Wake Up Call: Covid Prep Helps Law Firms Deal With Ida Impact

Aug. 31, 2021, 12:43 PM

In today’s column, the U.K.’s anti-discrimination law makes it tricky for law firms in the country to require their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19; Kirkland & Ellis said it’s moving its Chicago headquarters to new premises; the Justice Department said its cases against seventeen Capitol rioters are on hold because prosecutors can’t reach their lawyer.

  • Leading off, law firms, law schools, and courts are among organizations facing a long recovery after Hurricane Ida’s powerful winds slammed New Orleans Sunday, leaving much of the city without electricity. Law firms in the city said virtual-work experience they gained during the Covid-19 pandemic is helping them switch to remote work post-storm. (Reuters)
  • As a growing of number of U.S. law firms require their workers to be fully vaccinated before coming back into the office, the U.K.’s anti-discrimination rules are putting law firms in the country in a tough spot as they decide whether to implement their own mandates. (Financial Times)
  • San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster recently became the first U.S. firm to require vaccinations for its U.K. staff. (Global Legal Post) MoFo is also one of the eight California Big Law firms, just over half of the major firms founded in the state, that are requiring vaccines for their U.S. staff. (The Recorder)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Kirkland & Ellis said Monday it is moving its 1,700-employee Chicago office to a new tower in downtown Chicago, citing a need for more collaborative workspace. (American Lawyer)
  • The U.S. Department of Justice said its cases against seventeen Capitol rioters are stalled because prosecutors can’t reach defendants’ lawyer, John Pierce. Pierce, the “conservative” co-founder of litigation boutique Pierce Bainbridge is reportedly sick with Covid, but that hasn’t been confirmed. (Reuters) Meanwhile, the DOJ refuses to work with Pierce’s assistant, who’s unlicensed to practice law and facing criminal charges of his own in Pennsylvania, reports say. (Above the Law) Legally and financially embattled former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani lost his communications director. (Daily Beast)
  • Some elite law firms known as “white shoe” want to distance themselves from negative, exclusionary connations of that description. (American Lawyer)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Crowell & Moring added employee benefits lawyer Anthony Provenzano as a partner in Washington in its tax, labor & employment, and corporate groups. He arrives from from Miller & Chevalier; Morgan Lewis & Bockius brought back lawyer Kimberly Eney, who advises tax-exempt organizations on tax, governance, and corporate laws that can affect their environmental and social objectives. She earlier spent eleven years at the firm and returns as a partner based in San Francisco and Washington; Jones Walker hired veteran tax lawyer Alysse McLoughlin, who worked at the IRS and was state tax counsel at global bank Barclays and at Lehman. She joins as a partner from McDermott Will & Emery. (JonesWalker.com)
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired commodities and derivatives lawyer John Thomas as a partner in New York, in its energy and commodities group. Thomas was most recently managing director and senior counsel at Goldman Sachs’ commodities business, J. Aron & Company LLC; Lowenstein Sandler grabbed Reed Smith capital markets and securities lawyer Jared Kelly as a partner in New York; Arnold & Porter brought in corporate and finance lawyer Christopher Willott as a partner in New York. He arrives from Clifford Chance; Sheppard Mullin recruited health-care regulatory and transactional lawyer Leonard Lipsky as a partner in New York. He joins from Epstein Becker & Green; Nixon Peabody added health-care lawyer Justin Pfeiffer, former director of New York State Health Department’s bureau of program counsel, as counsel in Albany, N.Y.; Holland & Knight snagged Akerman health-care lawyer William Weiner as a partner in New York. (HKLaw.com)
  • Blank Rome hired veteran Big Law operations specialist Shonette Gaston as its a chief operating officer, based in New York. She arrives most recently from Robins Kaplan; oncology therapeutics company Boundless Bio hired pharmaceutical in-house veteran Jessica Oien as general counsel and corporate secretary. She was most recently top lawyer at Cidara Therapeutics. (Businesswire.com)


  • Legal and fintech startup Aumni, founded by former Big Law attorneys and based in Salt Lake City, brought in $50 million in funding from investors including DLA Piper and JP Morgan. (Artificial Lawyer)

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

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