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Wake Up Call: Davis Polk Wants Lawyers In-Office 3 Days a Week

April 26, 2022, 12:44 PM

In today’s column, if Elon Musk decided to fire Twitter’s CLO, she’d get millions in severance; Apple Inc. hired Littler for help fighting a union movement; the first parent convicted in the college admissions scandal hired Jones Day’s Noel Francisco for his appeal.

  • Leading off, Davis Polk & Wardwell’s chief, Neil Barr, late last week sent an email to lawyers and staff announcing that, starting May 2, attorneys in all practices and seniority levels must be in the office Tuesday-through-Thursday. Barr stressed that in-office attendance is important for its summer associate program. (Above The Law) Davis Polk’s new office-return policy clashes with the “flexible” approach announced last week by Cooley. The announcements come as law firms try again to re-open their offices after two years of disruption caused by the pandemic. (BLAW)
  • Elon Musk has gone through a lot of top lawyers at Tesla. Now he’s apparently buying Twitter, whose chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, got a roughly 130% pay raise in 2021. If Musk decides to show her the door, too, Gadde would get a $12.5 million severance package, this report says. (Corporate Counsel)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Apple Inc. hired attorneys at management-side worklaw firm Littler Mendelson to help counter a nascent effort by Apple retail employees across the country to unionize. (Apple Insider)
  • A private equity firm founder who was the first parent convicted in the college admissions scandal hired Jones Day partner Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general, for his appeal. (National Law Journal)
  • A U.S. District Chief Judge appointed Stoel Rives partner S. Lane Tucker U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska effective April 25. (Justice.Gov)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett poached Kirkland & Ellis ERISA-focused investment funds lawyer Erica Rozow as a partner in New York; Willkie Farr & Gallagher brought back a former asset management associate at the firm, Gabriel Acri, as a partner in New York. He returns from hedge fund adviser Sovarnum Capital, where he was managing director, general counsel and chief compliance officer; Ropes & Gray added two asset management counsel. Former Kirkland & Ellis private funds partner Kevin White joined in San Francisco. Former Ropes associate James McGinnis returned in Washington from the House Financial Service Committee, where he was a senior policy adviser and counsel. McGinnis was earlier a Securities and Exchange Commission senior counsel. (Ropes & Gray)
  • Schulte Roth & Zabel grabbed Arnold & Porter finance and derivatives partner Stuart Axford as a partner in London. According to his LinkedIn profile, Axford spent 21 years at Freshfields, including as a partner; DLA Piper got back real estate attorney Kimberlie Pearlman, a former GC at multifamily developer Related Midwest who was a DLA partner earlier in her career, as a partner in Chicago. She arrives from Polsinelli. In New York, DLA brought in corporate restructuring and bankruptcy partner Oksana Lashko. She was previously at Brown Rudnick. (DLA Piper)
  • Latham & Watkins snagged Skadden Arps energy & infrastructure partner Ethan Schultz as a partner in its M&A practice in its Washington and Houston offices; Katten Muchin hired Troutman Pepper health-care transactions and regulatory attorney James Saling as a partner in New York; BakerHostetler got corporate and M&A partner Margaret Butler in New York from Armstrong Teasdale; Hogan Lovells expanded its global regulatory & intellectual property, media, and technology practice in Washington. Partner Elizabeth “Liz” Boison joined from the Justice Department, where she was an attorney on the bank integrity unit and crypto enforcement team. IP litigation partner and former Oracle software engineer Damon Lewis joined Hogan Lovells from DLA Piper, while senior director David Fritz was previously a senior consulting engineer at Nokia. (Hogan Lovells)
  • Former White & Case financial services regulation partner Julia Smithers Excell joined ING Bank UK as managing director, U.K. head of financial markets legal; Passport, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based transportation software and payments company, hired Squire Patton Boggs financial service of counsel D. Burt Arrington as general counsel and corporate secretary. (PR Newswire)

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