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Wake Up Call: Big Law Partner Appeals Suspension for Overbilling

Dec. 16, 2019, 12:54 PM
  • A former top rainmaking litigation partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Doreen Zankowski, is appealing a six-month suspension by the Massachusetts state bar for alleged overbilling at that firm in 2015, according to a report. Boston-based Zankowski, who brought in more than $3.8 million to Saul Ewing in 2015 before joining Duane Morris in 2016, is appealing her suspension to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the report said. (American Lawyer)

  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised New York-based International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. on its deal to buy DuPont Inc.'s nutrition division for $26.2 billion. Dupont got advice from Skadden Arps on the transaction, which creates a flavorings and nutrient giant valued at about $45.4 billion. (BN)

  • After 14 years of litigation and four trips to a federal appeals court, three credit agencies finally got their $38.7 million settlement with consumers approved in a class action over errors on credit reports. However, the court said the $8.3 million attorneys’ fee award needs another look. Experian Information Systems Inc. was advised by Troutman Sanders and Jones Day; Equifax Information Services LLC, by Troutman Sanders; TransUnion LLC, by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Boies Schiller Flexner and others represented objectors in the settlement. Consumer Litigation Associates PC, Public Justice PC, and others represented the class. (BLAW)

  • Latham & Watkins and other lawyers for actor Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, filed court documents accusing federal prosecutors of concealing possibly exculpatory evidence in the college admissions scandal, according to reports. Law & Crime posted the filing with its article. (LawandCrime.com)

  • Barnes & Thornburg was hired to replace a California plaintiff’s lawyer who is facing possible sanctions after sending messages filled with expletives and threats to Allstate’s Sheppard Mullin legal team in an insurance dispute. (The Recorder)

  • Former Morrison & Foerster chairman Marshall L. Small died Dec. 8 in San Francisco at age 92. He spent 65 years at the firm, working on corporate and securities matters. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Miller Thomson lawyers for users of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange platform Quadriga CX asked Canadian authorities to exhume the body of Quadriga’s late founder, Gerald Cotten, for an autopsy to verify that the buried person is really Cotten. When Cotten died, the company said it could not access some $145 million of his digital assets. (CNN)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Legal staffers and outside lawyers and investigators hired by both parties have played a major role in the House impeachment process against President Donald Trump. (National Law Journal)

  • San Antonio has mostly missed out on the boom that has brought over 160 offices of major law firms to Texas cities, mainly Dallas, Houston, and Austin, according to a report. (Texas Lawyer)

  • Attorneys for defendants in the upcoming Panama Papers criminal tax evasion and fraud trial in New York want federal prosecutors to be barred from describing offshore entities as “shell” companies or to refer to Panama or the British Virgin Islands as “tax havens,” according to a report. (ICIJ.com)

Deals

  • Glenfarne Group’s midstream infrastructure affiliate Alder Midstream acquired natural gas gathering and processing business IACX Energy, based in Dallas, Texas, from funds managed by Houston-based private equity firm Haddington Ventures. (Hydrocarbons Technology) Milbank advised lenders on the transaction. (Milbank.com)

  • Several major firms advised in moves by South American airline Avianca Holdings S.A. to renegotiate its debt, lease obligations, and agreements with key suppliers and to get a combined $375 million in new financing. Avianca got advice from Greenberg Traurig, Milbank, and Smith Gambrell & Russell. United Airlines was advised by Sidley Austin, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, others, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft advised Kingsland Holdings in a combined $250 million financing commitment to Avianca. (PRnewswire.com)

Pro Bono

  • A plaintiff represented pro bono by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett can continue his suit accusing police of violating his civil rights with a body cavity search, after a Manhattan appeals court decision last week. (BLAW)

Laterals, Moves

  • Squire Patton Boggs recruited international energy and infrastructure lawyer Peter Stewart of Clyde & Co as a London-based partner. At Clyde & Co, he also handled international arbitration matters, and specialized in representing sovereign entities throughout Africa and South America. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Nixon Peabody hired Willkie Farr & Gallagher corporate transactions lawyer Brandon Coyle as an associate in New York. Plus, more recent personnel moves by intellectual property law firms and IP-related organizations. (BLAW)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • A Chicago judge ordered an attorney’s telephone confiscated after the lawyer allegedly confronted and recorded a witness in a sex assault case against his client inside the courthouse. (Chicago Sun Times)

Technology

  • A co-founder of an early legal artificial company, RAVN, says in an interview that professional services companies, including law firms, need to do a better job of understanding their own processes. (Artificial Lawyer)

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