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Wake Up Call: LGBTQ Group Says 7 Big Firms Join Litigation Push on Rights

Oct. 7, 2019, 11:46 AM
  • The Human Rights Campaign announced what it called an “alliance” with seven Big Law firms aimed at fighting “relentless attacks” on LGBTQ rights by the Trump administration and other anti-equality activists at home and abroad. The HRC said Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, BakerHostetler, Linklaters, Sidley Austin, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and Winston & Strawn will coordinate on strategic litigation that will shape state and federal law affecting LGBTQ rights. London-headquarted Clifford Chance will lead a global effort. (

  • The alliance aims to make the Human Rights Campaign the “de facto hub” for LGBT litigation, and to create a multi-year stream of cases that build on each other, according to a report. (Time)

  • The families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting hired former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., now a Washington-based partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, to represent them in their U.S. Supreme Court fight with gunmaker Remington Arms Co. LLC. (Connecticut Law Tribune)

  • Apple Inc. is getting sued in Delaware federal court by developer Blix Inc., advised by Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, and others, which accuses the iPhone maker of ripping off its patented messaging technology. (BLAW)

  • WilmerHale recruited former Washington and Massachusetts federal prosecutor George Varghese as a partner in the firm’s Boston office. Varghese, among other things, led prosecution of a pharmacy responsible for a nationwide deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. (BLAW via BLB)

  • White & Case got top M&A lawyer Matthew Hurlock from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as a partner in New York. Hurlock said he expects many of his private equity clients to make the move with him. (American Lawyer)

  • The legal sector shrank just under 1%, or 900 jobs, in September, even as the national jobs market expanded, according to new federal data. (American Lawyer)

New Supreme Court Term

  • The U.S. Supreme Court is due to hear several divisive cases in its new term opening today. One case is over President Donald Trump’s bid to end former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects 700,000 young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The DACA, as the program is known, shields applicants from deportation and lets them seek work permits. (BN via BLAW)

  • Lawyers for Civil Rights and plaintiffs firm Outten & Golden last week filed an amicus brief in the consolidated DACA cases before the Supreme Court on behalf of 14 prominent empirical scholars who study DACA and its effects. (

  • Appellate teams from Paul Weiss and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher have filed competing Supreme Court challenges to the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s single-director leadership structure. (National Law Journal)

  • Meanwhile, the CFPB itself may have picked the wrong case for the Supreme Court to address the issue. (BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A Supreme Court clerkship on a resume can yield job offers at prestigious firms and six-figure signing bonuses, but former clerks say the importance placed on the competitive one-year gig is sometimes overblown. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Davis Polk & Wardwell named litigation partner Martin Rogers as chair of the firm’s Asia practice. It said corporate partners Li He and Miranda So will be co-heads of the firm’s Hong Kong office. The firm didn’t say what’s next for corporate partner William Barron, who previously held both the roles. (

  • Sullivan & Cromwell is going to court to fight a $3.9 million property tax bill for the Wall Street building where it has its headquarters. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Tarter Krinsky & Drogin released the first three installments of its new podcast series, “Law Brief,” which is hosted by litigation partner Rich Schoenstein and features lawyers from the firm discussing how current issues in their practice areas affect businesses. (

  • Venture capital fund Mithril Capital Management, co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, is trading accusations with its former general counsel, Crystal McKellar. After Mithril sued her for allegedly trying to lure away its investors, McKellar, a former child actress known for her role on the “The Wonder Years,” called Mithril “swampy.” (Corporate Counsel)


  • Lowenstein Sandler and Arnold Porter Kaye Scholer advised private equity firm NexPhase Capital, LP, on its investment in Popcornopolis, LLC, which makes ready-to-eat popcorn. No terms were disclosed. (Yahoo Finance)

  • Appleby Global said its Appleby Mauritius office advised Azure Power Solar Energy Private Ltd, a subsidiary of India solar power producer Azure Power Global Limited, on a $350 million green bond issue to be listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. ( (Mercom India)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Winston & Strawn expanded its transactions practice in Europe with four top K&L Gates partners in Paris. Jean-Patrice Labautière, who advises on complex cross-border transactions; Nicola Di Giovanni, focused on M&A and private equity work; Mounir Letayf, who led K&L Gates’ banking and finance practice; Bertrand Dussert, who led its tax structuring of M&A and private equity operations, made the move. (

  • Also in Paris, Shearman & Sterling announced that it added a three-lawyer Mayer Brown corporate team led by partner Thomas Philippe, who specializes in private equity, LBO transactions, cross-border M&A, structured finance and real estate. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • A California winemaker drew the stiffest sentence yet of the parents punished in the U.S. college-admissions scandal, a five-month prison term for paying $300,000 to fix his daughter’s SAT scores and get her into the University of Southern California as a water polo recruit. (BN via BLAW)

  • Lyft Inc. asked Massachusetts federal court to compel individual arbitration in a proposed driver misclassification class action. Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C. represents Cunningham and the proposed class. Holland & Knight represents Lyft. (BLAW)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at