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Wake Up Call: Barr Picks Ex-Morgan Lewis Partner as Interim DC Attorney

Jan. 31, 2020, 1:05 PM

In today’s column, a California judge ordered J&J to pay $344 million for “deceptively” marketing vaginal-mesh implants; several law firms are competing to represent plaintiffs in a huge consolidated crypto-market manipulation lawsuit in New York; and Foley & Larder dropped a big contract with Venezuela’s isolated president, after getting criticized by a senator.

  • Attorney General William Barr named one of his top advisers, former Big Law partner and federal prosecutor Timothy Shea, to be the District of Columbia’s interim U.S. attorney, putting him in charge of the biggest U.S. attorney’s office, with 300 prosecutors. Shea, who begins his new role Feb. 3, replaces former Morrison & Foerster partner Jessie Liu, who is nominated to become the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. (Washington Post) According to his LinkedIn profile, Shea is a former Boston-based principal and of counsel at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he spent five years, and was previously at Bingham McCutchen for 13 years. (LinkedIn)

  • A California judge yesterday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $344 million for allegedly misrepresenting risks of vaginal-mesh implants to consumers in California. It’s the first state to get a court decision, after several states sued the company in the wake of thousands of claims by women, and product recalls. J&J, which said it will appeal the ruling, was represented by Butler Snow lawyer William Gage. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Reynen Court is getting an investment from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, its third from a prominent law firm as the legal technology “app store” nears a commercial launch. (BLAW) With three major law firm backers, also including Clifford Chance and Latham & Watkins, Reynen Court could become the “gatekeeper of legal tech.” (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Litigation boutique Selendy & Gay is among several law firms competing to represent cryptocurrency investor plaintiffs in a consolidated $1 trillion class action lawsuit against crypto-exchange Bitfinex in a New York federal court, according to a report. Bitfinex, an exchange run by the iFinex company and affiliated with Tether, Inc., has been accused of market manipulation. (Bitcoinist.com) (Cointelegraph.com)

  • Foley & Lardner dropped a multimillion-dollar contract to represent the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro after a Florida Republican senator criticized the arrangement, citing the country’s abysmal human rights record, according to a report. (Politico)

  • Cooley said it is hooking up with digital platform Modern Health to offer “personalized” mental health and other well-being resources to its attorneys and staff, at no cost to them. (American Lawyer)

  • President Trump’s star lawyer Alan Dershowitz said Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren “doesn’t understand the law,” after she tweeted that his defense of Trump at the Senate impeachment trial is “contrary to both law & fact.” They’re former colleagues on the faculty of Harvard Law School. (CNN)

  • UC Berkeley took down the name “Boalt Hall” from the main building of its law school yesterday, close to three years after a law review article charged that the building’s namesake, 19th century attorney and judge John Henry Boalt, was known for anti-Chinese views and pushed for the nation’s first immigration ban on a specific group of people. (L.A. Times)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Legal Market, Deals

  • Jones Day, in defending itself against a $200 million gender discrimination lawsuit by female lawyers, is offering an “Orwellian” defense for keeping associates in the dark about pay, a writer says. (Above The Law)

  • McDermott Will & Emery said its Boston office move to new two-floor premises at 200 Clarendon Street in Copley Square, in the city’s central Back Bay area, offers benefits for clients, lawyers, and staff. (MWE)

  • Robins Kaplan said New York office managing partner Hollis Salzman, co-chair of the firm’s antitrust and trade regulation practice, was elected chair of the New York State Bar Association’s antitrust law section. (RobinsKaplan.com)

  • Dechert released its latest annual report on the duration and number of significant U.S. and EU antitrust merger reviews, and other observations about recent merger-related trends. (Dechert)

Pro Bono

  • A couple of dozen law firms and corporate legal departments are teaming up on a 2020 hunger relief campaign in New York City. (New York Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves

  • Barnes & Thornburg hired a four-lawyer corporate tax credit team in Atlanta. Partner Sean Honeywill and associates Devin Schoonmaker, Brian Saling, and Abraham Llama join from Kowan Cordon, where Honeywill led the national tax credit financing and syndication practice. Honeywill was previously at Paul Hastings. (BTLaw.com)

  • Barnes & Thornburg also added intellectual property lawyer and former Lockheed nuclear plant engineer Stephen Smith as a partner in Chicago. He joins most recently from Brinks Gilson & Lione, where he served on the board of directors. (BTLaw.com)

  • Perkins Coie added construction lawyer Michael Hanahan in Chicago as a partner. He arrives after close to 23 years at Schiff Harden, where he was a partner. (PerkinsCoie.com)

  • Carlton Fields added cybersecurity and privacy attorney Patricia M. Carreiro as an associate in Miami. According to her LinkedIn profile, she was most recently based in Hartford, Connecticut, at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider. (CarltonFields.com)

  • Canadian airline WestJet said oil industy in-house veteran Angela Avery will join it as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Feb. 17. She arrives from Athabasca Oil Corporation where she was general counsel and VP, had a senior roles at ConocoPhillips, and worked in the United Nations legal secretariat as a war reparations litigator. (Yahoo! Finance)

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Attorneys for a woman who accuses Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a sample of the president’s DNA. (PBS.org)

  • A special panel recommended removal of a New Jersey judge who asked a woman seeking a restraining order whether she had closed her legs to stop a sexual assault. (ABAJournal.com)

Technology

  • Most organizations would agree to let law firms and other legal service providers store their information in the cloud, but they expect to be asked for permission to do so, according to a new report based on a survey the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium and Fish & Richardson. (LegaltechNews.com)

Legal Education

  • Fordham Law School said it has launched a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in real estate, aimed at lawyers, making it the only New York City law school to offer such a program, and one of a few U.S. law schools to have one. (Businesswire.com)

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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