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Wake Up Call: Citi Report Finds Revenue Slowdown

Nov. 10, 2015, 12:30 PM

• With demand for legal services shrinking, law firms face a slowdown in revenue and profit growth for 2015 compared with last year, according to a new report by Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group. The group surveyed 178 firms, including 83 Am Law 100 firms, 42 Second Hundred firms and 53 niche/boutique firms. (The American Lawyer)

• Improving society and having intellectual challenges make lawyers happier than just making money, according to a recent survey of Northeastern University School of Law’s alumni population. (Big Law Business)

A New Orleans federal appeals court ruled Monday that President Obama can not go ahead with his plans to use executive powers to get around lack of congressional action on immigration. The court said a lawsuit filed by 26 states to block Obama’s plan would likely succeed at trial. (New York Times)

• U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, two years ago stated that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records “almost certainly” violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment,in an order barring the government from collecting information on individual plaintiffs. In an opinion released Monday, Leon again attacked the program and expressed frustration with the DC Circuit Court’s handling of the case. (LegalTimes)

Legal Market

• Records indicate that David Harleston, Al Jazeera America’s general counsel, as well as its executive vice president for business and legal affairs, never completed the bar admission process in New York State, although he did pass the bar exam. If he does turn out to be a non-lawyer , that could jeopardize attorney-client privilege in AJAM’s pending lawsuits. (Big Law Business)

•Foley & Lardner and London-based Eversheds have called off discussions on a potential merger, according to a leaked internal memorandum from Foley. (The American Lawyer)

• London-based firm Holman Fenwick Willan said it plans to open three offices in the Middle East,adding to its existing base in Dubai. (The Lawyer)

• Baker & McKenzie opened an office in Cairo, Egypt, in 1986, and subsequently opened offices in Casablanca, and Johannesburg. Big Law Business talked to Baker & McKenzie’s Gary Senior, who sits on the firm’s global executive committee, about the firm’s plans and aspirations in Africa, which many of its U.S. and foreign rivals also see as their next great expansion opportunity. (Big Law Business)

• UK publisher Pearson plans to appoint as many as five law firms to its new labor and employment panel for the UK by the end of the year. The company is running a separate panel process in the U.S. (The Lawyer)

Laterals and Moves

• Insurance recovery partner Richard DeNatale joined Jones Day Tuesday, leaving Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe after seven years; and other West Coast moves , including at DLA Piper, Loeb & Loeb, Fenwick & West. (The Recorder)

• Sidley Austin has made another move to expand its Los Angeles office, by hiring finance attorney Richard Petretti away from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he has been a partner for 21 years, according to lawyers familiar with the move. Petretti starts Tuesday, they said. (The Recorder)

• Goldberg Segalla, a growing 240-lawyer Buffalo, New York-based firm that has made some significant lateral hires this year, said Monday that it had fired the insurance partner it acquired three years ago to launch a London office. It said the termination was justified by the partner’s inflammatory remarks about Liverpool soccer fans in an online video interview and on Twitter. (The American Lawyer)

Technology

• Facebook Inc.said Monday that it plans to appeal a Brussels court’s data privacy ruling ordering it to cease tracking users in Belgium without obtaining their consent. (Wall Street Journal)

• The European Court of Justice’s ruling last month nullifying the Safe Harbor data sharing arrangement, under which thousands of U.S. companies had been able to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S., could provide a big boost to manufacturers of hardware to build data centers for data that will have to be stored in the EU.(Financial Times)

Legal Education

Arizona State Law School is gearing up to launch a program in the fall of 2016 that will give law students experience assessing the viability of incoming cases while also chipping away at the access-to-justice problem in America. The school’s dean, Douglas Sylvester, told Big Law Business the program model is a first in legal education that he hopes will be adopted by other schools nationwide. (Big Law Business)

• A top Hollywood attorney has donated $5 million to help his law school, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, set up an entertainment and media law center in his name, the school announced Monday. (National Law Journal)

Miscellaneous

• Plaintiffs attorneys are wary of a move by Volkswagen of America to offer $1,000 in cash and dealer credits to owners of diesel-powered VW’s that have software designed to defeat emissions tests. (Forbes)

• A Florida federal judge Monday okayed a $76 million settlement to end a class action alleging that Nationstar Mortgage colluded with insurance providers to earn high profits from so-called force-placed insurance, which lenders or loan servicers can obtain at borrowers’ expense if the borrowers’ insurance lapses or is insufficient. (Law360)

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