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Wake Up Call: Axed Netflix Lawyer Alleges Bias, Tax Avoidance

July 15, 2021, 12:15 PM

In today’s column, signing bonuses for former SCOTUS clerks could reach $450,000 this year; Gibson Dunn is emphasizing a flexible approach to remote work post-pandemic; Paul Hastings issued a second office-return policy memo after its first caused several associates to consider leaving; Britney Spears won permission to hire her own lawyer.

  • Leading off, Netflix is getting sued for gender and race bias by a former legal affairs director, Nandini Mehta, who alleges she was fired after raising concerns that the video streaming company is avoiding tax, in particular in India. Netflix denied the allegations and said Mehta was fired over improper expenses. (Hollywood Reporter) (Los Angeles Times)
  • Paul Hastings issued a second office-return policy memo after its first one, in late May, caused several associates to ask legal recruiters about moving to another firm, a report says. In particular, the associates were miffed about the firm’s assertion that it expects attorneys and staff to come into work in-person as a “default,” starting in September. The new memo says the firm plans to be flexible on remote work. (American Lawyer) Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is stressing a flexible approach for its Sept. 13 return, telling lawyers, “You are free to work remotely whenever it is appropriate.” (American Lawyer) Troutman Pepper’s Atlanta office managing partner, on the other hand, is “begging” associates to come into the office, a report says. (Above The Law)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court public information office released names of 37 clerks selected for the court’s upcoming term; with many Big Law firms giving associates large pay hikes and bonuses this year, law firms’ signing bonuses for former SCOTUS clerks are also expected to jump. They could reach as much as $450,000 this year, a report says. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Longtime Kirkland & Ellis corporate restructuring partner Jon Henes, who was national campaign finance chair to then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, is launching a firm in New York to advise corporations and executives on political issues. (CNBC)
  • Britney Spears Wednesday won an L.A. judge’s permission to hire her own lawyer in her conservatorship fight. She picked Greenberg Traurig partner Matt Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, for the job. (NPR)
  • Some Duane Morris partners criticized a letter written by a white collar partner at the firm, former federal prosecutor William McSwain, to ask former President Donald Trump for support in his run for Pennsylvania governor. (Legal Intelligencer) As congressional legal fights with the executive branch have eased under the Biden administration, several attorneys have left the House General Counsel’s Office for new jobs. (National Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Reed Smith brought in transactional lawyer Seth Merl as a corporate partner in New York. He advises on private equity and M&A transactions and arrives from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel; Jones Day got food and drug law and commercial litigator Kyle Diamantas as of counsel in its health care & life sciences practice in Miami. He was previously a senior associate at Baker Donelson in Orlando; Perkins Coie added two lawyers from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman as partners for its intellectual property practice: Ngai Zhang in Washington and Drew Schulte in New York; Blank Rome hired IP and tech associate Divya L. Kannegenti in Houston. (BlankRome.com)
  • Bracewell re-hired energy regulation lawyer Rachael Novier Marsh, who returns after seven years at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, most recently advising Commissioner Neil Chatterjee. Marsh, previously an associate at the firm, rejoins as partner in Washington; Quarles & Brady hired former Mayer Brown partner Timothy D’Arduini in Washington to lead its immigration practice in Washington; Womble Bond Dickinson recruited Lathrop GP higher education attorney Stephen Vaughan as a partner in Washington. (WombleBondDickinson.com)
  • Withers promoted seven lawyers to partner across its U.S. West Coast, Asia, and Europe offices; telecommunications giant Comcast Corporation hired Covington & Burling senior counsel Broderick Johnson, a former AT&T and BellSouth executive who held White House adviser roles in the Obama and Clinton administrations. He joins Comcast in Washington as executive vice president, public policy and executive vice president, digital equity. He was earlier a Bryan Cave partner. (Businesswire)

Technology

  • Contract lifecycle management provider LinkSquares raised $40 Million from investors including Xerox, DraftKings, and Sorenson Capital, which led the round. (Legaltech News)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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