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Wake Up Call: Impeached Again, Trump Eyes Giuliani’s Big Fees

Jan. 14, 2021, 2:09 PM

In today’s column, a former SEC official, now a law firm partner who represents corporate whistleblowers, is suing the agency over recent changes to its whistle-blower rules; when Big Law firms set partner compensation, they’re increasingly taking practice profitability into account; the Paycheck Protection Program is back, but many law firms may skip it this time; Morrison & Foerster announced its year-end bonuses.

  • Leading off, President Donald Trump has told his aides not to pay his go-to lawyer Rudy Giuliani legal fees without his okay, a report says. Trump is said to be angry at Giuliani for failing to win any of his lawsuits aimed at overturning the presidential election results and irritated at Giuliani’s $20,000 a day retainer. (WaPo)
  • Impeached a second time, Trump is finding that many of the lawyers who helped him escape conviction and removal in his first Senate trial may not be available this time. One report says Trump may hire ousted law professor John Eastman to defend him in the next Senate trial. (Reuters)
  • Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a new team of impeachment managers for the House procedure and Senate trial. (National Law Journal)
  • Morrison & Foerster announced market-matching year-end associate bonuses of up to $100,000, depending on seniority and subject to an hours requirement. MoFo is also giving special bonuses of up to $40,000, with no hours requirement, plus extra money for associates who billed over 2,500 hours. (Above the Law)
  • The Paycheck Protection Program is back with new money, but many law firms may decide to skip the pandemic stimulus loans this time because of new rules and concerns about bad press if they take the assistance, which is intended to protect jobs. (Law.com)

Biden Transition, Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • Seyfarth Shaw split with Trump’s businesses in response to the public outcry over his role in stoking violent protests by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol. (BLAW)
  • A private liberal arts college in Vermont revoked the honorary degree of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of “fomenting the violent uprising.” (Newsweek)
  • The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took down her Facebook post promoting the Capitol Hill rally that turned into a mob attack. (ABAJournal)
  • Chief Justice John Roberts must have been sad to see his former clerk, Josh Hawley, now a Republican Senator from Missouri, leading an effort to torch American democratic institutions, writes columnist Vivia Chen. (National Law Journal)
  • Trump’s handpicked Atlanta U.S. attorney has found no evidence of election fraud, just like his fired predecessor, a report says. (Politico)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A Labaton Sucharow partner who represents corporate whistleblowers, is suing the Securities and Exchange commission over recent changes of rules for the agency’s whistle-blower award program. Jordan Thomas, a former SEC official who now chairs Labaton’s whistle-blower representation practice, says the rules would discourage corporate insiders from coming forward with tips. (WSJ) The suit, in which named plaintiff Jordan is represented by litigation boutique Consovoy McCarthy, argues, among other things, that the new rules could menace compensation for law firms. (National Law Journal)
  • Dentons said Middle East managing partner Paul Jarvis will become the firm’s new CEO for the U.K. Ireland and Middle East region starting in May 2021 and also become part of the firm’s global management committee and global board. Jarvis, an Abu Dhabi-based banking and finance partner known for transport expertise, takes over from London-based corporate partner Jeremy Cohen who has served two terms in the regional CEO role. (Dentons.com)
  • Big Law firms are increasingly taking practice profitability into account when they set and evaluate partner compensation, some legal market observers say. But there is “incredible pushback” from lawyers when they do it, this report says. (American Lawyer)
  • Corporate immigration law firm Fragomen is moving its Silicon Valley office from Santa Clara to an entire building in San Jose. The previous occupant was a semiconductor maker so the building has a lab space and a server room. (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
  • Boston police are seeking a local defense attorney, a former county prosecutor, who has been accused of rape for the fifth time since 2004. (Boston.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Hogan Lovells grabbed a seven-lawyer M&A and private equity team from Baker McKenzie in Paris led by partners Matthieu Grollemund and Hélène Parent, who arrive with five associates. Grollemund was a co-leader of Baker McKenzie’s corporate practice in France. (HoganLovells.com)
  • Axinn brought on trial lawyer Denise Plunkett as a partner in the firm’s antitrust group in New York. Plunkett arrives from Ballard Spahr, where she was co-managing partner of the New York office, head of the payments industry group, and leader of its women’s initiative. (Axinn.com)
  • FisherBroyles’ year-old London office has lost three partners in three months. (Law.com International)
  • Also in London, Bracewell grabbed renewable energy lawyers Tom Jamieson, Jo En Low, and Gordon Stewart as partners. They arrive from Clifford Chance. (Bracewell.com)
  • Squire Patton Boggs added Shearman & Sterling M&A partner Matthew Powell in Dubai as a partner in its United Arab Emirates corporate practice. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)
  • Squire also added life sciences experts Rüdiger Herrmann, as a partner, and Jochen Eimer, as director, in Frankfurt from McDermott Will & Emery. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)

In-House

  • Tech-powered litigation funder Legalist, Inc. said it hired former Alliance Legal Solutions general counsel Megan Baer as investment counsel, based in Charlotte, N.C. She was previously a business litigation partner at a predecessor firm of Womble Bond Dickinson. (LinkedIn.com)

Promotions, Effective Jan. 1, 2021

  • Faegre Drinker said it appointed trial partner Dawn McCord as office leader in Dallas, taking over from trial partner Neil Rambin, who’s had the role since 2017. McCord is a partner in the firm’s product liability and mass torts and business litigation practice groups. (FaegreDrinker.com)
  • Troutman Pepper promoted 19 attorneys (eight women) to partner across 12 offices and 13 practices. (Troutman.com)
  • Morris, Manning & Martin promoted seven attorneys (one woman) to partner. (MMMLaw.com)

Technology

  • As they face Covid-related challenges, law firms can choose from new legal tech tools ranging from virtual reality collaborative tools to robots that can write contracts. But the simplest legal tech tools are probably the ones helping lawyers the most during the pandemic. (Financial Times)
  • As law firms increasingly use diversity and other metrics to make hiring decisions, they’re giving artificial intelligence-based hiring tools a closer look. (Legaltech News)
  • A due diligence expert says that even though remote recruitment has made it possible to expedite lateral hires, law firms should not speed the hiring process too much. Audio. (Legaltalknetwork.com)

Legal Education

  • The pandemic put an added burden on women law professors and could set them back years. (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

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