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Wake Up Call: Baker McKenzie Associates Get Special Bonuses

Jan. 6, 2021, 1:48 PM

In today’s column, New York-based Milberg combined with three other plaintiffs firms to form an 85-lawyer firm and expects to have 100 by the year’s second quarter; legal tech company Litera made an acquisition it says will boost its business-of-law capabilities; a London judge rejected a request for bail by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

  • Leading off, when Baker McKenize became the first Big Law firm to announce its year-end bonus scale for associates in November 2020, it said it would also match any increases in the market. Now, the firm is making good on that vow with special bonuses ranging up to $40,000, Above the Law reported. The new money means that, combined with its year-end scale of up to $100,000, associates, depending on year of seniority, can get up to the Cravath standard of $140,000 in total. Baker McKenzie is also offering “true-up” payments for salary cuts it made last year, when firms were bracing for an expected financial hit from the pandemic crisis. (Above the Law)
  • After law firm mergers plunged 43% last year as the Covid-19 pandemic clobbered the economy, “pent-up appetite” for growth should drive deal volume up in 2021, a new report says. (BLAW)

Biden Transition, Election Litigation

  • Foley & Lardner said Cleta Mitchell has left the firm, days after the ex-partner joined Donald Trump on the conference call in which the president asked the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to turn the state’s election in his favor. (BLAW)
  • On the day Trump called Raffensperger, the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Byung J. “BJay” Pak, abruptly resigned and Trump made the unusual move of replacing him with a U.S. attorney from another part of the state, rather than giving Pak’s top deputy the job. (WaPo) (Daily Report)(Above the Law)
  • Trump has also been publicly pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to intervene in the tally of electoral college votes for the presidency. As Pence today heads to the Senate to preside over that count, his top lawyer is former O’Melveny & Myers Partner Gregory Jacob. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • New York-based litigation firm Milberg merged with three other plaintiffs firms to form Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman PLLC. It starts out with about 85 lawyers and expects to have around 100 by the year’s second quarter, advising on litigation including pharmaceutical, class actions, and European securities cases, as well as corporate matters. (New York Law Journal)
  • Arnold & Porter appointed the San Francisco-based co-head of its investment management practice, Ellen Kaye Fleishhacker, to serve as firm co-managing partner for a two-year term effective Jan. 1. (ArnoldPorter.com)
  • Amazon.com Inc.’s Fenwick & West lawyers got a Virginia appeals court to uphold Amazon’s $723,000 fee award in a patent infringement case brought by Innovation Sciences Inc. (BLAW)
  • Midwest-based Armstrong Teasdale plans to open a Wilmington, Delaware, office later this year. (Delaware Law Weekly)
  • McGuireWoods advised industrial giant Teledyne Technologies Incorporated on its approximately $8 billion deal to acquire thermal imaging company FLIR Systems, Inc., as part of Teledyne’s plant to build a defense contractor. FLIR was advised by Hogan Lovells. (FLIR.co.uk) (Bloomberg News)
  • A London judge rejected a request for bail by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Bloomberg News)

Laterals, Moves

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired former Treasury Department attorney Britt Mosman as a partner in Washington in the firm’s global trade & investment practice group. At Treasury, Mosman advised on economic sanctions and national security matters. Mosman was earlier a senior associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. (Willkie.com)
  • McKool Smith has lost several lawyers this week. Four McKool insurance recovery partners led by Robin Cohen started a new firm, Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna, in New York, with a team of 20 lawyers and staff. (BLAW)
  • Schulte Roth & Zabel hired Gayle Klein, former co-chair of McKool’s financial litigation practice, to help lead its New York-based litigation group. On Monday, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan said it picked up a McKool partner for its new Austin, Texas office. (BLAW)
  • Jones Walker added veteran bankruptcy litigator John Mills as a partner in Atlanta. (JonesWalker.com) (LinkedIn)
  • Littler added worklaw attorney Eric Compere in Los Angeles as of counsel in its workplace safety & health practice group. Compere was most recently an attorney at the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health. (Littler.com)
  • Holland & Knight recruited Snell & Wilmer high net worth family adviser Mark Powell as a partner in its private wealth services group. He’ll be based in Los Angeles while also continuing to work with clients in Orange County. (HKLaw.com)
  • Nixon Peabody expanded its government investigations & white collar defense practice, bringing in Travis Hill, a former real estate enforcement chief in the New York State attorney general’s office, as a partner in New York City. (NixonPeabody.com)
  • Paul Hastings snagged Latham & Watkins securities and capital markets partner Brandon Bortner for its Washington office. (PaulHastings.com)
  • Latham got litigator Steven Feldman as a partner from boutique Hueston Hennigan in Los Angeles. (BLAW)
  • Former Twitter Inc. deputy general counsel Tod Cohen joined O’Melveny & Myers as a partner after nearly two decades in-house with technology companies including StubHub Inc. and eBay Inc., (BLAW)
  • White & Case added Milbank’s former regulatory and fintech practice head Douglas Landy. Landy, who began his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, joins White & Case as a partner. (BLAW)
  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS said retired San Francisco Superior Court trial court judge John K. Stewart, who earlier in his career spent 30 years as a trial lawyer, joined its panel in San Francisco. (JAMSadr.com)

In-House

  • Lincoln Financial Group announced Monday that it has brought on an experienced financial services attorney from KeyBank, Craig Beazer, as its executive vice president and general counsel. (Businesswire.com)
  • Private equity firms Thoma Bravo LLC and TPG Capital LP are switching up their in-house legal leadership. (BLAW)

Promotions Effective Jan. 1, 2021

  • Hogan Lovells promoted 25 lawyers to partner and 60 to counsel across its offices worldwide. The firm said 44% of its partner promotions are women, 16% racial and ethnic minority, and 5% LGBT+. (HoganLovells.com)
  • Morrison & Foerster elected nine lawyers (two women) to partner across seven offices worldwide. (MoFo.com)
  • Haynes and Boone promoted 12 lawyers (four women) to partner. (HaynesBoone.com)
  • Keker, Van Nest & Peters promoted two lawyers, both women, to partner. (Keker.com)

Technology

  • Legal tech company Litera said it has acquired Foundation Software Group, developer of the only firm intelligence platform for law firms, to expand its capabilities to help lawyers in the business and practice of law. (PR Newswire)
  • Legal research providers Fastcase and Casemaker said they are merging. (Legaltech News)

Legal Education

  • A Harvard Law second-year student, son of a congressman, committed suicide on New Year’s Eve. (Above the Law)

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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