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Wake Up Call: Covid Boosts Class Action Costs, Report Says

Feb. 23, 2022, 1:33 PM

In today’s column, FINRA hired Lowenstein Sandler to do an independent probe of its handling of a controversial Wells Fargo case; Yale Law School announced a scholarship that “erases tuition” for students with great financial need; Orrick, Sheppard Mullin, and Squire Patton Boggs announced partner promotions rounds.

  • Leading off, Covid-19-related labor and employment claims helped push up U.S. companies’ spending on class action defense by a record 16% in 2021, topping $3 billion for the first time, according to a report by Carlton Fields. The annual report, based on a survey of corporate counsel at over 400 large companies, said respondents expect their class action defense spending to keep climbing in 2022. (CarltonFields.com)
  • Nixon Peabody said pandemic-related challenges have pushed up client demand for advice on construction & real estate litigation. It created a new national practice group led by New England-based trial partner Jeff Brenner. (NixonPeabody.com)
  • The pandemic has also hit the legal market in Canada, where the talent war and soaring workloads are pushing up pay for associates. (Globe and Mail)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Transatlantic firm Eversheds Sutherland said it elected partner and London real estate group head Bruce Dear to a four-year term as chair of its international branch, effective May 1. (Eversheds-Sutherland.com)
  • The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority hired Lowenstein Sandler to review its arbitrator selection procedures in a controversial case involving Wells Fargo. (Advisor Hub) (Financial Advisor)
  • Mayer Brown said it advised Cummins Inc., which makes diesel engines for commercial trucks, on its $3.7 billion acquisition of Meritor, Inc., which supplies drivetrain, mobility, braking and electric powertrain components. Wachtell said it advised Meritor. (BLAW)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Latham & Watkins grabbed White & Case corporate attorney Jason Webber as a partner in New York in its mergers & acquisitions and private equity practices. According to his LinkedIn profile, Webber was co-head of White & Case’s global oil and gas group; Proskauer Rose picked up Kirkland & Ellis private funds partner Robert Sutton in New York; Cleary Gottlieb added Kirkland executive compensation and employee benefits lawyer Elizabeth Dyer in New York as a partner. Former Kirkland partner Sophie Smith joined Cleary in London-as counsel in its private funds practice; former Securities and Exchange Commission supervisory trial counsel Thomas Bednar joined Cleary as counsel in Washington in its litigation and enforcement practice. (ClearyGottlieb.com)
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher rehired cross-border disputes attorney Nanyi Kaluma as a partner in Brussels. She was a Willkie associate earlier in her career and arrives recently from Allen & Overy, where she was counsel; Chicago-based Jones Day antitrust and litigation partner Jeremy Gray said he’s joining crypto company Circle as as senior counsel; Holland & Knight hired corporate lawyer Colby Smith as a partner in Philadelphia in its M&A and private equity practice. He was a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. (HKLaw.com)
  • Norton Rose Fulbright said it brought in a life sciences and intellectual property team, including San Francisco partners Roger Kuan and Jason Novak, and it launched a digital health and precision medicine practice, with Kuan as its U.S. head. Kuan and Novak, and an associate and a registered patent agent, had been recently at Haynes and Boone, where Kuan was chair of the precision medicine and digital health practice group. Kuan and Novak earlier served in senior in-house roles at Thermo Fisher Scientific; Paul Hastings snagged Quinn Emanuel tech trial lawyer Andrea Pallios Roberts as counsel in its IP practice in Palo Alto. (PaulHastings.com)

Promotions

  • Orrick said it promoted 26 attorneys to partner across 12 markets worldwide, its largest class ever. More than half of the partners focus on tech and a third are litigators. For the seventh year in a row, half of the U.S. class is diverse and/or women, it said.; Sheppard Mullin promoted 24 attorneys to partner, of which eight are women and six are non-White; Squire Patton Boggs promoted 23 lawyers to partner and five to principal. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)

Legal Education

  • Yale Law announced “tuition-free” scholarships for students attending the school who have the greatest financial need. (Law.Yale.Edu)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com