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Wake Up Call: Ex-Wells Fargo GC to Fight Fine in Accounts Scandal

Jan. 24, 2020, 1:25 PM

In today’s column, Davis Wright Tremaine hired a former top FCC lawyer for its new products counseling team; Foley hired the former anti-corruption chief of insurance giant AIG; and Hogan Lovells is part of a pro bono suit seeking evidence to exonerate a man already executed in an Arkansas murder case.

  • Leading off, Wells Fargo & Co.'s former general counsel, Jim Strother, represented by Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, is among five former executives at the bank who say they will fight charges and civil penalties growing out of its bogus account scandal. Ousted Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf yesterday agreed to an unprecedented ban from the financial industry and to pay a $17 million fine. Regulators levied civil penalties totaling $57 million and said the total could go higher, depending on evidence. A Williams & Connolly lawyer representing Carrie Tolstedt, who led Wells Fargo’s community bank and faces a $25 million penalty, said she will be vindicated after “examination of the facts.” (BN via BLAW) (The Recorder)

  • Davis Wright Tremaine hired former Federal Communications Commission deputy general counsel David Gossett as partner in Washington in a new products counseling team. Gossett, a former Mayer Brown partner who was also an assistant GC at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he helped create and run the litigation group, now advises tech companies launching new products and helps them navigate changing regulation. The firm said the new products counseling team will be headed by Washington-based partner Danielle Frappier. (DWT.com)

  • A fantasy baseball contestant on online sports betting site DraftKings filed a would-be class action in a Manhattan federal court against Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros, and the Boston Red Sox over the unfolding sign stealing scandal. (BLAW)

  • In an unusual pro bono case, Hogan Lovells, the ACLU and the Innocence Project, and an Arkansas attorney filed a lawsuit on behalf of family seeking evidence that could exonerate defendant Ledell Lee, who already was executed for murder. (WaPo)

  • House lawyers told a federal appeals judge yesterday that arguments by President Trump’s legal team in his Senate impeachment trial contradict the Justice Department’s position in two other cases. (WaPo) Trump’s legal team risks getting put on trial itself in the impeachment case, a report says. (Politico)

  • The impeachment trial is an opportunity for lawyers to be pedantic, but not necessarily useful. (Above The Law)

  • Washington D.C.'s bar is the latest jurisdiction to say it will consider alternatives to existing law firm ownership rules. (BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Foley & Lardner hired Reed Smith partner Lewis Zirogiannis as a government enforcement defense and investigations litigation partner, working out of its San Francisco and New York City offices. He was previously associate general counsel at insurance giant AIG and held top compliance roles at at GE Digital and GE Capital. (Foley.com)

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Frankfurt, Germany, office added real estate lawyer Cornelia Thaler as a partner. She previously spent over 24 years at Clifford Chance, including eight years as head of its German office’s real estate practice. (Willkie.com)

  • Proskauer Rose deal lawyers in 2019 closed more than 230 transactions, up 23%, with a total transaction value of $57.9 billion, up 38%, compared with 2018 levels, the firm said. (BN via BLAW)

Deals

  • Covington & Burling client ServiceNow, a digital workflow company, acquired Loom Systems, an Israeli startup that specializes in artificial intelligence operational tools that help companies to prevent and fix IT issues at scale before they become problems. No terms were disclosed. (TechCrunch.com)

Pro Bono

  • A New York state appeals court revived a class action lawsuit by residents demanding rent rebates from the New York City Housing Authority in compensation for heat and hot water outages during the winter of 2017 to 2018. Plaintiffs were represented by the New York Legal Aid Society and Willkie. (New York Law Journal)

  • Nine migrant parents who were expelled from the U.S. after being separated from their children in 2017 and 2018 returned to the U.S. yesterday after a California federal court granted them “humanitarian parole.” Milbank represented one of them, a Guatemalan man, who was deported by U.S. authorities despite a previous federal court stay order. (WCBI.com) (Milbank)

Laterals, Moves

  • New York City-based Warshaw Burstein added 31-year Brown Rudnick veteran Martin Siegel as a litigation partner. Siegel, who was a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission enforcement chief and trial lawyer in the 1970s, was most recently a partner at Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe. (WBNY.com)

  • Vinson & Elkins got back Department of Justice environmental attorney Corinne Snow, who returns to the firm as counsel after close to three years at the DOJ, most recently as counsel and chief of staff for the department’s Environment and natural resources division. (VELaw.com)

  • New York-based Morrison Cohen got Lowenstein Sandler litigator Ryan Wilson as a partner in its white collar and regulatory enforcement practice group. A former Brooklyn federal prosecutor and Jones Day associate, Wilson advises on commercial and financial litigation, among other matters. (MorrisonCohen.com)

  • Wealth-planning partner Amy Kiiskila rejoined Michael Best in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She began her legal career at the firm over 20 years ago and for the last 10 years has been at The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where she was a vice president. (MichaelBest.com)

  • Buchalter added real estate shareholder Roxana K. Chamouillé in its Orange County, California, office. (Buchalter.com)

  • Blank Rome added corporate associate Jose A. Manalo Jr. in its L.A. office. He joins from Akerman. (BlankRome.com)

  • Blank Rome also hired commercial real estate associate Christopher P. Miskolczi in New York. (BlankRome.com)

In-house

  • Biotechnology company CytoDyn, based in Vancouver, Washington, hired Holland & Hart transactional, corporate, and commercial law attorney Maura Fleming as vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. She was previously in-house at photo products and services company Shutterfly, Inc.; legal services director at software company Aerohive Networks, Inc.; and at Wilson Sonsini. (BioSpace.com)

  • Tennessee-based LifePoint Health hired former Foley & Lardner and Arent Fox partner Lisa Estrada as its new senior VP and chief compliance officer. Estrada was most recently SVP and chief compliance officer at Fresenius Medical Care North America. (LifePointHealth.net)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies

  • Bankrupt seafood canner Bumble Bee Foods won court approval to sell itself to the company’s indirect co-owner and main tuna supplier. (BLAW)

Legal Education

  • Too many young people want to become lawyers or managers, an OECD report says. (Bloomberg News)

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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