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Wake Up Call: KPMG Said to Poach Over 100 Tax and Other Attorneys From Top French Firm

Feb. 5, 2019, 12:35 PM
  • France’s biggest law firm, Fidal, is considering an “unfair competition” lawsuit against KPMG, after some 130 of its lawyers exited for the accounting giant’s legal branch, including dozens of its tax, transfer pricing, and international mobility specialists, French-language reports say. Fidal until July 2018 had a years-long partnership agreement with KPMG. (Les Echos) (Le Monde du Droit)

  • Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin E. Fairfax, who moonlights as a Morrison & Foerster partner, would be set to become the state’s new governor if the current governor Ralph Northam exits amid an explosive race controversy. But Fairfax is fending off his own controversy as he denies a sex assault claim. (BLB)

  • San Francisco-based MoFo had some better news yesterday, announcing a new Boston office to expand its technology and life sciences capabilities. The outpost kicks off with moe than 30 lawyers, including a lateral group of 23 finance lawyers (eight partners) from a Boston based boutique finance firm. Proskauer Rose partner Ori Solomon joins as partner and co-chair of MoFo’s emerging companies & venture capital practice. (Mofo.com)

  • PE firms are getting bolder, with help from their law firms. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan advised Ultimate Software, a global provider of cloud-based human resources management solutions, which agreed to be acquired by an investor group led by Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners, advised by Simpson Thacher, in a deal valued at about $11 billion. Goodwin advised JMI Equity, which participated in the transaction as a minority co-investor. (BusinessWire.com) (BN via BLB) (GoodwinLaw.com)

  • Tesla Inc., advised by Wilson Sonsini, agreed to acquire battery-technology company Maxwell Technologies Inc. for about $218 million, with DLAPiper advising Maxwell. (BN) (Renewables Now)

  • Kirkland & Ellis client Fullbeauty Brands Inc., the women’s plus-size retailer, may have the fastest-ever U.S. bankruptcy after taking less than 24 hours to win court approval for its plan to restructure the company. (BN via BLAW)

  • A new continuing legal education program launched by San Francisco company In-House Focus provides custom educational content aimed at in-house attorneys, with a focus on showcasing diverse talent. (Legaltechnews.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • The Pipeline Parity Project, the Harvard Law student group that recently got Kirkland & Ellis to drop mandatory arbitration agreements for associates and other staff, is now targeting Venable. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Japanese electronics supplier Kyocera said Monday its German subsidiary will buy Germany-based H.C. Starck Ceramics GmbH from parent company H.C. Starck group, which was advised by Milbank and is a portfolio company of financial investors Advent International and The Carlyle Group. (Milbank.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Seward & Kissel said former SEC senior counsel and New York federal prosecutor Philip Moustakis joined the firm as counsel in New York, where he’ll advise individuals on SEC enforcement matters, internal investigations, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, among other things. (Sewkis.com)

  • Dechert hired financial services specialist Robin Nunn, a former in-house lawyer at American Express and Capital One, to lead the firm’s consumer finance litigation practice as a partner in Washington. Nunn arrives most recently from Davis Wright Tremaine. (Dechert)

  • Mayer Brown added M&A dealmaker Fritz Lark to its corporate & securities practice as a partner in New York, getting him from Bracewell. (MayerBrown.com)

  • Shipman & Goodwin said former Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and former Chief Deputy AG Perry Zinn Rowthorn joined the firm as partners in Hartford. (ShipmanGoodwin.com)

  • Pryor Cashman said art law attorneys Megan Noh and Paul Cossu joined its New York office as partners, arriving from a former boutique art law firm. Noh, who had previous in-house roles at auction houses Bonhams and Christie’s, helped found the recently launched Court of Arbitration for Art, Pryor Cashman said. (PryorCashman.com)

  • DLA Piper said former Greenberg Traurig associate Stefanie Wayco joined the firm’s litigation practice as a partner in Atlanta, where she will focus on representing financial services firms, broker-dealers, investment advisors, prime brokers and securities industry professionals. (DLAPiper.com)

  • DLA Piper also added Jones Day restructuring specialist Daniel Prieto as a partner in Dallas. (DLAPiper.com)

  • Blank Rome added veteran worklaw and corporate attorney Mara Levin as a partner in the firm’s labor & employment and commercial litigation groups in New York. She arrives from Herrick Feinstein, where she spent 30 years, most recently as partner and co-chair of the firm’s business litigation and employment practices. (BlankRome.com)

  • Reed Smith said commodities partner Kirsten Polyansky, known for leading complex commodity and inventory monetization transactions, joined the firm’s energy and natural resources group as a partner from Haynes and Boone, where she was co-chair of the global commodities team. Her colleague Jessica Cortez, who joins as counsel from Haynes and Boone, has been managing counsel at leading global energy companies. (ReedSmith.com)

  • Dykema added longtime Michigan Court of Appeals judge William B. Murphy, the court’s former chief judge, as a senior counsel in its business litigation practice group, based in Grand Rapids. (Dykema.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Booking.com’s Foley & Lardner lawyers won a federal court ruling that the company’s name is a valid trademark even if the word “booking” is a generic term. But the company is still on the hook for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office attorneys’ fees. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Southwest Airlines Co., advised by Reed Smith and Polsinelli, got a Texas federal court ruling dismissing a former employee’s claims rights that her firing in part for sending graphic anti-abortion messages to a union leader, violated her constitutional rights. However, her retaliation and religious discrimination allegations can go forward. (BLAW via BLB)

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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