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Wake Up Call: Latham Sets Revenue Record at $2.8B

Feb. 24, 2017, 1:29 PM

• Latham & Watkins earned the most revenue ever by a law firm in a single year in 2016 and looks likely to remain the world’s largest law firm by revenue. Revenue at the L.A.-founded firm rose 6.5 percent, to a record $2.823 billion, its seventh-straight yearly gain. Profits per partner rose 5.3 percent, to $3.06 million. ( Am Law Daily )

• Citigroup Inc. is establishing a global regulatory affairs team in Washington, D.C., as Wall Street firms prepare for the possibility of widespread changes to financial rules under the Trump administration, on the heels of similar moves by rivals like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( Bloomberg )

• Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general hired by Uber Technologies Inc. to investigate sexual harassment claims, vowed to stake his reputation on a complete and independent review of how the company handled the situation. ( Bloomberg ) Holder commented after two Uber investors said they were “disappointed” and “frustrated” in the company’s response to the allegations, calling Holder and his law firm Covington & Burling “insiders” with close ties to Uber. ( Medium )

• Adding to a tough week for Uber, Waymo, the self-driving car business of Google parent Alphabet, is suing its rival for stealing trade secrets in development of autonomous cars. ( Bloomberg ) In 2013, Anthony Levandowski was the star of Google’s self-driving car project. Less than four years later, he is at Uber and is Google’s enemy number one. ( Bloomberg )

• A group of U.S. law professors has filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The professors, who specialize in legal ethics, allege that Conway, admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1995 after graduating from George Washington University Law School, violated government ethics rules with “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” ( Washington Post )

• After Yahoo Inc.'s disclosure of its massive data breach, Verizon Inc. extracted a $350 million price cut for its acquisition of the internet company. That case illustrates that data privacy and cyber-security lawyers need to be at the table during M&A negotiations, attorneys said. ( BLB ) Verizon’s general counsel and executive vice president of public policy, Craig Silliman, cites lessons learned from the deal. ( Corporate Counsel )

Legal Business

• The Trump administration is giving signs of a shift away from financial regulatory enforcement, in particular by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ( New York Times DealBook ) The administration is rattling not only the C.F.P.B. and its lawyers but it’s also clouding the outlook for business and hiring at law firm practice groups that grew out of the agency’s enforcement actions and investigations. ( National Law Journal )

• Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is suing its landlord in Washington, D.C., law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, in a dispute over Simpson Thacher’s move to sublease a part of the same building to a new tenant, arbitration company JAMS Inc. ( National Law Journal )

• Polsinelli’s revenue rose 7.1 percent, to $439 million, in 2016, but profits per equity partner shrank 4.1 percent to $695,000, after the Kansas City-based firm’s mass hire of 44 lawyers from IP boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg earlier in the year. ( Am Law Daily )

• Covington & Burling rebounded from an off 2015, as its gross revenue leapt 13 percent, to $838.5 million, in 2016 and profits per partner bounded 16 percent, reaching $1.475 million, even with the addition of six equity partners. ( National Law Journal )

• King & Wood Mallesons’ collapse in Europe has created an opening for firms hungry for a bigger share of the growing investment in London real estate. ( The Lawyer )

Legal Market

• Sanford “Sandy” Wadler, ex-general counsel at Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., has won another $3.5 million in attorney fees and costs on top of the $11 million he already scored in his whistle-blower suit against his former company. ( The Recorder )

• JAMS is fighting allegations that it puffed up the credentials of one of its adjudicators to bring in more business for its alternative dispute resolution services. ( The Recorder )

• A lot of Big Law attorneys have to balance work and life, but Jesse Miller, equity partner at Reed Smith, takes that to another level. A reservist and Army National guardsman for over 25 years, Miller was just selected to command over 1,000 troops in the California Army National Guard for Brigade Command of the 115th Regional Support Group. ( BLB )

• Martin Shkreli’s “tornado of chaos” has his ex-lawyer, Evan Greebel, running for cover from the former pharmaceutical executive, most recently begging a judge to try him separately on a securities-fraud charge. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• A special report on the “future of regulation.” ( Financial Times )

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• Before closing his 30-year career as a U.S. government lawyer last week, Eric Nagle delivered parting advice to his colleagues now working for Donald Trump: “You serve the president, but you don’t serve his every whim.” ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• One of the Trump administration’s contenders for a top antitrust job is a lobbyist who’s worked for health insurer Anthem Inc. on its proposed megamerger with Cigna Corp., a deal that regulators sued to block under former President Barack Obama last year. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• In a public appearance Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that the United States is losing sight of core values on immigration, diversity and free speech that have made it “great.” She also had a few, just a few, nice words to say about Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. ( Bloomberg )

Laterals and Moves

• London-based Olswang said it will shutter offices in Madrid, Brussels and Paris ahead of its three-way merger with CMS Cameron McKenna and Nabarro. ( The Lawyer )

Technology

• Non-tech “soft skills” including communication, flexible thinking and teamwork are essential to getting staff to adopt legal technology that improves workflows. ( Legaltech News )

• Tech companies ranging from Apple to Lyft issued statements criticizing Trump’s order rescinding Obama administration protections for transgender students. ( Bloomberg )

• Efforts by China and other countries to “stamp out” bitcoin will not succeed and only serve only to remind users why a decentralized currency needs to exist in the first place. ( Bloomberg View )

• A Google project called Jigsaw is making publicly available its machine-learning tool for fighting online harassment. ( Wired )

• Content-delivery network Cloudflare said a major bug had leaked sensitive customer data including passwords, cookies and authentication cookies. ( TechCrunch )

• Taiwan’s war against Uber. ( Bloomberg View )

Legal Education

• Three Stanford University law professors are demanding the school rehire an outside lawyer it dismissed after she publicly criticized its procedure for resolving sexual assault complaints. The school’s student senate adopted a resolution echoing the demand. ( The Recorder )

Miscellaneous

• Chart: in the last half century, American’s views about legalizing marijuana have evolved dramatically. ( Quartz )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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