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Wake Up Call: Coca-Cola ‘Reviewing’ Ex-GC’s Diversity Rule

April 26, 2021, 12:18 PM

In today’s column, Uber’s legal chief for EMEA is leaving after six years; Big Law firms that advised in the European soccer Super League fiasco haven’t been eager to talk about it; the national first-time bar passage rate improved in 2020, but fewer people took the test.

  • Leading off, the Coca-Cola Co. is reviewing the strict diversity mandate for outside law firms implemented three months ago by its then general counsel, Bradley Gayton, who was abruptly replaced last week after eight months in the job, according to a report. (Atlanta Journal Constitution). The diversity guidelines implemented by Gayton stipulate that 30% of firms’ billable hours for Coke have to be posted by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals or people with disabilities, and half of the hours must go to Black attorneys. They include a possible 30% holdback in legal fees for non-compliant law firms. (BLAW)
  • Davis Polk & Wardell is planning a voluntary two-day program in May to get its New York lawyers and staff back into the office, briefly, after over a year of remote working because of the pandemic. (New York Law Journal)
  • Clifford Chance is planning to lay off up to 73 staff in London after evaluating how its business will function after the pandemic, a report says; Dechert is giving its global business services staff an extra paid day off and a $1,000 Covid bonus; Kirkland & Ellis, which already matched the David Polk scale for special associate bonuses, is offering U.S. associates up to another $1,000 for up to 10 expensed meals, at up to $100 each, that can be with anyone they want. (Above the Law)
  • The pandemic has hit legal aid groups’ finances especially hard. (NBC News)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • After the collapse of the controversial plan to create a new Super League by 12 of Europe’s top soccer teams, Big Law firms involved in the deal have been reluctant to discuss their participation. According to RollonFriday, Baker McKenzie confirmed its Spanish branch office advised Barcelona’s club, but Cleary Gottlieb, Freshfields, and Allen & Overy, which were reported to have advised U.K. clubs on the deal, declined to comment. (RollonFriday)
  • First lady Dr. Jill Biden’s chief of staff, Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, a former Winston & Strawn partner and former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, reported earning about $1.5 million in partnership income from the law firm. The disclosure covers 2020 through the date of the filing. (National Law Journal)
  • A trade organization for litigation funders panned a proposed New Jersey rule that would require lawyers to disclose that they received such funding from non-parties in federal court cases. (New Jersey Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Reed Smith said Monday it’s bringing on commodities finance lawyer Daniel Birch as a partner in its energy and natural resources group in London. He arrives from Allen & Overy, where he’d been over 13 years, most recently as counsel. Senior associate Elizabeth Stroud is also joining the group from Allen & Overy; Akerman added real estate lawyers Bruce Wiener and Bedford Wilder as partners in Tallahassee, Fla. They both arrive from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, where Wiener was Tallahassee office managing partner. (
  • Uber’s legal chief for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and APAC, Matthew Wilson, is leaving the company after six years, according to a report. (The Lawyer) Credit Suisse Group, which has been facing legal problems over financial scandals, on Monday announced that it has promoted in-house lawyer Renato Costantini, to be Zurich-based general counsel of its Switzerland branch. He was previously head of advisory and control group for Switzerland and international. (

Legal Education

  • The national first-time bar passage rate improved three percentage points to 83% in 2020, as Covid-19 sharply reduced the number of takers. (

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at