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Wake Up Call: Davis Polk Hires FTC’s Chief IP Counsel

Jan. 29, 2020, 1:11 PM

In today’s column, Clark Hill grabbed a five-lawyer immigration firm in Los Angeles; a report says woman, minority, and LGBTQ+ lawyers are still having a hard time breaking through to equity partner; and several firms are advising in the bankruptcies of big supermarket chains.

  • Leading off, Davis Polk hired the Federal Trade Commission’s former chief counsel for intellectual property, Suzanne Munck, who among other things led the agency’s recent revision of its antitrust guidelines for the licensing of intellectual property. Munck joins the firm as counsel in its antitrust and competition group in Washington. In her 12 years at the agency, she also became a deputy director. Earlier in her career, she worked at Howrey and Sheppard Mullin. (DavisPolk.com)

  • Clark Hill said it combined with L.A.-based immigration law boutique Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, getting its 11-member team, including five lawyers, plus paralegals and support staff. The boutique’s founder, Carl Shusterman, a former trial attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, joined as senior counsel. (ClarkHill.com)

  • Many law firms have increased the share of women and minority attorneys in their equity partner ranks in the last year, but lawyers from historically “underrepresented” groups, also including LGBTQ+ attorneys, are still mainly shunted into the nonequity partner category, which offers less possibility to reap financial benefits, according to a new report. (BLAW)

  • Lucky’s Market Parent Company LLC yesterday entered an agreement to sell six of its stores to Publix Group LP, Polsinelli partner Christopher A. Ward said in the company’s first-day bankruptcy hearing yesterday in Delaware. (BN via BLAW)

  • Ballard Spahr and Monzack Mersky McLaughlin and Browder are representing creditors in the case, while Kroger, another grocery store chain that used to be Lucky’s majority owner, hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges. (The American Lawyer)

  • Company leaders are increasingly soliciting input from their general counsel and chief legal officers in an effort to stay ahead of complex compliance and technical challenges facing their businesses, according to an Association of Corporate Counsel report. (BLAW)

  • Reed Smith announced that longtime partner William Griffith “Bill” Thomas died last week at age 80. Thomas, a prominent land-use attorney and lobbyist who advised two Virginia Democratic governors, co-founded a firm that later was acquired by Reed Smith. He was father of Reed Smith’s current global managing partner, Sandy Thomas. (Washington Business Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Civil court penalties for companies that destroy electronic evidence in cases have plunged since a coalition of corporate defense attorneys and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce successfully lobbied to get Rule 37(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure changed in 2015, according to a report by nonprofit news organization ProPublica. (ProPublica)

  • The general counsel at the White House Office of Management and Budget is former DLA Piper partner Mark Paoletta. According to the Post’s profile of him, Paoletta is responsible for executing some of the White House’s most legally aggressive moves, including the hold on Ukrainian aid now central to President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. (WaPo)

  • The husband of Mary Louise Kelly, that NPR reporter chewed out by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for asking him about Ukraine, is Nick Boyle, a partner at Pompeo’s old firm, Williams & Connolly. (Above The Law)

  • Law firms may be tempted to outsource some of their growing load of litigation support-related work, a report says. (Legaltech News)

  • Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers in his Manhattan criminal trial yesterday opened the door to more witnesses to testify against their client by suggesting prosecution witnesses are lying, a report says. (Bloomberg News)

  • Three former federal prosecutors launched a New York law firm, Abell Eskew Landau, specializing in government enforcement matters, false claims act cases, white collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation, and regulatory counseling, with a focus on the healthcare industry. (Yahoo Finance/PR Newswire)

Deals

  • Private equity firm Palladium Equity Partners announced that it completed the sale of the parent company of electronic funds transfer services company DolEx Dollar Express, Inc., to a group of investors including management. Locke Lord advised DolEx, its parent company, and Palladium. Goodwin Procter advised acquiring investors. (PRNewswire.com)

  • Cole Schotz represented financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald on its renewal of two 16-year leases for two neighboring buildings for its global headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. (Commercial Property Executive)

  • Covington & Burling client ServiceNow, a California-based digital workflow company, acquired Passage AI, a conversational artificial intelligence platform that enables clients to build chatbots in multiple languages. (CFO)

  • Hogan Lovells advised J.P. Morgan on its acquisition of a new office building able to hold up to 450 people, on the Place du Marché Saint-Honoré in the heart of Paris. (LeMondeduDroit.fr)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Alston & Bird hired San Francisco Bar Association president Stuart Plunkett as a partner in the city. The litigation veteran arrives from Baker Botts, where he was a founding partner of the San Francisco office and its hiring partner. (Alston.com)

  • Baker McKenzie added two former KPMG tax lawyers as partners in Miami. Tax-planning and transactional lawyers Jeffrey Rubinger and Summer LePree both arrive most recently from Bilzin Sumberg, where they were both partners, and both were at Holland & Knight earlier in their careers. (BakerMcKenizie.com)

  • Hughes Hubbard & Reed said partner Andrew Braiterman, chair of the firm’s tax practice, was named chair of the New York State Bar Association’s tax section, which has over 2,500 members. (HughesHubbard.com)

  • Davis Wright Tremaine hired former federal prosecutor Matthew Diggs as a partner in its Seattle office, in the firm’s white collar, investigations & government controversies practice. According to his LinkedIn, he spent 12 years at the DOJ, is a former Perkins Coie associate, and focuses on issues including healthcare fraud & False Claims Act litigation. (DWT.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • The sole shareholder of Healthcare Essentials Inc. is liable for a default judgment of over $645 million due to discovery abuse in a lawsuit over an alleged fraud scheme related to a wound therapy system, a federal court ruled. (BLAW)

  • WeWork’s lawyers from Shook, Hardy & Bacon urged an Illinois federal judge to toss claims that the company tracked people in its office spaces without consent. (BLAW)

Technology

  • A LexisNexis matter-management platform has partnered with capital solutions provider LSQ to help legal departments pay their law firms faster. (Corporate Counsel)

  • New Jersey-based Bressler, Amery & Ross launched a redesigned web site as part of a “visual rebrand.” (Bressler.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

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