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Wake Up Call: Law Firm Leasing Rebounds, Still Below Pre-Covid

Feb. 16, 2022, 1:53 PM

In today’s column, Cooley matched market scales for associate bonuses and pay; four firms advised on Intel’s $5.4 billion deal for an Israeli microchip maker; Arent Fox’s March 1 merger with Schiff Hardin will create a firm that will advise on the municipal bond market.

  • Leading off, office leasing in the U.S. legal sector is recovering from lows in 2021’s second quarter but has not yet returned to pre-pandemic norms, according to a report from Savills. (Savills.US)
  • Cooley announced Cravath/Davis Polk-scale year end and special bonuses for associates and it officially matched the Milbank salary scale, which runs from $215,000 to $385,000 depending on year of seniority. (Above The Law) Meanwhile, New York-based boutique Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors announced it will pay associates $235,000, including first-year associates. (Above The Law)
  • As associate compensation soars in a tight talent market, middle market firms are facing tough choices. (American Lawyer) Associates said senior partners and in-house leaders complaining about soaring compensation for junior talent are being hypocritical. (Law.com International)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Skadden Arps and Israeli firm Yigal Arnon & Co. are advising Intel Corp. on its deal to acquire Israel-based Tower Semiconductor Ltd. for $5.4 billion. Latham & Watkins and Fischer are advising Tower, according to a statement. (Intel.com)
  • Arent Fox and Schiff Hardin’s March 1 merger, will combine practices that serve “complementary” parts of the municipal bond business. The new firm ArentFox Schiff will have a public finance practice with professionals in Washington, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco and be able to handle both buy-side and sell-side concerns for municipal bond transactions, this report says. (The Bond Buyer)
  • Norton Rose Fulbright is telling its 46-year-old Hong Kong office to hire more Mandarin speaking staff and lawyers to serve the office’s growing number of Chinese mainland clients. The shift away from favoring expat lawyers and staff for Hong Kong work comes as Beijing increases its control over the city. (Financial Times)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Foley & Lardner said it “significantly” expanded its four-month old Salt Lake City office and business litigation and dispute resolution practice group, adding partners Ken Black, Monica Call, David Jordan, and David Mortensen, and senior counsel Jordan Bledsoe and Wesley Harward. They all arrive from Stoel Rives; Jones Day grabbed King & Spalding business and tort litigators Scott Edson and Jason Keehfus as partners in Atlanta. (JonesDay.com)
  • DLA Piper hired two white collar partners from Vinson & Elkins in San Francisco. They include former federal prosecutor Matthew Jacobs, who was managing partner of V&E’s San Francisco office and co-head of its white collar group. He’ll lead DLA’s Northern California litigation practice and is joined by investigations lawyer Jessica Heim, who advises on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, antitrust offenses, and other high stakes matters; DLA Piper also got back longtime corporate partner Gregory Hall as a partner in Phoenix. He returns from Faegre Drinker, which he joined in 2020 after over 12 years at DLA. (DLAPiper.com)
  • Private equity finance partner Stephanie Teicher left Skadden Arps after 25 years to join Latham & Watkins as a partner in New York; Norton Rose Fulbright added corporate and M&A partner John Bakht in Houston. He’s been an in-house leader at Baker Hughes and other industrial companies and joins from Gray Reed; health care transactional and regulatory lawyer Kristen Woodrum joined McGuireWoods as a partner in Atlanta. She arrives from BakerHostetler; McGuireWoods also got Sheppard Mullin private equity/M&A deal partner Katie Hull in Dallas; Locke Lord recruited former Highgate Hotels deputy general counsel Justin Mapes as a partner Dallas, where he’ll advise on the real estate and hospitality sectors. (LockeLord.com)
  • Water and wastewater utility company American Water Works Company, Inc. is bringing in veteran energy and transportation sector in-house leader James Gallegos as executive vice president and general counsel effective April 1. Gallegos, who replaces the retired Mike Sgro, is a former federal prosecutor and was most recently executive and top lawyer at Alliant Energy Corporation. (BusinessWire) Diabetes care technology company Dexcom hired DLA Piper partner Mike Brown as executive vice president and chief legal officer. (LinkedIn)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com