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Wake Up Call: Dechert Gets “Toxic Torts Queen,” Two More from Quinn

May 23, 2018, 12:16 PM

•Dechert said it snatched law firm Quinn Emanuel’s product liability and mass tort co-chairs Sheila Birnbaum and Mark Cheffo. A third Quinn partner, Douglas Fleming, also joined Dechert inthe latest big departures from that firm. John Quinn, Quinn Emanuel’s managing partner, attributed the move to client conflicts. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB ) Birnbaum, whose litigation prowess got her dubbed the “queen of toxic torts,” spent 33 years at Skadden, where she led that firm’s defense work on products liability cases involving oral contraceptives, breast implants and other tort matters. ( New York Law Journal )

• Litigation firm Selendy & Gay, led by another group of partners who exited Quinn Emanuel a few months back, said veteran Kirkland & Ellis litigator David Flugman joined as a partner. Flugman has represented clients before federal and state courts, including at the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in 2015, made the National LGBT Bar Association’s list of top LGBT lawyers under age 40.( )

• Hogan Lovells is representing Adobe Systems Inc. in its $1.68 billion acquisition of e-commerce services provider Magento Commerce. Magento is currently owned by London-based private equity company Permira, which is getting advice on the deal from law firm Fried Frank. Magento’s general counsel, Aparna Bawa, is a former associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. ( The Recorder )

• Greenspoon Marder said it acquired The Liaison Group, a federal lobbying firm for the cannabis industry. The group became a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm based in Washington, D.C. ( )

• Michael Avenatti’s old law firm got hit with a $10 million judgment yesterday in a dispute with a former law colleague. Avenatti said that ruling has nothing to do with his fight on behalf of porn star Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump and Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen. ( Bloomberg )

• O’Melveny & Myers said Ben Singer, a former senior prosecutor in the Justice Department’s criminal division, is joining the firm in Washington July 1 as a partner in its white collar defense and corporate investigations practice. The move expands the firm’s practices representing health insurers and financial institutions. ( PR Newswire )

• In 2017, the middle tier of U.S. law firms showed much more volatility than the faster-growing top 100 firms, according to American Lawyer’s new 2018 Am Law 200 data. ( American Lawyer )

Lawyers and Law Firms

• A federal magistrate judge recommended the dismissal of a lawsuit that accuses Reed Smith LLP and Clark Hill PLC of using baseless lawsuits and discovery delays to help a client conceal criminal activities. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Michigan State University hired Robert Young Jr., a former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, to lead its legal department, which continues to deal with the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal. Young becomes vice president and general counsel June 1, with acting GC Kristine Zayko set to go back to private practice. ( Corporate Counsel )

• Speaking of GCs, an $8 million pay deal wasn’t enough to keep former Zenefits lawyerHillary Smith in that job at mobile payment company Square Inc. She’s reported to want out 16 months after arriving, but will stay long enough to hand over her responsibilities to Sivan Whiteley, who has worked on bitcoin trading. ( Business Insider )

• Incoming Paul Weiss associate Chad Klitzman has an unusual item on his CV, a screenwriting credit for the new Netflix film “Candy Jar.” He worked on the flick while a student at Columbia Law School. ( )

• Morrison & Foerster said it is advising Iovation, a Portland, Oregon-headquartered global provider of device-based information, in its acquisition by TransUnion. No financial details were given for the deal, which is subject to regulatory vetting, and is expected to close by early in the third quarter. ( )

• New York attorney Aaron Schlossberg took to Twitter yesterday to try to apologize for his xenophobic rant last week at Spanish-speaking workers in a deli. ( New York Daily News )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Covington & Burling grabbed two partners from Kirkland & Ellis to co-lead its private equity practice. ( New York Law Journal )

•Cooley is expanding its global tax practice by adding London-based partner David Wilson, who was previously at Davis Polk. ( )

• Honigman said IP lawyer Weber Hsiao joined the firm as a senior attorney in its intellectual property department and patent practice group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Weber joins from Brown Rudnick’s Boston office and is the sixth IP attorney to join the firm this year. ( )

Legal Actions

• Trump’s lawyers asked a New York appeals court to put on hold a defamation suit by a former candidate on his reality television show “The Apprentice.” The woman claims he sexually harassed her. ( Bloomberg )

• The Federal Trade Commission is likely to appeal a judge’s decision allowing generic drug company Impax Laboratories Inc. to escape FTC allegations. The agency alleges the company made an illegal drug patent litigation settlement to keep a generic version of a painkiller off the market. ( Bloomberg Law )


• Legal services apps don’t seem to inspire much interest from mobile device users, with only five percent of respondents to a recent survey saying they use them. ( Legaltech News )

• The Pentagon is trying to decide whether ownership of bitcoins or lesser-known cryptocurrencies should be a red flag for security clearances for new recruits. ( Bloomberg )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.