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Wake Up Call: Covid Infections Follow Big Law Holiday Party

Dec. 9, 2021, 1:25 PM

In today’s column, Withers said it’s launching a U.S.-Canada tax and estate-planning practice; several more firms matched the Davis Polk standard for associate year-end bonuses; a video platform hired a former NSA top lawyer to be its general counsel.

  • Leading off, after Latham & Watkins’ New York corporate department had a holiday party last week as many as 10 associates who attended have tested positive for Covid-19, a legal blog reports. Latham in September was among firms that mandated all lawyers and staff had to get Covid vaccinated to enter U.S. offices. (Above The Law)
  • The U.K.’s legal services sector, the world’s second biggest, had 17.8 billion pounds ($23.47 billion) in first-half 2020 revenues after taking in 36.8 billion pounds ($48.51 billion) for all of 2019, a report says. (Yahoo! News) Elite London law firms, already struggling to compete with U.S. rivals, should beware the potential impact of Kirkland & Ellis’s recent move to shorten its partner track, an industry observer warned. (Financial Times)
  • South Florida chief judges expect many new rules and regulations in 2022 with the pandemic the biggest factor fueling changes. (Daily Business Review)

Lawyers, Law Firms

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • McDermott Will & Emery grabbed intellectual property partners Simon Roberts and Jason Leonard from Hogan Lovells in New York. It got IP partner Maxwell “Mac” Fox in Tokyo from Jones Day; Davis Wright Tremaine hired bank regulatory and policy specialist Alexandra Steinberg Barrage as a partner in Washington. She was recently associate director for policy at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Baker Botts hired Baker & McKenzie’s global chief financial officer, Paul Eichelman, to take over as CFO, based in Chicago, from Houston-based Lydia Companion, who’s retiring; Nixon Peabody, citing a surge in real estate transactions, said it hired three counsel for its affordable housing and real estate practice across its Boston, Chicago, and Washington offices. (
  • Virginia’s GOP attorney general-elect picked Andrew Ferguson, former chief counsel to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, to be the state’s next solicitor general. According his LinkedIn profile, Ferguson’s early roles, among others, include stints as associate at Covington & Burling, Bancroft, and Sidley Austin and a clerkship for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (WaPo)
  • Video platform Rumble hired former Trump White House lawyer Michael Ellis, who briefly served as National Security Agency top lawyer, as its general counsel and corporate secretary; data center operator Atlas Power Group, LLC, hired in-house veteran Scott Levin, the former top lawyer of floral and gifting company FTD, to be its chief legal officer, chief people officer, and corporate secretary; marketing technology company Digital Envoy hired in-house legal and privacy professional Michael Kercher as its new general counsel and chief privacy officer. He arrives after a decade at packaging company WestRock as chief privacy officer and global privacy counsel; Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recruited life sciences and tech industry in-house leader Martin Wilson as general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior vice president. He was recently top lawyer at Ichnos Sciences, (
  • Sidley Austin said it elected 42 lawyers to partner and 20 to counsel across its U.S., London, and Asia offices, effective Jan. 1, 2022. (

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at