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Wake Up Call: Dozens of Law Firms Slam Suit Targeting SPACs

Aug. 30, 2021, 12:57 PM

In today’s column, a virtual recruiting surge during the pandemic helped major law schools recruit their most diverse classes ever this year; Reed Smith is cutting sixty-six legal secretary jobs in the U.S. and U.K.; law firms waste time and money on non-billable tasks better handled by legal tech tools, a report says.

  • Leading off, a group of forty-nine Big Law firms posted a letter rejecting arguments in a series of recent lawsuits claiming that special purpose acquisition companies should be treated as investment companies under federal law. Despite a slowdown this summer, Big Law firms have been making big money from advising on so-called SPAC deals, which companies can use as an easier route to initial public offerings or go-public mergers. The lawsuits, which argue that SPACs should be subject to the Investment Company Act of 1940, could “have a chilling effect” on those deals, according to one observer. (Financial Times) (American Lawyer)
  • Harvard, Yale, and other major law schools brought in their most diverse classes ever this year, boosted by a 13% increase in the national applicant pool thanks to pandemic-fueled virtual recruiting, a report says. (Reuters)
  • New York’s state judicial system suspended the leader of its court officer union after he posted home addresses of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore in a dispute over the system’s Covid vaccine mandate for all employees starting Sept. 27. (New York Post)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Reed Smith said last week it plans to eliminate 66 legal secretary jobs in the U.S. and U.K. (American Lawyer)
  • The trial on criminal fraud charges of Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of blood testing start-up Theranos, starts this week. Despite strong evidence against her, a conviction is not a certainty, a report says. (Silicon Valley)
  • A South Dakota judge fined state attorney general Jason Ravnsborg $1,000 for misdemeanor charges Ravnsborg faced for killing a man while reportedly driving and browsing conservative news sites on his phone. Ravnsborg told prosecutors he thought he’d hit a deer. (NBC News) (Above The Law)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Arnold & Porter grabbed Paul, Weiss tax counsel Uri Horowitz as a partner in New York; Paris-based international tax partner Jessie Gaston announced she has left Dentons after 14 years to join Orrick as a partner; Nixon Peabody added veteran corporate and securities partner Michael Lawhead in Los Angeles. He joins from BakerHostetler; Mintz brought in white collar lawyer Barry Bohrer as a member based in New York. He’s a former co-chair of Schulte Roth & Zabel’s white collar defense and government investigations group. (Mintz)
  • Paul Hastings recruited a former senior antitrust lawyer in the Justice Department, Michael Murray, as a partner in Washington. Murray, who was principal deputy assistant attorney general at the DOJ, was an associate at Jones Day and Gibson Dunn earlier in his career; Goodwin Procter hired private equity lawyer Colin Carley as a partner in New York. He arrives after close to 12 years at Mayer Brown; Hinshaw & Culbertson said it opened a new office in Iselin, N.J., and added eight attorneys, including four partners, in its consumer financial services practice in New Jersey and Boston; FisherBroyles added medical malpractice litigator Paul Reynolds, also a health care regulatory adviser, as a partner in Atlanta. (
  • The Walt Disney Co. named Jill Ratner to take over as its next deputy general counsel of litigation, succeeding Edward Nowak, who is retiring in September. (Corporate Counsel)


  • Law firms waste a lot of time and revenue on non-billable tasks that could be automated, according to survey by a productivity automation company. (Above The Law) Twitter got panned for reportedly declining to verify the account of a retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, who was also a NFL Most Valuable Player and is in the college and NFL halls of fame. (Above The Law)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at

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