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Wake Up Call: Insurance Carriers Pressure Firms to Lower Rates

July 12, 2022, 12:30 PM

In today’s column, a Freshfields corporate partner drew up post-Brexit recommendations for the UK Treasury; Biden administration regulatory reviews are delaying private equity deals; a Georgia gaming company accused Eckert Seamans of “double-dealing.”

  • Leading off, insurance carriers, which are sophisticated users of data for reducing outside legal spending, are continuously pressuring defense firms to cut their legal fees. They want firms to make greater use of alternate fee arrangements and to give work to paralegals, billed at lower rates, among other changes. (American Lawyer)
  • UK government ministers are considering recommendations for post-Brexit reforms drawn up by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Mark Austin. UK’s Treasury commissioned Austin to review fund raising rules for companies in London with a view to making it easier for them to raise money in the country. (Financial Times)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The Biden administration’s strict review of merger applications is causing delays and increased costs for private equity deals, attorneys say. (Buyouts)
  • Georgia-based gaming company Pace-O-Matic said it is suing Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott for “fraud.” The company is accusing the Pennsylvania-based law firm of continuing to take its work as it simultaneously represented a casino that opposed Pace-O-Matic’s operations in the state. (Yahoo!Finance)
  • Legal educator Renée McDonald Hutchins is set to take over Aug. 1 as dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher said it’s getting back a former associate at the firm, Stephenie Gosnell Handler, recently at McKinsey & Company as director for cybersecurity strategy and digital acceleration. She’s returning in Washington as a partner and member of its international trade and privacy, cybersecurity and data innovation practice groups; Goodwin snagged Dentons corporate partner Sara Werner, who was co-chair of Dentons’ investment fund formation practice, as a venture capital funds partner in New York; Pryor Cashman picked up two corporate partners in New York, getting Robert Friedman from Moses & Singer and Richard Leska from Meister Seelig & Fein; UK Big Law firm Mishcon de Reya hired Reed Smith aviation transactions attorney Ethan Tan as a partner in Singapore and leader of its Asia aviation practice; Nixon Peabody appointed longtime public finance partner Virginia Wong to lead its 50-plus attorney project finance and public finance practice. She’s based in New York. (
  • King & Spalding grabbed the co-leader of Jones Day’s project finance group, Fradyn Suárez. She joins in Miami as a partner; Troutman Pepper added former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission legal adviser Fredrick Wilson as a partner in its FERC division in Washington. He arrives recently from Davis Wright Tremaine; Steptoe & Johnson said former Maryland assistant US attorney Dwight Draughon returned as an investigations and white collar partner in Washington. (
  • Reed Smith poached Paul Hastings real estate attorneys John Simonis and Daniel Hagedorn as partners in Los Angeles. Simonis led Paul Hastings’ Orange County office and headed that office’s real estate practice group; Akerman recruited real estate transactions partner Nailah Tatum from Bryant Miller Olive in Tallahassee, Florida; management side labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson added two shareholders: Allison Wallin joined in Los Angeles and Paula Anthony joined in New Haven, Connecticut; Cole Schotz added veteran dealmaker Jeffrey Cash as a corporate member in Dallas. He joins from Bell Nunnally & Martin. (
  • Dentons hired former top lawyer and chief administrative officer at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Chris Bennett, as a partner in Washington in its hotels and leisure practice. He was recently at Eckert Seamans as vice chair of hospitality and gaming and its chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer; Arnold & Porter snagged Reed Smith life sciences transactions partner Betty Yan in New York. She’s was earlier vice president and assistant general counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co.; restaurant and entertainment chain Dave & Buster’s, in a series of leadership team appointments following its recent acquisition of Main Event Entertainment, promoted Rob Edmund, its general counsel, corporate secretary and senior vice president of human resources, to chief people and legal officer. (Nation’s Restaurant News)

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at