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Wake Up Call: Deloitte U.K. Adds Tech Law Firm to Legal Division

Nov. 3, 2020, 1:28 PM

In today’s column, an appeal is likely after a Texas federal judge dismissed a challenge to Houston’s drive-in voting program; litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh is changing its name again after losing founding partner Walsh; Ford is starting a program aimed at getting more Black young people into law; and a Buchalter program aims to “launch” law grads into appellate careers.

  • Leading off, Deloitte U.K. said Tuesday morning that it’s acquiring technology-focused law firm Kemp Little, adding that firm’s 29 partners and 57 lawyers to its U.K. legal division, which previously had just eight partners, according to reports. The merger, more than doubling Deloitte U.K.’s legal practice, is the latest move by a Big Four accounting firm into Big Law’s turf. (Financial Times) Kemp Little announced the transaction on its Twitter page and web site. (KempLittle.com)
  • Chicago-founded Katten Muchin Rosenman is the latest Big Law firm to fully restore salary cuts made earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic, while also planning to eliminate some lawyers and staff that had been furloughed. (BLAW)
  • Hogan Lovells said it will return, in the U.K., to paying full salaries for newly qualified lawyers, after cutting them in the summer as part of Covid cost-cut. (The Lawyer)
  • Transatlantic firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner expanded its borrowing facilities as a precaution to get through the pandemic, a report from London says. (The Lawyer)
  • Ballard Spahr lawyers are representing New York City plaintiffs in a lawsuit that accuses the federal government of a “pattern of misconduct and neglect” in its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. (New York Law Journal)
  • New York is moving forward with criminal jury trials in the Bronx and Queens, while e-filing will be available by Nov. 18 in most state supreme courts, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said. (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging drive-thru voting in Houston, but he acknowledged the case is likely to get appealed quickly. Several Big Law firms are participating in the case. (Texas Lawyer)
  • Litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh is changing its name for a second time this year after losing name partner Alexandra Walsh. The firm, originally known as Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, will now be known as Wilkinson Stekloff. It started out five years ago as Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovit but lost Eskovit, another founding partner, in January. (American Lawyer)
  • A New York judge ordered a former land-use lawyer for Donald Trump’s company to hand over hundreds of documents to state officials investigating alleged fraud by the president’s real-estate business. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has fired four senior aides in the wake of criminal accusations against Paxton by top deputies. (Texas Tribune)
  • The American Lawyer announced its industry award finalist law firms and attorneys, with winners to be announced Jan. 14., 2021. (American Lawyer)

Pro Bono

  • Sidley Austin and a Harvard Law clinic teamed up to represent legal services groups challenging a Trump administration asylum rule in California federal court. (The Recorder)

Laterals, Moves

  • Denver-based lobbying powerhouse Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck hired Washington-based Venable partner Mark Pryor as a shareholder. At Venable, Pryor was a co-chair of its attorneys general group and congressional investigations practice. Pryor is a former Democratic senator and attorney general from Arkansas. Brownstein said his “firsthand experience on Capitol Hill, strong relationships and work with both parties will benefit our clients.” (BHFS.com)
  • Dorsey & Whitney said former Treasury official Justin Huff joined as a partner in Washington. Huff spent three years at Treasury in charge of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and arrives most recently from Jones Day, where he was of counsel. (Dorsey.com)
  • Sidley Austin hired complex litigation and trial attorney Aimee Fagan and commercial and intellectual property litigator Phillip Aurentz as partners in Dallas, in the firm’s global IP litigation practice. They arrive from McKool Smith, where both were principals. (Sidley.com)
  • Latham & Watkins snagged a co-chair of Goodwin Procter’s capital markets practice, in California, Rick Kline. (BLAW)
  • Cozen O’Connor added Seyfarth Shaw corporate and transactional partner John Shire to the firm’s health law practice and health care & life sciences industry group, where he will co-chair the practice with R. Christopher Raphaely. (Cozen.com)
  • Former Saul Ewing managing partner David Antzis, has a left after 40 years at the firm, where he also spent time as business department chair. Antzis joined Conshohocken-Pa.-based Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld, where he said he hopes to get back to a midsize firm atmosphere, like the one Saul Ewing had when he started there in 1978. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • Barnes & Thornburg said former federal prosecutor Anthony Burba rejoined the firm as a partner in its Chicago office after two years as a DOJ trial attorney prosecuting complex health care and corporate cases. (BTLaw.com)
  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius recruited veteran JPMorgan Chase in-house counsel Linda Cenedella as a partner in New York. She focuses on antitrust and competition law in banking and financial services. Earlier in her career, Cenedella spent 10 years as antitrust counsel at Skadden Arps and about two years at Weil. (MorganLewis.com)
  • Baker Botts hired its first chief client officer, Catherine Zinn, who’ll be based in San Francisco. She arrives from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where she had a similar role. (BakerBotts.com

In-House

  • Recently merged ViacomCBS Inc. said in a securities filing that a longtime lawyer at legacy CBS Corp., Laura Franco, is leaving the company. Dating app Bumble said it hired Franco as its chief legal and compliance officer. (BLAW)

Promotions

  • Cleary Gottlieb elected seven partners and three counsel (1 woman), effective Jan. 1, 2021. (CGSH.com)

Legal Education

  • Ford Motor Co. this fall is starting a four-year academy law program in Detroit aimed at increasing the number of black students who go into law. The program, the idea of Ford’s former top lawyer, Bradley Gayton, aspires to eventually to go national. Gayton left for Coca Cola a few months ago. (Global Legal Post)
  • L.A.-based Buchalter said its new appellate fellowship program is aimed at serving as a launching pad for recent law graduates into a judicial clerkship or an appellate career. (Buchalter.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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