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Wake Up Call: Clinton Lawyer Hired Research Firm for Russia Dossier: Report

Oct. 25, 2017, 12:12 PM

• The Senate yesterday voted 51 to 50 to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule aimed at making it easier for customers to sue banks. The vote abruptly closes a fight by federal regulators, consumer advocacy groups, and financial lobbyists that was sparked by the financial crisis. The resolution hands financial firms a big win, making it easier for them to require arbitration in disputes with consumers. ( Bloomberg via BLB ) ( New York Times )

• Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias, as general counsel for the Hillary Clinton campaign, hired the research company that produced a dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and Moscow, according to a report. ( Washington Post ) ( Perkins Coie )

• Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison said former Kirkland & Ellis bankruptcy lawyer Paul Basta has started at the firm as the co-chairman of its corporate restructuring practice. ( BLB )

• Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is rejoining his former law firm, Michael Best and Friedrich. He will join as president and chief strategist. ( Politico )

• Guardian Life Insurance Company of America hired a former New York state insurance superintendent and country prosecutor, Debevoise & Plimpton partner Eric Dinallo, as its new general counsel to replace Tracy Rich. ( ThinkAdvisor )

• BLB editor Casey Sullivan discusses his recent interview with high-profile lawyer David Boies, who is preparing to hand over leadership of his law firm so that it can carry on after he is gone. ( Bloomberg Radio )

Law Firm Business

• As their rents go up, Big Law firms are seeking more flexible lease structures that allow them to more efficiently use their space. ( Wall Street Journal )

• Millennial lawyers--born between the early 1980s and late 1990s--are showing up in the legal industry as many law firms face decisions about how to stay relevant in rapidly evolving market. ( The American Lawyer )

• Providing top-notch pop-up legal clinics to rural communities in California requires a few things: lawyers willing to volunteer time, a lot of coffee, and a few tickets for the 7 a.m. departure of the Justice Bus. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• The Israeli government “secretly” hired Chicago-based firm Sidley Austin to help in its fight against anti-Israel movements in Europe, says a report. ( Haaretz )

Legal Market

• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took the rare move of asking two federal regulators to take action against what it called attorneys’ “misleading” advertising that encourages people to file lawsuits against prescription drug and medical device companies. ( National Law Journal )

• Virtual reality studio Here Be Dragons hired former federal prosecutor Ali Kazemi as GC for business affairs and legal. Kazemi was previously GC at blogging company Tumblr and website-building company Squarespace. Earlier in his career, he was a prosecutor in the National Security and Cybercrime Unit for the Eastern District of New York. ( B&C )

• Alison Nicoll, general counsel for alternative-data lender Upstart Network Inc., is right at home with the legal and regulatory uncertainties that keep financial technology companies and their investors up at night. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• The U.S. student loan industry is trying to dodge state investigations into allegedly abusive practices by claiming they’re preempted by federal law, a bipartisan group of attorneys general claimed. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• The Weinstein Co. faces its first lawsuit accusing the company of failing to control ousted co-founder Harvey Weinstein, in a case brought by an actress who claims he sexually assaulted her. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• Credit reporting company Equifax Inc., already reeling from American probes into the loss of data on 145.5 million customers in a computer hack, will face an investigation in the U.K., where 694,000 consumers had information stolen. ( Bloomberg )

• Confirm us and cybersecurity will be a top priority at the Securities and Exchange Commission two Trump nominees told the Senate Banking Committee. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

The Trump Administration

• President Trump’s long-time legal adviser Michael Cohen was interviewed in private by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe. ( Bloomberg )

• Federal prosecutors in New York are said to have issued subpoenas as part of an investigation into whether former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort used New York real estate transactions to launder foreign money into the U.S. financial system. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed its remaining case over Trump’s travel ban, dropping out of the fight for at least a few weeks while lower courts scrutinize the latest version of the policy. ( Bloomberg )

• Lawyers for the New York Yankees defeated a court challenge to a century-old legal doctrine that prevents fans from suing when they get hit with foul balls or broken bats. ( Bloomberg )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Baker Botts expanded its IP litigation team in Washington, D.C, hiring former Kirkland & Ellis partner Katharine Burk as a special counsel in its International Trade Commission team. ( World Intellectual Property Review ) ( Linkedin )

• Holland & Knight said business litigation attorney David Cannella joined the firm as a partner in its Orlando office. He was previously a shareholder at Carlton Fields and was an associate at Maguire, Voorhis & Wells P.A., which eventually merged with Holland & Knight in 1998. ( Hklaw )

• Ropes & Gray said it promoted 12 attorneys to partner three associates to counsel across seven offices worldwide. ( Markets Insider )


• Two former and one current female engineers filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against Uber Technologies, adding to the company’s legal problems. ( The Recorder )

• Uber could face a regulatory clampdown in Brazil, its second-largest market after the U.S. ( Bloomberg )

• Facebook Inc. may be subject to data privacy regulators across the European Union if the bloc’s top court follows the opinion of an adviser. ( Bloomberg )

• DFJ, a venture capital firm known for backing Elon Musk’s ventures, said it hired a law firm to investigate sexual harassment allegations against founding partner Steve Jurvetson. ( Recode ) ( Bloomberg )

• Twitter Inc. is creating a new tool that will detail political campaigns’ spending to advertise on the site, as it and other social media companies face criticism in Congress for lack of transparency, and possible new regulation. ( Bloomberg )

• The increasing use of telecommuting at U.S. businesses raises questions about companies’ obligations to employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. ( Bloomberg BNA )

Legal Education

• Harvard Law School plans to survey its students about their mental health. ( )

• Close to 70 percent of candidates who took the New York State Bar exam in July passed, up 4 percent from last year, the New York State Board of Examiners said. ( New York Law Journal )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.