Davies, based in Washington. They arrive from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. (

  • Barnes & Thornburg hired litigation partner Eric Fisher in the firm’s Atlanta office, which has added four other lawyers and a state government affairs director this year. He arrives after close to 10 years at Taylor English Duma, including as a partner. (

  • Veteran FDA regulatory counsel Jim Czaban, a former partner and FDA group chair at DLA Piper, joined Loeb & Loeb’s Washington office as a partner. (

  • Squire Patton Boggs added real estate finance partner J. Keith Jones in Tampa. He arrives from the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. (

  • Perkins Coie’s San Diego office hired experienced environmental litigator Ray Hartman as a partner. He arrives from Cooley. (Perkins Coie)

  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s Philadelphia office added a products-liability group of four partners and two associates to its Philadelphia office. The group, which arrives at the Kansas City-founded firm from a smaller firm, had previously practiced together at Dechert. (Legal Intelligiencer)

  • Winston & Strawn got K&L Gates trial lawyer Michael Murphy as a partner in Houston. He has over 15 years of experience advising clients on a wide range of energy and complex commercial disputes. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • A $77 million settlement award against BP Exploration & Production Inc. over damages allegedly caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill must be reconsidered, a federal court ruled. BP is represented by Arnold & Porter and others. (BLAW)

  • IQVIA, global provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial services, won a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling dismissing a case brought by Swiss pharmaceutical Cardiorentis, represented by Hogan Lovells and others. The case claimed IQVIA enrolled ineligible patients during a worldwide clinical trial of Cardiorentis’ drug Ularitide. Cooley and others represented IQVIA. (

  • TiVo Corp., represented by McKool Smith, won a federal appeals court affirmation that the International Trade Commission’s finding that Comcast cable boxes infringe two patents held by Rovi Corp, a subsidiary of TiVo. (BN via BLAW)

  • Lawyers for actor James Franco asked a court to throw out a #MeToo sex exploitation lawsuit filed against him in L.A. Superior Court by two of his former acting students. (USA Today)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at