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Wake Up Call: Lawyers Reject Three Days in Office, Survey Finds

May 6, 2022, 12:53 PM

In today’s column, despite his firm’s recent “misfires,” legendary litigator David Boies is still leading big cases at age 81; a recently confirmed CFTC commissioner hired a WilmerHale lawyer as her chief counsel; Boston College Law School hired a Cornell Law professor as its next dean.

  • Leading off, Big Law firms whose return-to-office plans require attorneys to be in office at least three days a week may have trouble implementing them, a recent survey suggests. American Lawyer reports that “a strong majority” of the 350 attorneys responding to its survey said they don’t want to be obligated to work in-office that often. Many said they’ll quit if they don’t get the flexibility they want. (American Lawyer)
  • Boies Schiller Flexner co-founder David Boies in a recent interview acknowledged his firm has had “some misfires” as it transitions to a new leadership. But at age 81, Boies is still leading major litigation. He is serving as co-lead counsel in two pending class actions against Alphabet Inc’s Google with billions of dollars on the line. (Reuters)
  • Goodwin Procter said it’s advising shipping logistics startup Deliverr on its approximately $2.1 billion deal to get acquired by Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc.; Cleary Gottlieb said it advised Google on its acquisition of Raxium, Inc., which makes MicroLED displays. Google reportedly wants to use the displays in augmented reality headsets it’s developing. (ClearyGottlieb.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that recently confirmed CFTC commissioner Kristin Johnson hired former WilmerHale special counsel Bruce Fekrat as chief counsel. Johnson, a former law professor and associate dean, was a Simpson Thacher attorney and JPMorgan Chase & Co executive and associate general counsel. Fekrat, who was a special counsel at the commission from 2003 to 2011, was recently executive director and associate general counsel at financial derivatives exchange CME Group. (CFTC.gov)
  • A former Chicago-based paralegal for Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr pleaded not guilty to charges she embezzled $600,000 from the firm. (Reuters)
  • A federal judge ruled that a law firm’s insurers don’t have to pay legal defense fees of a former partner facing criminal fraud charges. (Law.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Locke Lord recruited veteran restructuring attorney David Kupetz as a partner in Los Angeles; Alston & Bird expanded its restructuring practice, getting partner Leah Fiorenza McNeill from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in Atlanta and counsel Stephen Blank from King & Spalding in New York; Brown Rudnick added litigation & arbitration partner Aaron Lang in New York. He was at Cadwalader as special counsel. (BrownRudnick.com)
  • Norton Rose Fulbright said Baker Botts veteran oil and gas partner Craig Vogelsang returned to the firm as a partner and leader of the firm’s oil and gas practice. He was earlier a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski, which merged with Norton Rose in 2013. Winston & Strawn partner Alex Niebruegge, a former Fulbright & Jaworski associate, returned as oil and gas senior counsel; Winston & Strawn’s former Houston office managing partner, energy transaction lawyer Douglas Atnipp, joined Austin, Texas-founded firm Egan Nelson as a partner and head of its new Houston office. (Houston Business Journal)
  • Womble Bond Dickinson hired a former in-house lawyer at Enron Europe and Rolls Royce, Stephen Hands, as senior counsel in Leeds, England. He was recently head of legal at Sembcorp Energy UK; Crayhill Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm, hired Akin Gump commercial real estate counsel Daniel Shlomi as general counsel; the Centre for Information Policy Leadership, a privacy and data policy think tank co-founded by Hunton Andrews Kurth, hired Cleary Gottlieb senior attorney and e-discovery specialist Natascha Gerlach as director of EU privacy and data policy, based in Brussels. (HuntonAK.com)

Legal Education

  • Law school deans are criticizing the D.C. Court of Appeals’ announcement that seating for the July 2022 Uniform Bar Exam will be limited to 1,100, with students from D.C.-area law schools to get priority. (Law.com) Boston College Law School said Cornell University Law School professor Odette Lienau will start as its new dean in January 2023. (BC Law)

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