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Wake Up Call: Facing Crisis, Gawker’s GC Takes Leadership Role

June 13, 2016, 11:28 AM

• Heather Dietrick, Gawker Media’s 35-year-old president and general counsel, has stepped into a leadership role as the company faces tumultuous times linked to wrestler Hulk Hogan’s violation-of-privacy lawsuit, and the recent revelation that PayPal co-founder Peter is Thiel provided financing the suit and similar ones. (New York Times Dealbook)

• Months after Dickstein Shapiro permanently shut its doors for business, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Friday ruled for the firm in a legal malpractice suit filed by former client Encyclopaedia Britannica. (National Law Journal)

• Get in early, be a team player, and trust no one: A Big Law partner offers 10 recommendations for law students beginning a summer associate program. (Big Law Business)

• A social media backlash against the judge’s sentencing in the Stanford sex assault case has some concerned about the implications of pressure on judges. (The Recorder)

Legal Market

• Talking to June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio, BLB editor Casey Sullivan discusses Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s pay hike for first-year lawyers, and what he calls the “mystifying process” behind firms’ decisions to make such salary raises. Audio. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg Radio)

• After Cravath’s pay hike for first-year associate salaries set off a domino effect among other firms to do the same, even lower-cost firm Armstrong Teasdale is feeling pressure to respond to stay competitive. (Big Law Business)

• Before they celebrate, law-firm associates who benefited from the recent pay raise should consider that the $20,000 raise doesn’t even match inflation over the past decade. (

• Plaintiffs attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan said late Friday that she would cut $10 million off her fee request in the class-action against Uber, in an apparent response to accusations that she made a bad settlement for Uber drivers but took a big fee for herself. (The Recorder)

• British private equity investor Guy Hands has dropped his multibillion-dollar London lawsuit against Citigroup related to his purchase of the EMI Group Ltd., days after the latest trial opened. (Bloomberg)

• Some U.S. firms have entirely avoided opening in London or built only a minor presence there. A new Global 200 report will examine London and the market pressures there. (The Lawyer)

• Gawker Media LLC’s move on Friday to file for bankruptcy protection was a tried-and-true legal maneuver to sidestep a deep-pocketed enemy and had the added benefit of buying time as Gawker CEO Nick Denton wrestles with the $140 million invasion-of-privacy verdict he recently lost to Hulk Hogan. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg News)

• A lawsuit filed in London alleges that the Royal Bank of Scotland’s restructuring group and Cerberus, the investment firm, colluded to rig a sham auction of a company that RBS pushed into bankruptcy . The suit, which seeks at least 30 million pounds ($42.4 million), also names KPMG and two of its partners. (Financial Times)

• Gawker Media’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection kindled fears in the media world that publishers will have to reassess the editorial and financial risks it takes. (Financial Times)

• Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is drawing scrutiny from New York’s bank regulator over its fundraising for Malaysia’s embattled 1MDB fund, a person briefed on the matter said. The news comes amid investigations by the U.S. Justice Department, Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission into the bank’s role in an international scandal involving alleged corruption and money laundering by public officials. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg News)

• A Taiwanese-born and U.S.-educated American engineer faces federal charges that he conspired to help China’s largest nuclear power company with developing and producing “special nuclear material.” But the lawyer for the 66-year-old engineer said he is the victim of prosecutors’ nuclear legal experiment . (WSJ Law Blog)

• Recently released documents from the Panama Papers scandal cast light on the role of a little-known nonprofit lobbying group in Alexandria, Virginia — the Center for Freedom and Prosperity — in helping to maintain tax haven secrecy that aided global tax evasion schemes set up by Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. (Washington Post)

SCOTUS and other courts

• Days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 16 is scheduled to examine a challenge to Connecticut’s ban on military-style firearms. (National Law Journal)

• If the presumed Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, is elected president his recent public attack on a federal judge presiding over a lawsuit targeting the now defunct Trump University could have implications for “judge shopping” and the disqualification of judges from cases, comments one observer. (National Law Journal)

• Muhammad Ali didn’t just win in the ring: his key legal fights made him a powerful voice for civil rights. (National Law Journal)

Laterals and Moves

• Ropes & Gray restructuring partner Gregg Galardi is representing Gawker Media LLC in its bankruptcy process, while the company owes some $170,000 to three other Big Law firms, according to its bankruptcy filing. (

• A Google counsel for mobile patent strategy, Joshua McGuire, is jumping from the U.S. internet giant to the Chinese tech company LeEco, where he will be general counsel and vice president. (Big Law Business)

Schulte Roth & Zabel has picked up two finance partners from Paul Hastings. (American Lawyer)


• Tips for implementing an e-Discovery platform , from the litigation chief of AOL’s legal team. (Legaltech News)

• The mass-killing at an Orlando gay club illustrates how the Islamic State is using social media for a sophisticated campaign to outsource terror . (Wired)

• The killings had an immediate impact on the U.S. presidential campaign in the form of tweets by the presumed presidential candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties, and comments by President Barack Obama. (Wired)

• Anti-malware company Trend Micro said victims of a new version of ransomware called Jigsaw can now access to live chat operators to help them through the process of paying a ransom. (InformationWeek)

Legal Education

• Taking apart seven myths about law school admission. (Above the Law)

Miscellaneous • Part three of BLB’s three-part interview with general counsels from the two teams vying in this year’s NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, in which they talked about which outside firms they lean on, what sports mean to them personally, and what life looks like outside of the office. (Big Law Business)

• A recent lawsuit demonstrates that listed so-called unicorn startups that fail to give all investors the same important information at the same time risk getting sued . (Bloomberg News)

• The man suspected of killing 50 people and wounding 53 in a mass shooting Sunday in Florida worked for G4S Plc, a British security firm whose clients in more than 100 countries include the U.S. government. (Bloomberg News)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Gabe Friedman.

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