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Wake Up Call: Cooley Law to Lose Michigan University Link

Nov. 6, 2020, 1:47 PM

In today’s column, a Big Law firm’s managing partner in an email asked the firm’s employees and lawyers to respect each other’s emotions about the election; A federal judge yesterday ordered the Trump administration to release detailed information about recipients of loans from two federal Covid stimulus programs, one of which dozens of Big Law firms have benefited from; the U.S. seized over $1 billion worth of Bitcoin in its largest ever crypto-bust.

  • Leading off, officials at Western Michigan University cited changing priorities and the Covid-19 pandemic for the school’s decision to sever its six-year-old affiliation with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which has dropped from 3,600 students in 2010 to about 900 today. The separation process takes three years. (Law.com)
  • Quiet layoffs at Big Law firms, mostly affecting staff, are “spreading faster,” as the legal industry adapts to changes brought on by the age of remote work. That shift has eliminated need for certain office jobs. (Law.com)
  • Boston University’s Quinn Emanuel lawyers got a federal judge to throw out a proposed class action by students seeking Covid-19 refunds for the spring 2020 semester. But they can refile. According to tracking by law firm Bryan Cave, 251 actions seeking coronavirus-related refunds from universities and colleges have been filed to date. (BLAW)
  • A federal judge yesterday ordered the Trump administration to release detailed information about businesses that received loans from two federal Covid stimulus programs. The judge said the administration must provide names of recipients and precise amounts for each loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The government has previously disclosed that dozens of Big Law firms received PPP loans, but did not disclose exact amounts. (BLAW)
  • Corporate legal departments could save money by continuing remote working arrangements after the pandemic is gone. But those arrangements also come with risks and costs, a report says. (Corporate Counsel)
  • New York state court officials yesterday were hit with a lawsuit filed by some of the older appellate judges who are being laid off in a Covid cost-cut. (New York Law Journal)

Election

  • Ice Miller’s chief managing partner Steve Humke sent out a firmwide email yesterday afternoon asking employees to give each other “space” to work through their strong feelings about the election. (Above the Law)
  • The Trump campaign has filed at least six lawsuits in battleground states since Election Day to challenge the ballot counts. (Bloomberg News via BLAW) Longtime GOP election lawyer Mark “Thor” Hearne, II has joined that Republican effort. (BLAW)
  • Although President Trump has alleged voter fraud in the election, none of the lawsuits his campaign has filed so far actually make that claim, a report says. (BusinessInsider.com)
  • A group of former federal prosecutors who were appointed by Republican presidents criticized Trump’s claims of election fraud and called on him to allow the count to continue. (USA Today)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The U.K.’s largest listed law firm DWF reported a 14% increase in first-half revenue to 147 million pounds ($193 million) and said tight overhead control and cost-cutting helped boost profits. The firm said it’s cautiously optimistic for the second half. (Global Legal Post)
  • Zoom Video Communications Inc. investors who accused the company of misleading them about software encryption flaws now have a lead plaintiff and lead counsel, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd. Cooley represents Zoom. (BLAW)
  • New details in a recently filed bankruptcy trustee lawsuit over the collapsed UnitedLex-LeClairRyan venture illustrate the importance for legal process outsourcers to do their due diligence with firms they intend to work with, a report says. (American Lawyer)
  • Several Big Law firms advised in Merck & Co.’s $2.75 billion deal to buy VelosBio Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Merck got advice from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Baker Botts, while Cooley advised VelosBio on the deal, expected to close by year’s end. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

Laterals, Moves

  • Schulte Roth & Zabel got restructuring attorney Douglas Mintz as a partner based in Washington and co-chair of the business reorganization group. He was previously a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he co-led the firm’s hedge fund client initiative, and, earlier, was a bankruptcy special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. (SRZ.com)
  • Greenberg Traurig got back corporate lawyer Mike Shalmy as of counsel in Las Vegas. Shalmy was an associate in the office from 2009 to 2014 and returns after serving as vice president and associate general counsel at Diamond Resorts International, Inc. (GTLaw.com)
  • Frost Brown Todd added bankruptcy & restructuring lawyers Jordan Blask and Jillian Nolan Snider as members in its Pittsburgh office. They arrive from Tucker Arensberg where Blask founded and chaired the firm’s corporate risk assessment team. (FrostBrownTodd.com)
  • Worklaw firm Jackson Lewis named Orlando-based principal Stephanie L. Adler-Paindiris as co-leader of its general employment litigation practice, serving alongside Chicago office managing principal Nadine Abrahams. Adler-Paindiris has been co-leader of the firm’s class actions and complex litigation practice since 2015. (JacksonLewis.com)
  • Litigation funder Validity Finance expanded in Texas, recruiting former Kirkland & Ellis trial partner Sarah Williams as portfolio counsel in Houston, where she’ll advise on Texas and the Southwest. Validity also said retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Jones joined its investment committee. (Validy-Finance.com)

In-House

  • The American Bankers Association promoted deputy general counsel Thomas Pinder to replace the retiring Dawn Causey as general counsel. Pinder, a former DOJ trial attorney, joined the ABA in 2012 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, where he was enforcement counsel. (American Banker)
  • The National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons hired Joseph Pierce as in-house legal chief, getting him from the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets. Pierce is a former Bank of America SVP and associate GC, and started his career at Wilson Sonsini. (BLAW)

Promotions

  • Katten promoted 20 attorneys (five women) to partner, in its largest class in more than a decade. (Katten.com)

Technology

  • London-based legal tech company BigHand, recently acquired by private equity company Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, is buying resource management firm Mason & Cook, also based in London. (Artificial Lawyer)
  • The U.S. seized more than $1 billion in Bitcoin it says are linked to the criminal marketplace Silk Road it shut down seven years ago. The Justice Department said it’s the largest cryptocurrency bust the government has ever made. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

Legal Education

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS announced the 2020 class of its foundation’s international fellowship program aimed at providing opportunities for qualified non-U.S. individuals to study alternative dispute resolution processes and practices in the U.S. (JAMSadr.com)

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