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Wake Up Call: Crypto Group ‘Rates’ Assets to Avoid Securities Violations

Oct. 1, 2019, 11:46 AM
  • An O’Melveny & Myers team is advising a group of eight crypto currency companies on their effort to develop a standardized system for rating, on a 1-to-5 scale, their digital assets’ likelihood of being viewed as an investment contract under U.S. federal securities laws. The team is led by financial technology chair Eric Sibbitt. Coinbase and the other companies in the new Crypto Rating Council said it’s aimed at helping companies comply with “incredibly complex” U.S. securities rules. (O’Melveny) (

  • Debevoise & Plimpton snagged Jones Day’s restructuring practice co-leader Sidney Levinson as a partner and co-chair of its own restructuring group, in a move to boost its capacity to advise clients in sectors growing more vulnerable to bankruptcies. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Burford Capital and its Quinn Emanuel lawyers asked a London court for approval to get details from the London Stock Exchange about who was behind what they contend was suspicious trading that recently led to a more than $1.2 billion plunge in the litigation finance company’s market value. (American Lawyer)

  • Law firm mergers so far this year haven’t matched 2018′s record-shattering pace, but they’re still ahead of their historic average, according to new data. (American Lawyer)

  • A federal judge in Kansas got a rare public reprimand yesterday for misconduct that included sexually harassing court employees. That’s the federal judiciary’s most severe available sanction. (BLAW via BLB)

  • An Illinois state court judge faced a tougher reckoning as a regulatory body ordered him removed from the bench after concluding he lied to police about firing a gun into a neighbor’s apartment and tried to retaliate against female colleagues who filed sex harassment complaints against him. A Sidley Austin partner led the disciplinary prosecution in the case. (BLAW via BLB)

  • The U.K. accounting authority said it started an investigation into Ernst & Young’s accounting work for bankrupt travel company Thomas Cook Group Plc. (FRC)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Employment class action firm Sanford Heisler & Sharp is representing the family of a Facebook Inc. employee who jumped to his death from the upper floor of the social media company’s headquarters in California. (The Recorder)

  • Consumer food products seller Verus International Inc. hired its first general counsel, getting food and tech industry in-house veteran Michael McGowan, who among other things was previously an associate GC and vice president at AOL and Time Warner. (

  • L.A.-based City National Bank, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, hired finance industry in-house leader Michael Speaker as its new executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. Speaker, a former deputy chief counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department’s office of financial stability and an Ashurst lawyer, arrives from Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati where he was deputy GC. (Corporate Counsel)


  • Real estate technology, or “PropTech,” companies are not likely to have a big impact on the real estate market in the coming year, but their influence is likely to grow as executives get more familiar with PropTech opportunities, according to DLA Piper’s latest global real estate market survey. (

  • Goodwin Procter advised client Rockwood Capital, LLC on two September purchases of real estate properties in the Washington area: a $57.5 million purchase of Arlington Plaza in a joint venture with American Real Estate Partners; and the purchase for an undisclosed price of the Clark Building in Bethesda, Maryland, in a joint venture with Stonebridge Associates. (

  • Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX, an affiliate of private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc., advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, agreed to buy Colony Industrial, the warehouse unit of Willkie Farr & Gallagher client Colony Capital Inc., for $5.9 billion. ( (BN)

  • Cooley is advising North Carolina-based Dova Pharmaceuticals in its agreement to be acquired for about $915 million by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum. (PharmaLive)

  • Milbank advised joint lead managers in two Association of Southeast Asian Nations green bond issuances by Bank of Philippine Islands, with a combined value of about $405 million. (Milbank)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • King & Spalding added Jones Day M&A partner Erik Belenky in Atlanta as a partner in the firm’s corporate, finance and investments practice group. (

  • Eversheds Sutherland added patent lawyer Jaime Choi as counsel in its new San Diego office in its intellectual property practice. She was earlier at Jones Day and WilmerHale, and had a previous career as a scientist. (

  • Former Texas federal attorney Paul Coggins, now a Dallas-based partner at Locke Lord and co-chair of the firm’s white collar criminal defense and internal investigations practice group, was sworn in Friday as president of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Johnson & Johnson, advised by King & Spalding, was hit with a $40 million jury award in the latest case brought by a woman who alleged her exposure to asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her to develop cancer. (BLAW)


  • Big Four accounting firm PwC LLP said it will invest $3 billion over four years to provide technology training to its 276,000 employees worldwide, and to expand its efforts to provide training to students, teachers, and other workers worldwide. PwC and its competitors have aggressively invested in new technologies to make rote, repetitive work of accounting more efficient. (BLAW)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at

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