Bloomberg Law
Feb. 18, 2020, 1:34 PM

Wake Up Call: Kirkland Gets $765 Million IP Win for Motorola

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

In today’s column, DLA Piper topped $3 billion in revenues for the first time last year. Partners at a handful of Big Law firms last year rode work on litigation and corporate megadeals to average profits topping $3 million; but big firms are not prepared for the next recession and might need a “Brody Moment” to wake up.

  • Leading off, Kirkland & Ellis lawyers for Motorola Solutions last week got a $765 million verdict in an intellectual property case in which the company accused a Chinese-based competitor of using former Motorola employees to get proprietary source code for digital mobile radios. The rival, Hytera Communications, was represented by Steptoe & Johnson and others. (

  • DLA Piper reported that it notched its third-consecutive year of growth in 2019, powered by high-value work from clients willing to pay top rates. The transatlantic firm, created out of a three-way merger in 2005, expanded its gross revenues by nearly 10% to $3.11 billion, to get over the $3 billion hump for the first time. It boosted average profits per equity partner 4.1%, to $1.95 million, and grew head count 5.2%. (American Lawyer)

  • Work on litigation and corporate megadeals allowed top level partners at U.S. firms including Dechert, King & Spalding, and others to rake in PEP averaging $3 million last year, according to a report. (Financial Times)

  • But Big Law firms aren’t ready for the next recession and may need a clear “existential threat” to motivate them, two consultants say. (Forbes)

  • The American Bar Association, after days of tense negotiations, passed a resolution encouraging state bars to explore innovative approaches to improving access to justice. (BLAW) The ABA also adopted resolutions urging federal legislation to shield lawyers and banks from criminal liability for providing services to state-legalized marijuana businesses. (ABAJournal)

  • Two women accusing Morrison & Foerster of systemic bias against pregnant women and new mothers are looking to drop their class-action suit, federal court records show. (BLAW) Meanwhile, Fox Rothschild asked a New York federal court to throw out a former administrative assistant’s sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. (BLAW)

  • Airbnb’s 120 or so in-house lawyers are fighting a guerrilla-style regulatory war all over the country, to clear the way for an initial public offering. And the company is looking for more lawyers, in particular in San Francisco. (Bloomberg News)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • London offices of U.S. firms account for nearly half of the 50 top earning practices in the city of London, but they are still struggling with legal and cultural challenges of lateral hiring. (

  • Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc., a major Burger King and Popeyes franchisee, hired veteran in-house leader Markus Hartmann as its vice president and general counsel. Hartmann, an ex-Marine helipcopter pilot, was most recently VP for technical compliance at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. a Daimler Company; He’s been North American general counsel for pharmaceutical company Sandoz, Inc., and an in-house leader at GE Capital. (

  • More Big Law firms say they are encouraging associates and staff to state their gender pronoun preferences in their email signatures. (Above The Law)

  • A “nasty little secret of the legal industry” is that some women who reach top positions in law firms don’t help other women climb up to their level, a leadership development consultant says. (Thrive Global)


  • Morrison & Foerster client OpenInvest, a tech-enabled SMA (separately managed accounts) asset manager, agreed to make its dynamic custom indexing platform available across the distribution network of Resolute Investment Managers, Inc. Resolute was advised by Skadden Arps. Terms weren’t disclosed. (

  • Major Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi said it advised Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation on a tie-up in which NTT will acquire a 10% stake in leasing and finance company Tokyo Century Corporation for approximately $640 million. It also advised on a joint venture between Tokyo Century and NTT Finance Corporation, part of the NTT Group. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Two aviation finance lawyers left Debevoise & Plimpton to join Texas-based firm Winstead as shareholders in the new office it is opening in New York. (New York Law Journal)

  • McDermott Will & Emery France hired former Paul Hastings corporate partner David Revcolevschi as a partner in its Paris office. He specializes in capital markets and securities law and has previously been at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Skadden Arps. (

  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer hired a partner and two associates away from White & Case in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a plan to grow its cross-border litigation practice. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Beth Wilkinson, co-founding partner of Wilkinson Walsh, is representing Summer Zervos, the former contestant on “The Apprentice” who is suing President Donald Trump for defamation. This report says that Wilkinson last year served a subpoena to former White House communications director Hope Hicks for a deposition in the suit. Trump is represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres in the suit. (National Law Journal)

Legal Education

  • A record 745 teams from around the world have registered to participate in the 2020 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, reports White & Case, a global partner in the event. The competition, administered by the International Law Students Association, requires students to make oral and written arguments on a hypothetical international law case before a simulated International Court of Justice. (

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