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Wake Up Call: Faegre Drinker Eyes ‘Flexible’ Fall Opening

July 21, 2021, 12:33 PM

In today’s column, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s chief legal officer said he’s leaving the company; the Biden administration said it withdrew the nomination of a Harvard University lawyer to the Justice Department’s civil division; former partners at legal services company Atrium, now at Crowell, are part of a bicoastal team that
launched a resource for early stage companies.

  • Leading off, Faegre Drinker announced a “flexible” plan to bring its 1,100-plus workers back into its offices after Labor Day. Co-Chair Andy Kassner said the firm anticipates most of its lawyers and consultants will work two or three days per week on average in office, at client location, or traveling for client service. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • The White House said President Biden withdrew his April 27 nomination of Harvard University’s deputy general counsel, Javier Guzman, as assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. The Biden administration also said it plans to nominate former Paul, Weiss partner and antitrust co-chair Jonathan Kanter, a longtime Google antagonist, as head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. ( (Politico)
  • Crowell & Moring said its emerging companies & venture capital practice is launching GrowthStudio, a one-stop shop with tools and insights for startups. The Crowell partners, Michel Narganes, , Matthew Melville, andJon O’Connell, were among partners of closed firm Atrium Legal Technology Services Inc. (
  • The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday gave details about Justice Elena Kagan’s hire of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s daughter as a clerk for the 2022-2023 term. Kagan made the hire in July 2020, before Joe Biden was elected president and appointed Merrick Garland to lead the Justice Department, a court spokeswoman said. To avoid “potential for actual or apparent conflicts of interest,” Jessica Garland won’t start the clerkship if her father is still leading the Justice Department, she said. Legal blogger David Lat first reported the hire, and the subsequent clarification by SCOTUS. (Twitter)
  • Philadelphia firms Blank Rome and Duane Morris raised associate pay, but at different levels depending on where associates are located, a report says. Eversheds Sutherland joined firms matching the Davis Polk scale for associate raises. (Above The Law)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Lobbying revenues surged in the second quarter at Arnold & Porter, Brownstein Hyatt, Akin Gump, and K&L Gates, among other firms, as the Biden administration implemented big policy changes. (National Law Journal) A Virginia federal judge gave a green light to claims by a bankruptcy trustee for closed law firm LeClairRyan against legal outsourcing company UnitedLex. (American Lawyer)
  • Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, whose legal license is suspended, will represent himself in his California client theft trial. (The Recorder) And fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was extradited to California to face more sex crime charges. (CNN)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Chicago-headquartered Katten announced new leaders for several practice areas; also in the Windy City, Reed Smith acquired privacy, advertising, and brand protection attorney Robert Newman as a partner. He arrives from Loeb & Loeb, where he was co-chair of privacy, security & data innovations. He was earlier co-leader of Winston & Strawn’s global privacy & data security task force; and Barnes & Thornburg got two insurance litigators from Reed Smith in Chicago. Kevin Dreher joins as partner and Caroline Upton as of counsel; over in Philadelphia, Stradley Ronon said real estate attorney Robert Ransom joined as an associate. (
  • DLA Piper hired international arbitration specialist Gabriela Alvarez-Avila as a partner in Mexico City. She was previously at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosl; also in Mexico City, Mayer Brown brought in White & Case banking and finance lawyer Francisco García-Naranjo González as a partner; north of the border, Buchalter added a veteran in-house leader, Phil Donnelly in Arizona as corporate of counsel. (Buchalter)
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment’s chief legal officer, Riley Russell, said he will be “winding down” his career at the company which he joined in 1994. “I will be staying a bit longer and assisting with transitioning in a new general counsel.” (Corporate Counsel)


  • Law professors say law schools plan to increase their focus on legal technology in the coming year, in response to remote-learning experience during the pandemic and new career opportunities available for graduates. (

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