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Wake Up Call: Kirkland Lawyers Facing Glare in Epstein Sex Trafficking Case

July 10, 2019, 11:37 AM
  • Several former and present attorneys from Kirkland & Ellis are in the glare of the widening Jeffrey Epstein scandal since the putative fund manager was arrested days ago on federal sex trafficking charges in New York. Topping the list is Alexander Acosta, a former Kirkland litigator and now U.S. labor secretary, who as a Florida federal prosecutor signed off on Epstein’s sweetheart plea deal in 2007 in Florida the last time Epstein faced similar charges. (American Lawyer)

  • A “who’s who” of lawyers, not just from Kirkland, helped Epstein get that Florida deal and will now have to “face the music,” according to this report. (Above The Law) Attorney General William Barr, who was previously at Kirkland & Ellis but didn’t work on the earlier Epstein case, says he won’t recuse himself from the latest case. (BN via BLAW)

  • King & Spalding got back former general counsel of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Stephen P. Vaughn, who also briefly served as acting trade representative. He returns as a partner to the firm’s Washington office, which he had left to join the Trump administration. Vaughn previously spent 23 years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he worked with current trade representative Robert Lighthizer representing the U.S. steel industry. (BLAW via BLB)

  • After a federal appeals court ruled yesterday that President Trump can’t block hostile followers on his Twitter account, a New York state assemblyman sued U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to keep her from blocking unfriendly followers from her feed. (BLAW)

  • A Manhattan federal judge yesterday rejected the Department of Justice’s request to replace its attorneys in a lawsuit that blocked the U.S. from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (BN via BLAW)

  • Latham & Watkins and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom are advising two companies collaborating to start the first publicly traded human space flight company. (American Lawyer)

  • D.C.-based Miller & Chevalier elected international compliance and investigations lawyer Kathryn Cameron Atkinson as its new firm chair. Atkinson has spent her entire 27-year legal career at Miller & Chevalier and most recently served as international department chair. She succeeds Marc J. Gerson, who will continue to lead the firm’s federal tax policy practice. (

  • Seyfarth Shaw opened a new office in Charlotte, North Carolina, for which worklaw partner Frederick T. “Fritz” Smith and real estate partner Eric Sidman will serve as office co-managing partners. The office, Seyfarth’s 16th globally, is its first in the regional market, in which the firm has over 25 active clients, including Compass Group, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), and Wells Fargo. The office will start out with eight to 10 lawyers from the labor & employment and real estate departments. (

  • Heineken’s chief legal officer for its American branch, Julie Kinch has left the company. (Corporate Counsel)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is getting a former member of the Robert Mueller special counsel Russia probe team, Zainab Ahmad, as a white collar partner in New York. (American Lawyer)

  • Illinois-based TreeHouse Foods, Inc. agreed to sell its snacks business for $90 million to Connecticut-based private equity firm Atlas Holdings LLC, a Willkie Farr & Gallagher client. (Food Business News)

  • Willkie also advised CapStreet Group, LLC on its majority investment in Shenandoah, Texas-based PCS Software, Inc., which was advised by Sidley Austin. The deal was in partnership with PCS Software founder and shareholder Mike Till, who continues as CEO of the company. (

  • DigiCert, a leading provider of identity and encryption security solutions, said it will get strategic growth investments from Clearlake Capital Group and TA Associates, which will both become equal partners in the company. Goodwin advised TA associates. (

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Pittsburgh-headquartered K&L Gates added a four-lawyer intellectual property team in Austin, Texas, including three partners. The team arrives from Conley Rose, P.C., where partner Stewart Mesher was Austin office managing partner and litigation practice chair. Partners Darlene Ghavimi and Henry Pogorzelski, who also practice from Houston, as well as counsel Adam Stegge made the move with Mesher. (

  • Cozen O’Connor hired Ballard Spahr employee benefits attorney Robert S. Kaplan in Philadelphia as a member in its labor and employment group. According to his LinkedIn, before spending six years at Ballard Spahr, Kaplan was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for over five years, as an executive and compliance consultant, among other roles. (

  • Management-side worklaw firm Littler hired Indiana government litigator Rebecca L. Loeffler as of counsel in its Indianapolis office. Loeffler, who most recently served as the government litigation section chief in the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, previously worked in Indiana law firms as a trial litigator representing employers in state and federal courts, as well as before arbitrators and administrative boards. (

  • Carlton Fields said worklaw attorney Micah J. Vitale joined the firm’s Hartford office as an associate in labor and employment practice. (

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS added international arbitrator and mediator Hiro N. Aragaki to its panel in Los Angeles. According to his LinkedIn, he’s a law professor at Loyola Law School and has worked at law firms including Davis Polk & Wardwell, O’Melveny & Myers, and Orrick, among other things. (

  • Fox Rothschild added bankruptcy and insolvency litigator Bryan S. Kaplan in Atlanta as a partner in its financial restructuring and bankruptcy department. (

  • Reed Smith added Barnes & Thornburg litigator Elizabeth Brandon as a Dallas-based partner in its commercial disputes practice. (

  • Ohio-headquartered Frost Brown Todd said business litigator William (Will) Swann joined the firm as a senior associate and will also serve as vice president of its lobbying branch CivicPoint, LLC. (

  • Reliant Funding, a small business finance provider, hired former WilmerHale financial institutions counsel Gianna Ravenscroft as general counsel. She was most recently associate GC at Axos Bank and has been managing counsel at Toyota Financial Services. (

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at