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Wake Up Call: K&L Gates Loses 30 Lawyer Team in Australia, Report Says

Oct. 29, 2019, 11:47 AM
  • K&L Gates is losing an employment team of about 30 lawyers in Australia, one of the biggest departures to hit an international firm this year, according to a report. The group, which includes six to eight partners across offices in several Australian cities, may have left to launch a new practice. (Law.com)

  • O’Melveny & Myers, Johnson & Johnson’s lead litigation counsel for 2,000 opioid-related lawsuits, is the latest major firm to launch a practice group aimed at defending companies targeted in actions by state attorneys general. (American Lawyer)

  • Perkins Coie and other lawyers for the Democratic National Committee and its former chair, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, beat a proposed class action suit alleging the 2016 Democratic presidential primary process was biased against Senator Bernie Sanders, in favor of Hillary Clinton. The federal appeals court ruled that donors lacked standing for some claims and other claims lacked merit. (BLAW)

  • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.'s lawyers from Covington & Burling and Morgan Lewis & Bockius won a redo of the drugmaker’s effort to get a multi-district lawsuit over its rotavirus vaccine sent to arbitration. The plaintiff medical groups alleging Merck inflated vaccine prices are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll; Hausfeld; and others. (BLAW)

  • Foley & Lardner hired intellectual property litigator Stephen Smerek, who arrives as a partner in L.A. after 14 years at Winston & Strawn. Smerek played a key role in Winston’s ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) pharmaceutical patent litigation practice. He previously served as co-chair of Winston’s class action practice and vice-chair of its eDiscovery & information governance practice. Smerek earlier spent five years each as an associate at Goodwin Procter and Gibson Dunn. (Foley.com)

  • Baker McKenzie hired four partners in Chicago, New York, and Washington, for its new financial regulation and enforcement group. Three arrive from Morgan Lewis, and one is a former top lawyer at the North American Securities Administrators Association, an organization dedicated to protecting investors. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Andersen Global, the San Francisco-based tax and legal consultant firm, added 70 lawyers across six Central American countries through a tie-up with Latin American firm Central Law. (Law.com)

  • Overall pass rates for the July bar exam were up modestly for most jurisdictions that have reported, suggesting that a long decline in pass rates may finally be ending. (Law.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang calls the short stint he spent at Davis Polk & Wardwell after graduating Columbia Law, the “worst five months” of his life. Two decades later the internet entrepreneur is running for president. (WaPo)

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s investigation into billions of dollars in corporate tax breaks has so far cost the state’s taxpayers $6.5 million in legal fees, according to a report. (Associated Press via 3 CBS Philly)

  • Shearman & Sterling is the latest firm to expand its practice for advising clients on national security reviews of their investments in the U.S. It added former DLA Piper telecommunications partner John Beahn as a partner in its Washington office. He was previously at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. (American Lawyer)

  • Twenty-one percent of U.K. law firms fail to comply with 2017 money laundering rules, according to a government survey by the legal profession regulator. (Financial Times)

  • Therium Access, the pro bono arm of London-based litigation finance provider Therium, said Lord John Thomas of Cwmgiedd, a former chief justice of England and Wales, joined its advisory committee. Therium Access also said former Therium investment officer Jeunesse Mensier is now grant program director of the not-for-profit. (Therium.com)

  • Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney released a three-page client alert detailing what it called “upcoming sweeping, employee-friendly” New York City and state law changes that will affect all New York employers. (HNRKLaw.com)

Deals

  • Morgan Lewis advised Swedish mining equipment company Sandvik on its agreement to sell a majority of its oil and gas industry operations, Varel International Energy Services, for about $92.4 million (900 million Swedish Krona). The buyers are private equity firm Blue Water Energy and its co-investor, Nixon Energy Investments. (PR Newswire)

Laterals, Moves

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth added veteran environmental attorney Michael J. Altieri as senior attorney in Boston. Altieri previously worked for regulatory agencies in Massachusetts and New York. His practice focuses on issues relating to environmental permitting and energy infrastructure siting, including for renewable energy projects. (HuntonAK.com)

  • Eversheds Sutherland added cybersecurity & privacy counsel Paul McCulloch-Otero in New York. He most recently worked at boutique firm NYC CyberLaw Group, previously founded and led a cyber security and tech firm. His other previous jobs include executive and in-house compliance expert at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and program specialist at the Department of State. (Eversheds-Sutherland.com)

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges hired away Vinson & Elkins tax partner Jenny Doak in London. (Weil.com)

  • Alabama-based Maynard Cooper & Gale got five new associates across its Birmingham and Huntsville offices. (MaynardCooper.com)

  • Offshore firm Appleby said its Bermuda unit added two lawyers. Corporate attorney Jamie Rego, who earlier spent eight years at Appleby, rejoins as an associate after three years at an Australian firm. Dispute resolution senior associate Bradley Houlston leads the firm’s employment & immigration team in Bermuda. He was previously at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in Manchester, England. (ApplebyGlobal.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • The U.S. lost hold of a former investment banker wanted on insider-trading charges after it filed an extradition request for him to French principality Monaco in English, without the required translation. (BN via BLAW)

  • A Utah-based law firm agreed to pay $2 million to settle a federal class action by drivers who accused the firm of violating the drivers’ privacy. The amount includes a $1.05 million in attorneys’ fees, expenses, and a service award for the lead plaintiff. (BLAW)

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; Molly Ward at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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