Bloomberg Law
Sept. 1, 2021, 12:12 PM

Wake Up Call: Delta Variant Haunts Law Firms’ Fall Return Plans

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

In today’s column, U.S. law firms’ big pay hikes for first-year associates this summer raised difficult questions for foreign-based firms and offices; the Justice Department’s former national security chief is going back to Boeing; two securities lawyers and a chief operations officer got prison sentences in the huge 1 Global Capital LLC fraud.

  • Leading off, many Big Law firms are planning to bring their employees back into the office in late September, with Sept. 21 the most popular target. But firms’ “hard” return plans could be undermined by the rapid spread of the delta variant of Covid-19, lagging vaccination rates, and other pandemic-related uncertainties. (American Lawyer)
  • After many big U.S. firms raised first-year associates’ pay over the summer, firms based abroad and U.S. firms with international offices had complex decisions to make. (American Lawyer)
  • Some associates say pay hikes are a “superficial” fix for Big Law’s well-being problems. (Legal Intelligencer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • John Demers, who stepped down as head of the Justice Department’s national security division in June amid Congressional scrutiny of the Trump administration’s secret investigations of leaks, reportedly has a new job. Demers, a former executive and deputy general counsel counsel at The Boeing Company, is returning to the aeronautics and tech giant in mid-September as an executive with legal and government affairs roles. He will be based Arlington, Va. (Original Jurisdiction)
  • A former Florida judge who resigned in May following misconduct allegations easily found a new job. A commercial real estate firm hired him as as a trial preparation mediator and consultant. (Daily Business Review)
  • Two South Florida securities attorneys and the former chief operating officer of 1 Global Capital LLC got prison time for participating in a fraud that reportedly affected thousands of investors and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. (Miami Herald)
  • Polsinelli plans to move to new Miami, Fla., offices in 2022. The Kansas City-based firm signed a lease for 23,617-square-foot premises on the top two floors of a building in the city. (Commercial Observer)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Greenberg Traurig said Wednesday that it has recruited Latham & Watkins’ London-based finance partner John Houghton, former global co-chair of Latham’s restructuring & special situations practice, to be chair of its London restructuring & bankruptcy practice. Houghton was at Latham for nearly 20 years, including as European head of restructuring & special situations; Sidley Austin snagged three partners from Vinson & Elkins in London, getting private equity partners Dan Graham and Paul Dunbar and cross-border finance partner Emilie Stewart. (
  • K&L Gates hired two partners in New York: private equity and M&A lawyer Josh Berick, a veteran of several Big Law firms, joins K&L Gates’ corporate department from Jones Day. Tax lawyer Jacqueline Duval, who was an executive at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, joins K&L Gates’ asset management and investment funds practice. She arrives from Herrick Feinstein, where she was chair of the family office practice group; Dechert brought in capital markets and leveraged finance lawyer Ani Ravi as a partner in New York. He arrives from Cahill Gordon & Reindel. (
  • Jenner & Block grabbed Davis Wright Tremaine antitrust partners Christopher Renner and Douglas Litvack, both former Federal Trade Commission lawyers, to be co-chairs of its antitrust and competition law practice, effective Sep. 7, joining current co-chair Lee Van Voorhis. Renner, earlier at Boies Schiller, will be based in Chicago, while Litvack will be in Washington; Buchalter said veteran Big Law litigator and health care lawyer Andrew Struve joined the firm as a shareholder in Orange County, Calif.; Snell & Wilmer recruited biotech lawyer Jaime Choi as a partner in San Diego. She got a doctorate in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology before her getting J.D., spent over a decade at Jones Day and arrives from Eversheds Sutherland, where she was counsel; Carlton Fields added business litigator Nader Amer in Miami. (


  • Frontline Managed Services said it added over 100 new law firm clients by acquiring legal information technology consultancy Logicforce. (Reuters)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at