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Wake Up Call: Halliburton Hires Baker Botts Litigation Chair as GC

Dec. 19, 2019, 12:57 PM
  • Baker Botts said litigation chair Van Beckwith is leaving after 30 years at the Houston-headquartered firm to take a job as general counsel and senior vice president at oilfield services giant Halliburton Jan. 1. Baker Botts partners Bridget Moore in Washington, and Danny David in Houston will take over as heads of its 260-lawyer litigation department. Beckwith will work with Halliburton’s current general counsel, former Baker Botts partner Robb Voyles, who’s set to become the company’s chief legal officer Jan. 1. (Texas Lawyer)

  • Now that the House of Representatives has voted, along party lines, to impeach President Donald Trump, the next step is a Senate trial. But there are questions about when that trial will happen. (BN) (New York Times) (Politico)

  • American Express Global Business Travel, advised by Dechert, said Carlyle Group and several big name investors are buying a stake in the corporate travel company. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised American Express on the transaction, which values the unit at about $5 billion. (BN)

  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius-client Pearson PLC, a once-major publisher transformed into an online learning specialist, agreed to sell its remaining 25% stake in Penguin Random House to partner Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA for about $675 million. (BN)

  • Fox Rothschild fired a labor and employment attorney after a former administrative assistant at the firm filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment and attempted rape. The suit also says the firm retaliated against her after she complained. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Michael Avenatti, who used to represent porn star Stormy Daniels, is fighting to keep his attorney license in California. A lawyer for the California State Bar told a hearing yesterday that Avenatti stole from a client using “deceit” and should be prevented from practicing law. (Associated Press via Miami Herald)

  • A Virginia plaintiffs lawyer whose firm helped win a huge Roundup cancer jury verdict against Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit has been arrested on charges he tried to extort a chemical maker. (BLAW via BLB)

  • The fate of the Affordable Care Act is back in doubt after a federal appeals court found a key piece of the law unconstitutional. (BN via BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Bloomberg Law talked to Cooley M&A practice co-chair Jamie Leigh, who’s worked on several blockbuster transactions but also works on efforts to improve mental health and wellness at the firm. (BLAW via BLB)

  • “Displacement” of workers caused by technologies including automation and robotics could pose big problems for employers and workers, but those problems could be avoided with the right preparation, a shareholder in management-side worklaw firm Littler told a congressional subcommittee yesterday. (EDLabor.House.gov)

  • A Wisconsin lawyer who lost her insurance company counsel job after submitting phony expense reports has to serve a six month suspension, the state’s Supreme Court ruled. The court, among other things, noted the lawyer is a certified fraud examiner and drafted the company’s ethics handbook for employees. (BLAW via BLB)

Deals

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher advised BKV Oil & Gas Capital Partners, L.P., an investment vehicle of Kalnin Ventures LLC, on an agreement by a BKV affiliate to acquire shale assets from Devon Energy Corp. Devon was advised by Vinson & Elkins in the transaction, worth about $770 million. (Globenewswire.com)

  • Milbank advised Lamda Development S.A. in connection with its 650 million euro (~$723 million) rights issue, with proceeds to be used for development of a former Athens, Greece airport site. (NYT)

  • Locke Lord represented NASDAQ-listed SORL Auto Parts, Inc., a Chinese maker and distributor of automotive brake systems and other safety-related auto parts, in its going private transaction through a merger with Delaware-based Ruili International Inc. O’Melveny & Myers advised a consortium of Ruili parent group, directors and executives, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advised a special committee of “independent and disinterested directors” on the buyout. (Globenewswire.com)

Pro Bono

  • Willkie joined the ACLU and the ACLU of Tennessee in a federal lawsuit against a Tennessee city’s zoning ordinance that bans the provision of surgical abortion care within city limits. Willkie is advising Carafem, a national network of reproductive health care clinics. (ACLU.org)

  • Lawyers for Civil Rights with pro bono help from WilmerHale told the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a comment letter that the department’s creation of a $50 asylum application fee hurts vulnerable asylum seekers, is unconstitutional, and contravenes U.S. international treaty obligations. (LawyersforCivilRights.org)

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle an EEOC investigation into alleged sexual harassment and retaliation at the ride-share company. (BLAW)

  • The CFO of “merchant capital advance” company Five Hole LLC said accounting fraud allegations in a Delaware lawsuit filed by its former top attorney are meritless. (BLAW)

  • The biggest independent U.S. Coca-Cola bottler beat a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a driver who had a vision impairment but was able to drive for years with a state vision waiver. (BLAW)

Technology

  • Artificial Lawyer published a round-up of its picks for the most significant legal tech news of 2019, including new legal tech regulation in France and California; Big Four accounting firms’ entry into the legal profession; and smart contracts, among other things. (Artificial Lawyer)

Legal Education

  • Brigham Young University law professor Christine Hurt appeared as a contestant on TV game show “Jeopardy!” (DeseretNews)

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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