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Wake Up Call: Latham Rides Demand to $4.33 Billion in Revenues

March 17, 2021, 12:55 PM

In today’s column, a Covid outbreak in Hong Kong is forcing several foreign banks and law firms to close offices for deep cleaning; a Sidley Austin national security partner is President Biden’s pick for top lawyer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the White House said; a midsize New York law firm has advised on more SPAC IPOs than its Big Law rivals have.

  • Leading off, Latham & Watkins thrived during the pandemic in 2020, expanding its gross revenues by 15% to about $4.33 billion. Its profits per equity partner soared 19.6% to $4.52 million. Latham said its capital markets, banking, and restructuring practices had “spectacular” years, while its technology, life sciences, energy, and financial services practices were strong. (American Lawyer) Latham was the second-biggest U.S. firm by revenue for 2019 behind Kirkland & Ellis, which has not yet reported its 2020 results. (Financial Times)
  • The White House announced that President Joe Biden intends to name Sidley & Austin national security partner Christopher Fonzone to be general counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Fonzone was, from 2013 to 2017, a deputy assistant and deputy counsel to President Barrack Obama, and legal adviser to the National Security Council. (WhiteHouse.gov)
  • Foreign law firms in Hong Kong were hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 traced to a gym favored by the city’s expat community, according to reports. Shearman & Sterling and Ashurst had to close their offices for deep cleaning after both firms had a staff member test positive for the virus. Herbert Smith Freehills and Allen & Overy also had staff members test positive and had to shut their Hong Kong offices. Clifford Chance and King & Wood Mallesons asked staff to work remote, as a precaution. (Efinancialcareers.com) (Law.com International)
  • New York law firm Ellenoff Grossman Schole & Cyruli has advised on 71 special purpose acquisition corporation IPOs worth a total $17.6 billion so far this year. Kirkland & Ellis has advised on 57 SPAC IPOs, worth $19 billion, while Skadden, Arps has advised on 48, worth $15.2 billion, according to a report based on data from Refinitiv Deals Intelligence. (Global Legal Post)
  • U.K.-founded international firm Allen & Overy expects its lawyers and staff to be able to work remotely an average of 40% of their work hours in the future, a report says. Meanwhile, Florida law firms are itching to get back into their offices, in particular to be able to mentor associates in person. (Daily Business Review)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, now a partner at Munger, Tolles, and Olson, and Georgetown Law professor Cliff Sloan, are representing the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was killed a year ago by Louisville police in a no-knock raid on her apartment. The boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, contends in a lawsuit that police violated his and Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights. (Washingtonian) (WaPo)
  • Mayer Brown said it advised on the formation of a foundation that has committed $100 million in funds toward a $1 billion goal to benefit the descendants of enslaved people historically owned and sold by Jesuits. The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation is a partnership between the Jesuit Conference of U.S. and Canada and an association of descendants of 272 enslaved men, women and children who were sold by the Jesuit owners of Georgetown University to plantation owners in Louisiana in 1838. (ABCNews.com)
  • Artificial-intelligence powered litigation funder Legalist said via emailed press release that it has raised $50 million for its first bankruptcy-related strategy, as the San Francisco-based startup expands into debtor-in-possession financing to small businesses in bankruptcy because of Covid-related distress. (Legalist.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • In Washington, the Justice Department hired Obama Foundation and Obama family office general counsel Addar Levi as deputy general counsel. Levi, a Covington & Burling associate early in her career, was a deputy associate counsel in the Obama White House. The Obama Foundation named veteran in-house leader and former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett associate Shawn Ray White to replace Levi as its general counsel. She was most recently general counsel at The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in Los Angeles. (National Law Journal)
  • Akin Gump recruited Hogan Lovells’ government contracts practice head Michael Vernick as a partner in Washington, D.C., where he’ll lead the firm’s government contracts practice; also in Washington, Duane Morris added trial partner Brian H. Pandya, who was most recently deputy associate attorney general in the DOJ, where he “oversaw” the antitrust division and civil division and led DOJ initiatives related to privacy, intellectual property, emerging technologies, digital trade and national security. Before joining the DOJ in February 2019, Pandya spent over 13 years at Wiley Rein, including six as a partner. (DuaneMorris.com)

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; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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