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Wake Up Call: Austrian Spyware Hits Law Firms, Microsoft Says

July 28, 2022, 12:31 PM

In today’s column, a federal appeals court threw out a Texas judge’s lifetime ban of a female litigator; California’s chief justice said she’s retiring; Moscow-jailed WBNA star Brittney Griner is getting advice from lawyers with Big Law ties.

  • Leading off, Microsoft said “cyberweapons” created and sold by an Austrian company are responsible for breaches that have hit banks, law firms, and “other strategic consultancies” in Austria, the UK, and Panama. (Blogs.Microsoft.com)
  • UK-headquartered Withers is giving a 1,000 pounds ($1,212) bonus to trainee attorneys, secretaries, paralegals, and certain other business services employees in the UK, EU, and Asia. Meanwhile, the firm’s average profits per equity partner stayed flat in its latest fiscal year. (Law.com International)
  • California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced she will not seek re-election and will step down in January 2023 after 12 years in the role. (Reuters)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • An official for the Republican National Committee, which since October 2021 has shelled out close to $2 million to law firms representing Donald Trump, warned it will cut off that flow of money if the former president runs for reelection. (ABC News) The Justice Department said it obtained a new warrant to search the contents of pro-Trump attorney John Eastman’s phone. (Politico)
  • A federal appeals court revoked a lifetime ban that Texas Judge Lynn Hughes had issued against a female litigator after she won an appeal related to comments he made in an earlier case. (Texas Lawyer)
  • A law firm partner who described himself as a top lottery lawyer was convicted of defrauding his clients who had won lotteries. (New York Law Journal) Jailed in Moscow, US basketball star Brittney Griner is getting advice from attorneys with Big Law ties. (Law.com International via American Lawyer)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Squire Patton Boggs added two cybersecurity and data privacy attorneys. It got Julia Jacobson as partner in New York from Arent Fox Schiff and Shea Leitch as of counsel in Washington from BakerHostetler; Troutman Pepper added derivatives attorney Akshay Belani as partner in New York in its corporate practice group. He arrives from Stroock; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati said intellectual property and life sciences lawyer Bill Barrett, founder of IP boutique Technomos Inc, joined the firm’s patents and innovations department as a partner in Boulder, Colorado; Blank Rome brought in IP attorney Hussein Akhavannik as a partner in Washington. He arrives from BakerHostetler, where he was partner and life sciences team co-leader; Goodwin expanded its German private equity practice, grabbing longtime Shearman & Sterling finance partner Winfried Carli in Munich as a partner. (GoodwinLaw.com)
  • Greenberg Traurig added three real estate attorneys. In San Francisco, it added Jasmine Martin as a shareholder from Orrick. In Chicago, Greenberg brought in Kirkland & Ellis partner Jeffrey Rheeling as a shareholder and Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff partner Jennifer Desser as of counsel; O’Melveny & Myers hired Glaser Weil real estate deal adviser Peter Breckheimer as partner in Los Angeles; BakerHostetler picked up hospitality industry attorney Ormend Yeilding as a real estate and hospitality partner in Orlando. He arrives from Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, where he was co-chair of the firm’s hospitality & leisure group, focusing on hotel and resort transactions; Clark Hill hired real estate attorney Adam Ventura as a member in Pittsburgh. (ClarkHill.com)
  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr hired veteran cannabis attorney Peter Murphy, recently chief legal officer at cannabis operator American Fiber Company, as Wilmington, Delaware-based partner; online automotive market CarGurus, Inc. hired former Nike assistant general counsel Javier Zamora as GC and corporate secretary. He was recently vice president, GC and corporate secretary at Nike subsidiary Converse, Inc.; IDIQ, a provider of identity theft protection and credit report monitoring, hired fintech industry veteran Beth Cheeseman Kearney as general counsel and chief compliance officer in Costa Mesa, California. A former O’Melveny attorney, she arrives from loanDepot, where she was senior vice president and associate GC. (PR Newswire)

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