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Wake Up Call: Dentons, Greenberg Traurig in KWM Hunt

Dec. 1, 2016, 1:22 PM

• Who will step in to snatch the apparently up-for-grabs parts and partners of the struggling European branch of King & Wood Mallesons? While Dentons is said to be talking about a potential merger with the unit, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, and Katten Muchin are said to be interested in some of its business and/or several of its London partners. ( Legal Week ) ( The Lawyer )

• A lawyer who helped save a death row inmate didn’t make partner. Which prompts the question: Should Big Law do more to ensure its lawyers who work on pro bono are given proper credit? Brian Stolarz explores this question and more in a new book, “Grace and Justice on Death Row.” ( BLB )

• Anthem Inc.'s $48 billion takeover of Cigna Corp. could cost it an extra $3 billion. An Anthem executive said in testimony that the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association could fine Anthem that much if it fails to get the bulk of its nationwide revenue from Blue-branded products after acquiring Cigna. The U.S. is trying to block the merger. ( Bloomberg )

• Major Japanese law firms rarely bring in outside managers with no legal certification but some have begun hiring former corporate executives to strengthen their management and help compete with U.S. and European mega-firms. ( Nikkei Asian Review )

• Conventional wisdom says lawyers in private practice earn more than in-house lawyers, but that looks to be changing as in-house lawyers are more valued in an increasingly complex legal environment. ( BLB )

Legal Market

• Allen & Overy reported record first-half results yesterday and other U.K. big firms are likely to report big gains as well, as the fall of the pound has artificially inflated overseas revenues as part of consolidated financial reporting. ( Am Law Daily )

• Credit Suisse Group AG has frozen dozens of accounts as it tries to determine if U.S. clients are hiding money from the Internal Revenue Service after the firm pledged to come clean about secret assets, according to a person familiar with the matter. ( Bloomberg )

• Concerns are mounting in Beijing over a surge in capital outflows that’s causing further devaluation pressure on the yuan and fears that overeager companies may risk biting off more than they can chew. So now, Chinese regulators plan to generally bar megadeals of $10 billion or more. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• The proposed Anthem and Cigna merger would be the largest health care merger in U.S. history, but the federal government is suing to block it and it’s not even clear the companies want it to go through. Jennifer Rie, a senior litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, discusses. ( Bloomberg Radio via BLB )

• Steptoe & Johnson London managing partner Brendan Patterson is reported to be using his own firm in a 800,000 pound ($1 million) dispute over a lime tree with a deep-pocketed neighbor. ( The Lawyer )

• How well are attorneys in Big Law faring when it comes to saving for retirement through a 401(k) plan? Compared with 401(k) plans offered in corporate America, attorneys in Big Law are doing very well, data show. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• The U.K. and the European Union don’t agree on much these days, but they do agree that available time has shrunk to reach an agreement that allows for a relatively smooth U.K. exit from the 28-country bloc. ( Bloomberg )

• Prince’s estate is worth about $200 million, according to an estimate based on a new court filing. ( AP via Bloomberg )

Gender Balance

• Although women are said to make up about half of U.S. law students, new data show a stark gender divide, with female students outnumbering men at schools with weak reputations while men dominate class rosters at the most prestigious schools. A new report, “The Leaky Pipeline for Women Entering the Legal Profession,” considers the implications. ( BLB )

• Deborah Rhode of Stanford Law School talked about the “leaky pipeline” metaphor as it applies to women on a recent Law School Transparency podcast. ( LST via BLB )

Transition to a Trump presidency

• As candidate Donald Trump made frequent and regular statements threatening the rule of law during the U.S. election campaign, there was mostly silence from the American Bar Association and leaders of big law firms. Now that he’s elected, will anyone from these elite firms step up to defend the rule of law? ( American Law Journal )

• President-elect Donald Trump must divest his sprawling real estate holdings to resolve ethical concerns about conflicts of interest in his presidency, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has told lawyers for the president-elect. ( New York Times )

• Trump said Wednesday he plans to leave his business “in total” to focus on the White House, but he didn’t say how he will do that. ( Bloomberg )

• Trump used Wall Street as a punching bag during his campaign, but now that he’s elected he has picked former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Steven Mnuchin to be his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. ( Bloomberg )

• Trump’s new nominees wasted no time outlining a strategy to boost the U.S. economy by overhauling the tax code, getting better deals in trade agreements and directly negotiating with major corporations. Easier said than done, however. ( Washington Post )

• Trump’s tax plan could give a $21 billion gift to the wealthiest U.S. families. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• U.S. Supreme Court justices Wednesday suggested they are divided on whether foreigners have a right to periodic bond hearings while they are held in custody during deportation proceedings. ( Bloomberg ) Neils Frenzen, director of the Immigration Clinic at USC School of Law, and Jon Feere, legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, discussed the case. ( Bloomberg Radio )

• In an only now-released video from a May “First Amendment Salon,” Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals attacks “stupid” decisions by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and “terrible” and “silly” arguments by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. ( National Law Journal ) ( YouTube )

• Rob Owen, a professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, discusses Supreme Court arguments in a case that could force Texas to broaden its death-penalty exemption for people who are intellectually disabled. ( Bloomberg Radio )

• A Texas federal judge’s ruling last week freezing an Obama Administration regulation that extends overtime pay to thousands of workers shows the Trump anti-regulation era has already begun. ( Bloomberg View )

• Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen is on Trump’s shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees to replace her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia. A fast-rising star, she would be a “nontraditional” choice. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• A black male transgender worker fired by General Electric Co. may pursue his claims for sex and race discrimination based on his termination and alleged harassment, a federal court in Kentucky ruled. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

Laterals and Moves

• Two Virginia law firms, McCandlish Holton and Morris & Morris, announced their merger to form McCandlish Holton Morris, with 39 lawyers across offices in Richmond, Fairfax and Roanoke. ( Richmond Times-Dispatch )

• Standard Chartered is said to have hired Barclays’ top regulatory lawyer Chris Allen for its new counsel for clients and products, to be based in Singapore. ( Daily Mail )


• A phishing scam is targeting New York lawyers by using fake complaints from the New York State Attorney General’s Office to hack into their computers. ( Buffalo Business First )

• Russia’s government didn’t just hack and leak documents from U.S. political groups during the presidential campaign: It used social media as a weapon to influence perceptions about the election, according to cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. ( Bloomberg )

• A Houston law firm’s defamation lawsuit against a 20-year-old nursing student over her negative online reviews of the firm backfired as a court found for her and ordered the firm to pay her $27,000 legal costs. ( HoustonPress )

• Declines in the venture capital market are hitting startups of all sizes, but the thousands of young companies that raised seed funding during headier times a year or two ago are especially vulnerable. ( Bloomberg )

• Is it okay for lawyers to use free online legal resources? According to an informal survey of online opinions on the subject, many attorneys say yes, but there are exceptions. ( Above The Law )

• It’s not just the internet of things, how about the internet of oysters? A Microsoft executive for Asia says that’s an example of how cloud technology can serve as a platform for traditional businesses. Video. ( Bloomberg )


• At Trump’s alma mater, the Wharton School of business at University of Pennsylvania, students are coming to grips with his election. ( Bloomberg Businessweek )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.