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Wake Up Call: Facing Federal Probe, National Enquirer Publisher Changes Top Lawyer

Nov. 16, 2018, 12:35 PM
  • American Media Inc., which publishes The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, among other titles, hired former Amazon lawyer Jon P. Fine as its deputy general counsel for media, a newly created role that has Fine reporting directly to the company’s executive VP and chief legal officer, Eric Klee. Fine arrives from digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media, where he was SVP. He has had key legal posts at Amazon, Random House, Inc., and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” (Foliomag.com) (Linkedin)

  • Fine replaces Cameron Stracher, who leaves after almost a dozen years as American Media’s general counsel for media, with the company facing a federal investigation into an alleged arrangement in which the Enquirer would “catch and kill” damaging stories about Donald Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Orrick announced a $250,000 fund from which it will invest in promising legal tech startups globally. (Artificial Lawyer) Dentons’ Nextlaw Ventures and Baker McKenzie also began investing in legal tech startups recently, while firms including Foley & Lardner and Allen & Overy have developed startup incubators. (The Recorder)

  • A $99 million contract with Palantir Technologies will give the IRS new firepower to track down tax cheats by connecting the dots in millions of tax filings, bank transactions, phone records, and even social media posts. The deal’s scope has some tax lawyers worried. (Bloomberg Tax via BLB)

  • Simpson Thacher hired Clifford Chance M&A “star” Amy Mahon as a partner in its London office. She’s the latest partner to the leave the elite U.K. firm for a U.S. rival. (STBlaw.com)

  • Shearman & Sterling lost its entire capital markets team in Hong Kong, with all four lawyers--two partners, one counsel, and one associate--leaving for Chinese firm Fangda Partners. (American Lawyer International)

  • A ruling by the California Supreme Court dealt a blow to a UCLA law professor’s decade-long fight to be able to study the effects that preferential admission programs have on who takes and passes the California bar. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Laterals

  • Goodwin said Sophie McGrath joined the firm’s London office in the European Life Sciences practice, where she’ll focus on the life sciences, technology and impact investment industries. Her Linkedin says she was previously a partner at Brown Rudnick and previously was of counsel at Morrison & Foerster. (Goodwinlaw.com)

  • Reed Smith hired away Squire Patton Boggs partner Julia Zhu-Morelli as a partner in its global corporate group in the firm’s L.A. office. Morelli is fluent in Mandarin and English and has significant M&A and transactional experience with Chinese and U.S. companies, the firm said. (ReedSmith.com)

  • McGuireWoods elected 17 new partners, including nine women, effective Jan. 1, 2019, across eight offices and a dozen litigation and corporate practice areas. (McGuireWoods.com)

  • McDermott hired Katten Muchin Rosenman worklaw attorney Daniel Doron as partner in the firm’s employment practice group in its New York office. (MWE.com)

  • Dykema said Arlene Switzer Steinfield, Dallas-based senior counsel in the firm’s labor and employment practice, was recently elected to serve as the treasurer of the nonprofit College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. (Dykema)

  • Offshore firm Appleby hired former Cleary corporate transactions lawyer Garry Manley as a partner for its corporate group in its Isle of Man office. (ApplebyGlobal.com)

  • Carlton Fields hired lawyer Roben S. West for the firm’s Atlanta office as an associate in its property & casualty insurance practice group, its sixth insurance attorney hire this year, giving the group over 100 lawyers nationwide. (CarltonFields.com)

  • DLA Piper named associates Caroline Fish and Lizzy Westrope to its fellowship program that allows new associates to spend their first year at the firm working exclusively on pro bono matters. (DLAPiper.com)

Deals

  • DLA Piper said it advised Tampa-based specialized investment management firm EquiAlt LLC in the formation and offering of its recently formed $500 million fund that purchases and develops properties within “qualified opportunity zones” in Florida and other jurisdictions. (DLAPiper.com)

Legal Actions

  • Oops. The U.S. accidentally revealed that it is ready to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (New York Times)

  • Uber Technologies Inc.'s $10 million nationwide settlement with 400 or so female, Hispanic, black, Native American, Alaskan Native, and multiracial software engineers received final approval from a federal judge in San Francisco. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

  • An EU crackdown has U.S. multinationals fleeing no-tax Caribbean havens. (Bloomberg)

Technology

  • A new hybrid breed of cryptocurrency, called “stablecoins,” is the latest big thing in the crypto sector. (Financial Times)

Legal Education

  • Princeton Review’s latest law school rankings have University of Virginia School of Law at No. 1 for quality of life and professors, and New York University No. 1 for graduates’ career prospects. (Princeton Review)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Molly Ward.

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