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Wake Up Call: House Lead Impeachment Counsel Tests Positive for Covid-19

March 16, 2020, 12:28 PM

In today’s column, amidst the spreading outbreak of novel coronavirus Covid-19, law firms announced more office closures, shifts to remote work, and more firms launched Covid-19 task forces and resources. More courts closed or limited physical access to proceedings. And in news not related to the virus, Fish & Richardson reported revenue and profit gains for 2019; while Akin Gump poached a Gibson Dunn finance partner in London.

  • Leading off, Daniel Goldman, who was lead counsel to the Intelligence Committee during President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, tweeted yesterday that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is recovering. (CNN) (Business Insider)

  • Davis Wright Tremaine, on Friday, closed its Washington state offices in Bellevue and Seattle following the death of an executive legal assistant who was experiencing flu-like symptoms. (BLAW)

  • Baker McKenzie said it is closing its U.S. and Toronto offices and requiring employees to work remotely until at least March 31. It joined a lengthening list of Big Law firms going to distance work in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. (BLAW) Reed Smith said employees in its U.S., Europe, and Middle East offices will work remotely until further notice. (BLAW)

  • Nixon Peabody; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; Schiff Hardin; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges; also announced plans to work remotely. (American Lawyer)

  • All these lawyers and other legal pros suddenly working from home could shed new light on the benefits and challenges of working from home, and the technology needed to do that. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Above The Law started a table tracking law firms’ coronavirus policies that will benefit their employees, and policies that apply to lawyers and staff or only to lawyers, among other factors. (Above The Law)

  • O’Melveny & Meyers launched a coronavirus task force, which it said will be led by partner Lisa Monaco, who helped coordinate the Obama Administration’s 2014 response to the Ebola epidemic. O’Melveney also said Monaco was named to a new six-person public health advisory committee set up by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to address the virus. (Omm.com)

  • More firms announced Covid-19 task forces and resources pages, including Sidley Austin, whose page has a post on the double whammy of Covid-19 and the oil price war hitting the energy industry. ClarkHilland Dykema have webinars on workplace issues raised by the virus. Pryor Cashman released guidance for corporate insurance policyholders; while Holland & Knight announced a Covid-19 response team. (HKLaw.com)

  • More U.S. courts last week restricted physical access and limited oral arguments. (Law.com) Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice, announcing that “persons” in its office have symptoms consistent with Covid-19. encouraged personnel to consider teleworking. (National Law Journal)

  • The Paris bar association urged lawyers and interns to avoid all travel, meetings, and outside appointments, and that they collaborate to organize remote work. (LeMondeduDroit.fr)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • For some law practices, the Covid-19 pandemic is bringing a surge in demand. (American Lawyer)

  • Fish & Richardson, powered by a combination of intellectual property work and commercial litigation, had its fifth-straight year of gains in 2019, compared with 2018. It posted early data showing a 9.6% surge in gross revenues to $472.2 million a 16% increase in profits per equity partner, to top $2 million ($2.027 million) for the first time. (American Lawyer)

  • Seeking to put its phony account scandals in the past, Wells Fargo & Co. named former Simpson Thacher partner Ellen Patterson, recently the top in-house lawyer at Toronto-Dominion Bank, as its new general counsel. (BLAW)

  • T-Mobile US Inc. said its top lawyer David Miller, who helped steer the company’s successful $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint Corp. last month, is set to lead the combined company’s law department. The company didn’t list Jorge Gracia, Sprint’s chief legal and compliance officer, as part of its new management team. (BLAW)

  • Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht and its founding partner John Pierce have been sued by a high-interest business lender and dumped by their attorney, white-collar defender Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor, a report says. (American Lawyer)

  • The American Bar Association said it will present its 2020 Margaret Brent “women lawyers of achievement"award winners on Aug. 2 in Chicago. (AmericanBar.org)

Reports

  • Non-U.S. issuers of securities were targeted by a total of 64 class action lawsuits filed in the United States in 2019, up from 54 in 2018, according to a Dechert report. (Dechert)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Akin Gump’s London office poached leveraged finance partner Amy Kennedy from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. (LegalBusiness.co.UK)

  • Barnes & Thornburg said legal scholar Martin Redish joined the firm’s litigation department as of counsel. He’s at Northwestern University School of Law as Louis and Harriet Ancel Professor of Law and Public Policy, and has previously worked at Sidley Austin, Mayer Brown, and DLA Piper, among other places. (BTLaw.com)

  • Duane Morris’ Silicon Valley office added intellectual property veterans Jennifer M. Lantz and Philip W. Woo as partners. According to their LinkedIn profiles, they both arrive from Haynes and Boone’s Palo Alto office. (DuaneMorris.com)

  • Philadelphia-based Stradley Ronon appointed public finance partner Caroline C. Gorman as vice chair of its business department and it appointed corporate and securities partner Marissa Parker as vice chair of its litigation department. (Stradley.com)

In-house

  • Ryan Specialty Group promoted in-house attorney Mark S. Katz to the role of executive vice-president and general counsel. (InsuranceBusinessMag.com)

Technology

  • Big Law attorneys who specialize in eDiscovery have little chance of making equity partner, thanks to the law firm business model. But outside of Big Law, opportunities are looking up. (Legaltech News)

  • A Singaporean law school got a $10.7 million grant from the city state’s government for a five-year program focused on developing open-source technology for legal services. (Law.com International)

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