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Wake Up Call: International Bar Cancels Miami Conference Due to Covid

May 13, 2020, 12:35 PM

In today’s column, even as the eDiscovery sector is laying off workers because of Covid-19’s hit to litigation, Relativity says it expects a surge in business in the third quarter and plans to expand in Europe; McDermott grabbed eight lawyers from Big Law rivals to open an office in Atlanta; Vinson & Elkins closed its office in Beijing; the ABA is considering distance education rules; Temple University Law school is proposing a tuition freeze because of Covid-19; and Simpson Thacher grabbed an M&A partner from Goldman Sachs.

  • Leading off, the International Bar Association canceled its 2020 annual conference, an event that was scheduled to bring together 6,000 lawyers in Miami in early November, a report says. The IBA, citing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, says the event will instead be held online. (Global Legal Post)

  • Cooley’s gross revenues grew 8.4% in 2019 to $1.33 billion, topping a decade of consistent growth. Then Covid-19 spoiled the party. The firm’s CEO and chairman Joe Conroy says he expects demand to fall because of the pandemic, but the firm has no plans to cut pay or jobs and is instead cutting expenses. (American Lawyer)

  • London-based Big Law firm Taylor Wessing furloughed employees last month. This week, it said it’s cutting partner draws by 20%, cutting staff work hours and salaries, and putting off partner promotions. (The Lawyer)

  • Top Irish law firms are canceling bonuses, and cutting hours and pay in moves to get through Covid-19’s economic impact. ( International)

  • BakerHostetler released an interactive toolkit to help employers prepare to return to operations as state and local governments begin lifting Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. (

  • Law firms including Fried Frank, Reed Smith, and Thompson & Knight say Covid-19 makes their mental health programs more important than ever. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Three top law firms in the U.S., Europe, and Asia are collaborating on $10 million investment to support a new legal tech platform they say will help firms and their clients work through the often tricky process of collaborating digitally on complex projects. (BLAW)

  • McDermott Will & Emery opened an eight-lawyer office in Atlanta that it said will be managed by corporate partner Frank Layson, who arrived from DLA Piper. Also from DLA Piper are corporate partners Paul Puckett and Sam Snider. Cybersecurity & privacy partner Todd McClelland comes from Jones Day, while intellectual property partner Jeffrey Toney arrivies as part of a four-lawyer IP litigation team from former Kasowitz Benson Torres, the firm said. (

  • Vinson & Elkins is the latest U.S. firm to pull back from Asia, closing its office in Beijing as the oil & gas work dried up in the region. It still has offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong. ( International)

  • Insurers try their hardest to make litigating against them hard work, but when policyholders’ attorneys say “we’re going to trial,” insurers often become willing to settle, attorneys say. (

  • The Florida Bar is looking at whether lawyers’ use of social media violates its rules on advertising. (Daily Business Review)

Laterals, Moves

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett added M&A lawyer Katherine Krause as a partner in New York. She arrives from Goldman Sachs, where she was a managing director, responsible for supporting the merchant banking division. (

  • Haynes and Boone added former Time Warner chief trademark counsel Erin Hennessy as a partner in New York. She’s been a partner at K&L Gates and arrives most recently from Bracewell, where she was a partner and head of the trademark and copyright practice. (

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth in San Francisco recruited Winston & Strawn’s former insurance coverage practice chair, Scott DeVries, as special counsel. According to his LinkedIn, DeVries spent close to 12 years at Nossaman LLP, including seven years as firmwide managing partner, before moving to Winston in 2007. He said he only represents policyholders and has “no pesky conflicts,” and looks forward to working with his new firm’s “experienced group of policyholder-side lawyers.” (

  • Eversheds Sutherland added regulatory and compliance counsel Brandi Taylor in San Diego. She advises on data privacy and cybersecurity, among other areas, and was previously an associate at Duane Morris. (

  • Holland & Knight added IP litigator Daniel Barsky in Miami as a partner. He arrives from Shutts & Bowen, where he’d been close to 11 years, including six as a partner. (

  • Perkins Coie added veteran energy partner Jane Rueger in Washington, where she advises clients on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters. She arrives from White & Case. (

  • Blank Rome added tax lawyer Philip M. Tatarowicz as of counsel in Washington. He was a partner at Ernst & Young, where he founded the state and local tax department, and arrives most recently from Morrison & Foerster. (

  • Fox Rothschild hired Houston, Texas-based bankruptcy lawyer Trey Monsour as a partner in its financial restructuring & bankruptcy department. He arrived from Polsinelli, where he was a shareholder. (

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS added retired federal California federal and state court judge S. James Otero to its Los Angeles panel. It added retired DC federal judge Ricardo Urbina to its Washington panel. (


  • United Airlines Inc. promoted its former general counsel, Brett Hart to replace Scott Kirby as president May 20. Hart, currently the airline’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, was the airline’s GC in 2015 when he filled in six months for CEO Oscar Munoz, who’d had a heart attack. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Two prominent U.S. retail chains have appointed in-house veterans to lead their law departments as stores around the country prepare to go back to business during a pandemic. (BLAW)

  • Boston-based Globalization Partners, which helps companies set up in foreign countries, hired veteran in-house leader Todd Goffman as general counsel. He was most recently GC at cannabis company Curaleaf, after about 13 years in-house at Netcracker Technology Corp., a subsidiary of Japanese tech company NEC Corp, including as top lawyer. (Corporate Counsel)


  • Electronic discovery company Relativity said it’s opening two new data centers in Europe and expanding product support in this year’s third quarter, when it expects to get a boost from a surge in Covid-19 related litigation. The “brave” move comes amidst tough times for the eDiscovery sector, among other things hit by layoffs. Legal tech company Epiq Global also said recently it expects an upturn in the third quarter. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Contract review pioneer LawGeex raised $20 million in venture capital funding and contract review upstart LexCheck raised $3 million in two signs that legal tech companies can still raise investor funds. (Artificial Lawyer)

Legal Education

  • The Temple University Beasley School of Law is proposing a tuition freeze because of the pandemic. (Legal Intelligencer)

  • The American Bar Association is considering changes to its law school accreditation rules related to distance education. (

  • Seton Hall University in New Jersey said its law school will hold a seven-week seminar on legal effects of Covid-19. (BLAW)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at

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