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Wake Up Call: Harvard Law Says Fall Semester Will Be Online

June 4, 2020, 12:55 PM

In today’s column, London’s lateral recruitment market fell to its second-slowest rate in 10 years as firms and partners, hit the brakes because of economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19; law school applications are down but might surge because of the pandemic; Georgia state and federal judges are participating in a virtual program for law students’ whose summer associate program got axed because of Covid-19; a former Big Law intellectual property lawyer is getting interest from law schools for her Tinder-based mentoring app. London-based new law company Elevate grabbed Hogan Lovells’ innovation chief as a vice president.

  • Leading off, Harvard Law School said it will hold its fall classes online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, making it the first top law school to confirm it won’t be bringing students back to campus next semester. Normal grading will return, after the school used pass/fail during the spring lock-down. Tuition stays at the 2019 rate of $65,875, and the school is earmarking $1 million to help students with internet access and other technology issues, this report says. (Law.com)

  • As law firms cut costs to protect their finances, London’s lateral recruitment market has fallen to its second-slowest rate in 10 years, with partner moves down about 28% for the month covering March April, according to a report. (Financial Times)

  • Big Law firms’ summer associate programs have also been hit by the pandemic, as several firms have shifted them to virtual, shortened them, and some have just canceled programs altogether. Wilson Sonsini’s senior manager of law school recruiting, Elizabeth Pond, has spent a good part of her Covid-19 lockdown building a virtual experience out of the firm’s in-person summer associate program. Among other things, it uses automation, Zoom, and bingo. (BLAW)

  • In Georgia, state and federal court judges have signed up to host virtual internships for 26 law students whose summer law firm gigs fell through. The program was set up in just a month by the Georgia Latino Law Foundation. (Daily Report)

  • And a Chicago nonprofit that helps women law students of color get opportunities at law firms is seeking funding for its program to financially support students nationwide who lost their first-year summer internships because of the pandemic. The “Displaced Student Stipend Fund and Fellowship” will also pair students with lawyer-mentors. (American Lawyer)

  • The International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, which usually meets as part of the annual Midem conference for the global music community held in Cannes, France, is gathering virtually, as is Midem itself. (Billboard)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A handful of former Tesla in-house lawyers spoke with Bloomberg Law about the challenges of working for the company’s eccentric CEO, Elon Musk. Tesla has had seven general counsels in the last 10 years. (BLAW)

  • At least five large law firms have said this week that they will make donations to racial justice groups, as protests spread across the U.S. in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody in Minneapolis. (Reuters)

  • USA Today profiled the lawyer for Floyd’s family, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s become known as “the emergency attorney” for black families who’ve lost loved ones to a racist killing. (USA Today)

  • “When I looked at George Floyd pleading for his life, it carried the baggage I’ve carried with my entire life,” said a Carlton Fields partner. He’s one of seven black attorneys, including partners and law firm leaders across the United States, who talked about their reactions to Floyd’s death. (American Lawyer)

  • Minnesota, through its supreme court, yesterday joined other states that have dropped a ban on third-party financial stakes in litigation. That’s a big win for litigation finance. (BLAW)

  • Choice of venue is a key consideration for foreign trademark owners filing litigation in China, this report says. (World Trademark Review)

Laterals, Moves

  • The U.K.-based Access to Justice Foundation appointed London-based Cooley partner Laurence Harris as new chair of its board of trustees, taking over from Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC, who’s Debevoise & Plimpton London co-managing partner and litigation chair for Europe and Asia. Harris, vice chair of Cooley’s litigation department, was a founding member of that firm’s London office. (ATJF.org.uk)

  • Los Angeles-headquartered Buchalter hired litigators Vincent Whittaker as a shareholder and Skye Daley as an associate in its San Diego office. They both arrive from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith and their main focus is complex business and commercial litigation throughout California. (Buchalter)

In-house

  • Alternative legal services provider Elevate hired Hogan Lovells’ global head of innovation, Stephen Allen, as London-based “vice president of enterprise solutions and get sh*t done.” He’s had previous roles at DLA Piper, and Pwc as head of global legal services transformation. (GlobalLegalPost.com)

  • Outset Medical, which provides technology for the global dialysis market, hired veteran health care and tech industry in-house leader John Brottem, as its general counsel, based in Menlo Park, California. A former Cooley associate, Brottem arrives most recently from Omnicell, pharmacy and medication management solutions provider, where he was vice president and deputy general counsel. (Businesswire.com)

Technology

  • A former Haynes and Boone intellectual property lawyer, Anjie Vichayanonda, is getting interest from major law schools for her Tinder app called “Leg Up Legal,” which she calls a “mentoring program” to help prospective and current law students learn about the actual practice of law and decide if they actually want to do it. (Dmagazine.com)

  • Cost is the big selling point for alternative legal services providers. But ALSPs may lose their cost advantage over law firms when it comes to complex legal matters. (Legaltech News)

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Centre for Information Policy Leadership released a report, with 47 case studies, looking at how companies have implemented data privacy programs and accountability controls. (Informationpolicycentre.com)

Legal Education

  • Law school applications are down about 2.5% from last year but a late surge could still be possible as college grads seek to avoid the dismal job market. (Law.com)

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