Bloomberg Law
June 21, 2022, 12:56 PMUpdated: June 21, 2022, 4:13 PM

Wake Up Call: Big Law Firms’ Pro Bono Hours Plunge (Correct)

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

In today’s column, UK criminal defense lawyers voted to strike; Iraq hired two Big Law firms for help in its oil dispute with Kurdistan; Crowell poached an international disputes partner from Allen & Overy in Brussels.

  • Leading off, as Big Law firms raked in profits in 2021, pro bono hours clocked by their attorneys plunged by about 14% from around 5.4 million in 2020 to 4.6 million, according to a report citing data from the Pro Bono Institute. On the plus side, firms increased their donations to legal service groups. (American Lawyer)
  • The founding managing partner of Skadden, Arps’ London office, Bruce Buck, is stepping down as chair of Chelsea Football Club weeks after Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the team as part of sanctions against Russia. Buck, who retired from Skadden in 2014, will reportedly continue to advise the team now owned by private equity firm Clearlake and US investor financier Todd Boehly. (FT)
  • Cleary advised Mexico’s state-owned electricity company, the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, on a $1 billion tender offer. (
  • Iraq has hired Vinson & Elkins and Cleary Gottlieb to help it enforce an Iraqi federal court ruling that a Kurdish oil and gas law is unconstitutional, according to a report. Baghdad is in a dispute with the Kurdish government over control of the region’s oil sector. (The Arab Weekly)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • UK criminal lawyers voted to go on strike in a fight over legal aid funding. (Bloomberg News)
  • Recent threats against judges have some of them mulling whether to arm themselves. (National Law Journal)
  • A human resources director won a $925,000 verdict after convincing a federal court her former company retaliated against her as a Black woman just “doing her job.” (New Jersey Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Crowell & Moring expanded its international dispute resolution practice in Europe, poaching veteran Brussels-based multinational arbitration attorney and commercial litigator Werner Eyskens from Allen & Overy as a partner; Latham & Watkins litigator Dan Smith jumped to UK firm Stephenson Harwood as a partner in London. (Global Legal Post)
  • Foley & Lardner’s Orlando office got back commercial litigator Michael “Mike” Crosbie, who was a partner at the firm earlier in his career and left to join Carlton Fields in 2006. He returns from Shutts & Bowen, where he was business litigation practice group leader. According to his LinkedIn profile, Crosbie also spent 10 years in South Africa as a director at Inzalo High Wall Mining (Pty) Ltd; Alston & Bird snagged Blank Rome commercial real estate finance lawyer Lauren Scarantino in New York as a partner; Jones Walker hired government relations attorney Brett Richards, former counsel and senior advisor to US Senator Roger F. Wicker, (R-Miss.), as special counsel. (
  • The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority appointed its general counsel, Sarah Cardell, a former counsel at the country’s energy regulator, to become interim chief executive when current head Andrea Coscelli leaves in July. (Energy Live News)


  • Courts of the future could use virtual reality in a “metaverse type of setting,” a report says. (Artificial Lawyer)

Legal Education

  • New Jersey-based Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C. said the 16 law students participating in its 2022 summer program are its biggest and most diverse class ever. Thirteen are participating as summer law clerks and three from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University are participating as scholar interns in the firm’s diversity pipeline internship program. (
(A previous version of this story was updated to correct the spelling of Vinson & Elkins in the fifth paragraph.)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at

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