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Wake Up Call: Boies Schiller Axes Staff, Associates in NY, California

May 1, 2020, 12:25 PM

In today’s column, a controversial $1.1 billion, Big Law-brokered sale of the .Org web domain to a private equity firm ran into a wall yesterday, blocked by the company that runs the internet; New York law firms’ growth was already slowing before Covid-19 arrived; DLA Piper promoted 67 lawyers to partner, including 33 in the U.S.; Cole Schotz won a second Chapter 11 pause for Modell’s Sporting Goods; a Louisiana law firm sent 777 pizzas to health care workers.

  • Leading off, the new managers at Boies Schiller Flexner have said they’re using the Covid-19 crisis to speed up restructuring of the New York-based firm, which was founded by famed litigator David Boies. Yesterday, the firm sent termination notices to associates, paralegals, and legal assistants in California and New York, days after it lost over a dozen partners to King & Spalding, according to a report. The report, which cites “seven unnamed sources,” says the cuts are in the “low double digits.” (Business Insider)

  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr is among the latest of at least a dozen large and midsized U.S. firms this week to make austerity moves—including pay cuts, and layoffs and furloughs of staff and associates—as firms move to protect their cash and profits from the economic impact of Covid-19. (ABAJournal.com) Several U.K. Firmsand Hong Kong firms are also cutting costs. (Law.com International)

  • Squire Patton Boggs became the latest Big Law firm to cancel its summer associate program because of the crisis, while also offering participants jobs. (BLAW)

  • Pharmaceutical giant Gilead, which looks to be near approvalfor its Covid-19 treatment, is, meanwhile, getting advice from WilmerHale for its lawsuit accusing the federal government of violating collaboration agreements for its HIV treatment. (National Law Journal)

  • Cole Schotz lawyers for Modell’s Sporting Goods obtained a second pause of its Chapter 11 case by a federal bankruptcy judge who cited the Covid-19 pandemic for his decision. (New Jersey Law Journal)

  • On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court will, for the first time, allow C-SPAN and other media to broadcast live audio of its oral argument. For now the move is temporary. (BLAW)

  • The limits of virtual trials during the Covid-19 crisis are about to be tested in Cisco Systems Inc.'s complex patent dispute with a Washington-area startup. (BLAW)

  • The American Bar Association teamed up with justice tech company Paladin to launch an online portal that lawyers can use to find pro bono opportunities to help people affected by Covid-19 and other natural disasters. (BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Growth at New York-based law firms was shrinking even before the Covid-19 crisis arrived. (American Lawyer) For example, Kasowitz Benson Torres’ CEO blames the New York-based firm’s 4.6% drop in gross revenues in 2019 on the loss of a 15-member real estate group, but he expects a lift from disputes work this year. (New York Law Journal)

  • As Italy moves to ease Covid-19 lock-down restrictions, elite law firms in the country are preparing to reopen. (Law.com International)

  • The France-based legal wing of accounting giant KPMG, KPMG Avocats, launched an intellectual property/new technology department for which it recruited eight new lawyers and two staff from a French firm. (LeMondeduDroit.com)

  • A Louisiana law firm sent 777 pizzas to health care workers at local hospitals and challenged other firms around the country to do the same. (KALB.com)

  • As airlines worldwide scramble for funding to survive Covid-19’s impact on air travel, Sidley Austin advised several groups of underwriters on three offerings by Southwest Airlines Co. that, according to a press release, raised $6 billion. Vinson & Elkins advised Southwest Airlines on the offerings. (Bloomberg News)

  • Dechert is advising French specialty vaccine company Valneva on a reported $308 million deal with pharma giant Pfizer to develop and commercialize Valneva’s Lyme disease vaccine candidate. (Contract Pharma) (ThePharmaletter.com)

Reports

  • More than 70% of employers in a recent Blank Rome survey of 150 clients said they haven’t completed a “return to work” strategy, while 56% said they’re getting started on one. (BlankRome.com)

  • Phishing remains the top cause of cyber breaches, with network intrusions the second biggest source, while ransomeware attacks are surging in number and cost, according to a new security incident report from BakerHostetler. (Bakerlaw.com)

  • Covid-19 has spurred investment managers to boost their use of calls, webinars, and video conferencing to communicate with clients, according to a new Seward & Kissel survey. (Sewkis.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Buchalter’s Seattle office got four attorneys from Foster Garvey. They include tax, benefits, and estate planning lawyers Harold (Hal) E. Snow, Jr., as a shareholder, and Paul M. Barba as attorney; intellectual property litigator John B. Crosetto joins as senior counsel and IP lawyer Scott G. Warner as of counsel. (Buchalter.com)

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS added veteran mediator Deirdre McCarthy Gallagher to its Washington panel. Her previous roles include three years at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. JAMS also added former Florida judge and federal prosecutor Jacqueline Hogan Scola to its Miami panel. (JAMSadr.com)

In-house

  • Beth Bath & Beyond Inc. hired former Amazon.com in-house lawyer Arlene Hong to replace the top lawyer it parted ways with over four months ago. Hong was most recently legal chief at Fullbeauty Brands Inc., a plus-size women’s clothing retailer that filed for bankruptcy last year. (BLAW)

  • Deutsche Bank AG’s group general counsel Florian Drinhausen is stepping down next month after more than two years in the role. (BLAW)

Promotions

  • DLA Piper promoted 67 lawyers (23 women) to partner across 35 offices in 13 countries, including 33 in the U.S. (DLAPiper.com)

Technology

  • ICANN, the global non-profit that manages the internet domain system, blocked the controversial $1.1 billion sale to a private equity firm of the organization that manages the .org top-level internet domain favored by non-profits. Activists and politicians had urged rejection of the November 2019 deal, which was brokered by Morrison & Foerster and Proskauer Rose. (Ars Technica)

  • Intapp, a tech provider that works closely with law firms, has laid off more than 45 workers, or about 5% of its workforce, partly in response to the Covid-19 downturn. (BLAW)

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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