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Wake Up Call: Burford Bets $100 Million on Diverse Litigators

Oct. 14, 2021, 12:36 PM

In today’s column, Fried Frank is the latest Big Law firm to ask its employees to start returning to the office in early November; legal education nonprofit AccessLex Institute announced a $5 million diversity program, providing bar review courses for 4,000 law students; 13 state attorneys general joined objectors to the $310 million iPhone throttling settlement.

  • Leading off, New York-headquartered litigation finance firm Burford Capital announced a $100 million fund aimed at boosting commercial litigation and arbitration led by female and racially diverse lawyers, “historically underrepresented in the business of law.” Burford said the fund is “phase two” of its Equity Project, started two years ago. (Burford) Getting so-called origination credit is essential for women and minority lawyers to advance in their firms. But many firms still don’t keep track of how such credit is awarded, a report says. (American Lawyer)
  • After Akin Gump earlier this week, Fried Frank joined the list of Big Law firms asking employees to begin returning to the office in early November, after 18-plus months of working remote during the pandemic. (American Lawyer)
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Mayer Brown, and Pillsbury were among the many law firms that found new, smaller premises in Washington during the summer. It’s a sign of how much the legal workforce has changed during the pandemic. (Washington Business Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Hogan Lovells said tech and M&A partner Chris Moore is taking over as its Silicon Valley office managing partner, effective Nov. 1. The office’s current chief, Nate Gallon, is moving up to a “broader leadership role” as corporate and finance attorney talent lead, Americas. (
  • Thirteen state attorneys general joined objectors appealing attorney fees in the $310 million Apple Inc. Iphone throttling settlement; Davis Wright Tremaine filed a California copyright lawsuit on behalf of singer and actress Cher over rights to songs in the Sonny and Cher catalog. (The Recorder)
  • Prominent merger and acquisition firms tend to promote their general expertise in dealmaking, but several firms that have recently been climbing M&A deal rankings specialize in one or two industries. (American Lawyer)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Jones Day hired longtime Kirkland & Ellis trial attorney Bridget O’Connor as a partner Washington in its business and tort litigation practice; Barnes & Thornburg added life sciences patent litigator John W. Cox as a partner in Atlanta. He was previously at Womble Bond Dickinson; Cozen O’Connor brought in Foley & Lardner construction litigator Ralf R. Rodriguez in its Miami office as a member; management-side worklaw firm Fisher Phillips said its fall 2021 associate class includes 19 attorneys joining across eight U.S. offices (
  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS added former Jackson Walker labor and employment co-chair Gary Fowler to its Dallas panel. JAMS added former California Court of Appeal Associate Justice Richard M. Aronson to its Orange County, Calif., panel. (
  • Softbank appointed asset management general counsel Spencer Collins to general counsel of SoftBank Investment Advisers, a role that has him overseeing its Vision Fund, according to a report. Collins’ LinkedIn profile says he’s a former tech and M&A lawyer at White & Case, Allen Overy, and Fenwick. (The Lawyer) The New York Racing Association, a nonprofit horse racing track operator, named sports and entertainment in-house veteran Joi Garner as senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, to succeed Joe Lambert, who is retiring. Garner, a former Morrison & Foerster attorney, previously served as top lawyer at THINK450, the marketing and licensing arm of the National Basketball Players Association. (


  • Cloud-based e-discovery company Everlaw announced its new Legal Holds product, which it said will help in-house legal teams preserve evidence. It also released a tool to help teams acquire and analyze data from business communication platform Slack directly within Everlaw. (Businesswire)

Legal Education

  • Legal education nonprofit AccessLex Institute launched a $5 million program to provide bar review courses for 4,000 law students in an effort to promote legal profession diversity and access. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at