Business & Practice

Wake Up Call: Law Firms Eye “Financial Bonanza” From Relationship With Trump: Report

March 5, 2018, 12:22 PM

• Revolving doors between government and Big Law firms are nothing new, but the Trump administration is taking the cozy arrangement to new extremes, according to a new report by watchdog organization Public Citizen. The report says two firms, Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis, have a total 23 of their alumni in the administration between them, giving their corporate clients “unparalleled access and influence” in the administration. The firms and their “revolvers” will eventually reap a “financial bonanza” from the arrangement, an editor of the report said. ( BLB )

• President Donald Trump wants Peter C. Wright, managing counsel at the Dow Chemical Co., to head the Environmental Protection Agency office that manages the agency’s contaminated land and waste programs including Superfund, brownfields, emergency cleanup, and underground storage tanks, the White House said. ( Bloomberg Environment )

• A Washington federal appeals court looks set to weigh in on a controversial National Labor Relations Board decision on joint employment liability, now that the board voided its own recent decision on the issue following allegations that one of its voting members had a conflict. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Career staffers at the NLRB have launched a broad effort against a series of proposals made to revamp the agency by the board’s general counsel, Peter Robb, arguing that some of his proposals demonstrate “an interest in destroying the agency from the inside.” ( Bloomberg Law )

• The Washington Post was hit with an unfair labor complaint by the NLRB over its social media policy, adding fuel to an already smoldering fire as contentious negotiations continue between management and the paper’s union. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Ex-Akin Gump partner Jeffrey Wertkin said his stressful Big Law career pushed him down the wrong path, and he ended up stealing private whistleblower suits to sell them to companies named in the suits. Prosecutors don’t buy the former Department of Justice lawyer’s self-diagonosis, however, and point to “narcissism and greed’’ as his likely motivations. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

Lawyers and Law Firms

• Jury selection starts today in the murder trial of former Fisher & Phillips partner Claud “Tex” McIver. ( Law.com )

• American women who have in-house chief legal jobs can expect to earn about the same as their male colleagues, but globally men earn 26 percent more than women in equivalent in-house chief legal roles, according to a new report from Acritas. ( Lawyer’s Weekly )

• Big Law firms are among U.S. companies that have stepped into the policy vacuum left by the Trump administration on controversial social and political issues like climate change, guns, and gender, according to a report.( Bloomberg )

The latest Workflows includes moves and other news by labor and employment lawyers at firms including Fisher Phillips, Littler, and Winston & Strawn, among others. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

Legal Market

• Melania Trump probably deserved the “Einstein visa” she got in 2001, several immigration lawyers said. ( New York Times )

• With investors in Qualcomm Inc. due to vote March 6 on rival chipmaker Broadcom Ltd.’s $117 billionhostile bid for Qualcomm, the two companies are sparring on social media over each other’s patent licensing practices. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Meanwhile, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn and California Republican Representative Duncan Hunter called for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to formally investigate national security concerns linked to the mergerbefore it’s formally announced. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Training employees to avoid harassing behavior and to report cases of sexual harassment might seem like an obvious preventive measure, but critics say such training is usually an exercise in lawsuit prevention rather than harassment protection. They say employers need to take a different approach to avoid that perception. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Since Snap Inc.’s March 2017 public listing, at least five vice presidents and the general counsel have left the Los Angeles messaging company. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• Sun Life & Health Insurance Co. must pay $168,012 in attorneys’ fees to a plan participant who won a $188,936 award against the insurer because she was wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits, a federal magistrate judge ruled. ( Bloomberg Law )

• General Mills underpays employees who work overtime by illegally leaving out some compensation in calculating their regular pay rate, according to a new lawsuit. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Representatives for the Teamsters railroad division reached a tentative agreement with Amtrak over pay, benefits, and work rules as safety issues loom over the railroad industry. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Aly Raisman, a six-time Olympic medalist for gymnastics, is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for failing to stop abusive conduct by Larry Nassar, the former national team doctor now in prison for sexually abusing young athletes. ( Associated Press via Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb iniated a policy that bars DACA recipients--young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children but who were granted legal work status--from getting licensing for dozens of professions. ( IndyStar )

• Prudential Financial Inc. and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. are among firms under investigation by a Massachusetts regulator for allegedly failing to pay benefits. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Employees of photography company Lifetouch Inc. suffered “hundreds of millions of dollars” in damage by investing in the company’s employee stock ownership plan over the past several years, a new proposed class action alleges. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Massachusetts issued guidance to assist employers in complying with the state’s Equal Pay Act, which takes effect July 1 and will prohibit employers from requesting salary history in hiring.( Bloomberg Law )

• Speeding up decisions on challenges to workplace safety citations is a focus of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, panel members are telling attorneys contesting the citations. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Immigration raids and high-profile detentions are scaring away California’s undocumented migrant laborers, and by consequence menacing the state’s retailers, restaurants and the Central Valley’s $47 billion agricultural industry, labor representatives said. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A case before the U.S. Supreme Court could bring sports betting into the open, complete with regulation and taxation. Right now the activity is rampant, but mostly illegal. ( Bloomberg )

• Casino mogul Steve Wynn can’t drop a court fight with his ex-wife Elaine that’s blocking both of them from selling their shares in Wynn Resorts Ltd., a judge said. ( Bloomberg )


• A pregnant first-year student at the UC Irvine School of Law was able to “attend” class and answer questions, even though she was confined to bedrest, thanks to UC Irvine’s innovative four-foot-tall robot. ( Above The Law )

• Code-hosting web site GitHub was hit by a giant distributed denial of service attack. ( Security Affairs )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor/Casey Sullivan.

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