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Wake Up Call: Dechert Plans ‘Soft’ Nov. 8 Reopening

Oct. 25, 2021, 12:36 PM

In today’s column, the cinematographer shot by Alec Baldwin was married to a Latham & Watkins associate; the U.S. top lawyer at crypto exchange company Binance stepped down after seven months on the job; emojis are small digital image files but they can have a big impact on litigation.

  • Leading off, Dechert said it’s delaying its office return again and ditching plans for a hybrid working arrangement that would have required employees to work at least three days a week in office. The Philadelphia-headquartered firm now plans a Nov. 8 “soft” re-opening for its U.S., Europe, Asia, and Middle East offices and said it will let employees decide how much time they want to spend in office, until at least year’s end. It’s also easing its Covid vaccine rules for lawyers and staff, a report says. (Philadelphia Business Journal)
  • Several other firms have opted for early November reopening dates, while many others have put off their returns to 2022. (BLAW) Akin Gump, Reed Smith, and Skadden, Arps have taken different approaches to bringing in new associates this year. (Reuters) Some young Big Law attorneys are finding out that being in-office is key to getting the work assignments they need to meet their billing-hour targets. (NYT)
  • With corporate business booming, Texas law firms are coming up against a shortage of experienced lawyers. (Houston Chronicle) St. Louis, Mo.-founded Armstrong Teasdale plans to raise starting salaries of Philadelphia first-year associates to $190,000 next year. That’s more than what it pays its associates in New York and Boston, according to a report. (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, killed last week on an Arizona movie set in an apparent accidental shooting by actor Alex Baldwin, was married to Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins corporate associate. (Deadline)
  • Boise, Idaho, Las Vegas, and Raleigh, N.C., are among regional cities that could be the next hot market for Big Law, analysts said. (American Lawyer)
  • Paul Weiss, Kaplan Hecker, and Cooley are going to trial against white supremacists responsible for the Charlottesville rally, a report says. (National Law Journal) Two law firms are teaming up with a New Jersey LGBTQ+ activist group to provide pro bono legal help to transgender New Jerseyans seeking legal name changes. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Arnold & Porter recruited former New York federal prosecutor Michael Kim Krouse as a partner in New York. Krouse earlier spent time as an associate at Skadden, Arps, and Williams & Connolly, McKinsey & Company business analyst, and was U.S. Marine Corps judge advocate; Greenberg Traurig added McGuireWoods corporate lawyer Tamara Rizkalla as a shareholder in Washington. She focuses on transactions, regulatory and compliance matters in the health-care industry; Hunton Andrews Kurth named its national public finance practice leader, Douglass Selby, to be its new Atlanta managing partner. (Daily Report)
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner poached a four-lawyer litigation and investigations team in Paris from White & Case, led by partner Philippe Métais, who was head of White & Case’s Paris commercial and civil litigation practice, with partner Elodie Valette and two associates; White & Case snagged private equity and M&A lawyer Xavier Petet as partner in Paris. He joins after close to 14 years at Clifford Chance; Herbert Smith Freehills hired an energy sector focused project finance partner in Paris, grabbing Michaël Armandou from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. (Global Legal Post)
  • The world’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance, facing regulatory probes around the world, is dealing with top lawyer churn, according to reports. The company’s U.S. general counsel Christopher Robins stepped down after only seven months in the job and is now in a part-time role. Former Ripple Labs general counsel Norman Reed is filling in on an interim basis. Reed is, among other things, a former Securities and Exchange Commission special counsel for market regulation. (Business Insider) (Coindesk)


  • Use of emojis, compact digital images or icons used to express ideas or emotions, is having a big impact on evidence in litigation. (

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