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Wake Up Call: Ex-Trump Ethics Lawyer Rejoins Priebus at Michael Best

Sept. 6, 2018, 11:08 AM

• President Trump’s recently departed ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino has re-joined Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, at Michael Best. The Milwaukee-based firm said Passantino, former White House deputy counsel in charge of compliance and ethics oversight, joined its government relations, public policy & compliance practice group in Washington. Passantino previously chaired the political law group at McKenna Long & Aldridge, now part of global firm Dentons, and he was also an outside general counsel to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. ( MichaelBest )

• The White House counsel’s office has gradually emptied in recent months as top deputies to White House counsel Don McGahn have left. Trump recently announced that McGahn himself is leaving this fall. ( Politico )

• Law firm revenue grew 6 percent in this year’s first six months, compared with the same period last year, according to a Wells Fargo Private Bank survey of 125 law firms. The survey, the third major recent report finding that firms have had their best half-year performance in several years, said rates increased but lawyer productivity did, too. ( American Lawyer )

• Talks between O’Melveny & Myers and UK elite firm Allen & Overy are gaining steam, a report says. ( Legal Week )

• In the second day of his Senate confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh refused to say whether he would overturn the constitutional right to abortion, but he told Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, of California, “I don’t live in a bubble. I live in the real world. I understand the importance of the issue.” He also declined to say if he would disqualify himself from any case directly involving Trump. ( Bloomberg )

• Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, yesterday repeated his accusation that Kavanaugh misled the Senate Judiciary Committee during his 2006 confirmation hearings to the D.C. Circuit. ( Bloomberg Law )

• JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution services provider, said it launched a practice focused on creating protocols that support the use of ADR in disputes arising from blockchain transactions, including smart contracts and cybercurrencies. ( )

• A 13-year gender-discrimination fight against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. just moved closer to trial. The women plaintiffs in the case are represented by Kelly Dermody, Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco managing partner and employment practice group chief. ( Bloomberg Businessweek via BLB )

Lawyers and Law Firms

• Bill Cosby’s former law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis is suing the comedian convict for over $50,000 in allegedly unpaid legal fees. Cosby faces sentencing for three counts of aggravated indecent assault. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• Roy Moore, the former Alabama Republican candidate for the Senate, is suing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, CBS, and Showtime for $95 million after getting tricked into an embarrassing appearance on Cohen’s satiric TV Show. ( Hollywood Reporter )

• Employers will continue to deal with #MeToo aftershocks in the coming year as state and local governments offer solutions to workplace harassment, in the absence of federal policy action. That’s among observations in Littler’s latest Labor Day report and outlook on the American workforce. ( Littler )

• Holland & Knight announced the official launch of its HK Deal Flow program, a proprietary deal-generation service it says is aimed at matching clients, prospective clients, and partners with potential opportunities. ( )

Laterals, Moves

• Cooley said it is expanding its product compliance and liability team with the hire of Claire Temple, who arrives as special counsel from Osborne Clarke and will be based in London. ( )

• Locke Lord said veteran insurance industry lawyer Keith Andruschak joined the firm in New York as a partner in its regulatory and transactional insurance practice group. Andruschak arrives from Winston & Strawn and has also been at Mayer Brown and Stroock & Stroock. ( LockeLord )

• Pryor Cashman also picked up an insurance veteran, getting insurance coverage attorney Christopher Loeber for the firm’s New York office as a partner. Loeber, who was previously at McCarter & English, will lead Pryor Cashman’s new insurance recovery + counseling practice. ( PryorCashman )

Legal Actions

• Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill that one of its co-sponsors says will create an “army” of lawyers to provide free legal services for domestic abuse survivors. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Vox Media and its Gibson Dunn lawyers failed to convince a Washington federal court that managers of its sports websites waited too long to sue for minimum wage and overtime violations. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )


• Legal tech start-up Alacrity Law said it is getting some significant members for its advisory board: the GC and company secretary of Coca Cola European Partners, Clare Wardle, and Rob Dinning, former GC for operations & technology at Barclays Bank. ( Artificial Lawyer )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.