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Wake Up Call: Listed U.K. Law Firms Rebound From Covid Hit

April 19, 2021, 12:28 PM

In today’s column, Covington partner Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general, bills at $2,295 per hour, putting him among Big Law’s highest price counsel, a report says; King & Spalding matched the Davis Polk scale for associate bonuses but its memo doesn’t mention counsel; the lawyer who was a last-minute Trump administration appointment to be NSA general counsel has quit after getting sidelined by President Biden.

  • Leading off, listed U.K. law firms, whose share prices were hit hard in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, have been making a comeback on the market, possibly reviving interest in legal-sector initial public offerings, according to a report. (Law Society Gazette)
  • Former Trump White House lawyer Michael Ellis, who was a controversial last-minute appointment to head the National Security Agency’s legal department, quit on Friday, according to reports. Shortly after President Biden took office, he put Ellis on administrative leave from the job as top lawyer at the most technically advanced U.S. spy agency. (WaPo)
  • Atlanta-based King & Spalding matched the Davis Polk standard for associate special bonuses, which pays up to $64,000 depending on year of seniority. The firm, which requires 1,950 billable hours to get the full bonus amount, also said it’s implementing a unified compensation structure for all U.S. associates, so associates in non-major market offices may get raises. The firm’s memo doesn’t mention bonuses for counsel. (Above the Law)
  • As he and his family recover from Covid-19 infections, a solo New Jersey immigration law attorney is rethinking his practice, cutting his complex case load and raising his rates. (
  • Insurance giant Allianz is offering free legal advice via telephone to client U.K. businesses returning to in-person work after Covid-19 lockdowns. (Insurance Business UK)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Covington & Burling partner Eric Holder, who was U.S. attorney general in the Obama administration, bills at $2,295 per hour, according to a report that cites a contract the firm signed with a public university to conduct an internal investigation. (National Law Journal)
  • A U.K. employment tribunal rejected an attempt by bank group UBS to claim legal privilege over findings of an independent probe into its handing of an employee’s rape allegations, although the bank had hired a Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner to do the probe. (Financial Times)
  • A former New York advice columnist who says Trump defamed her when he denied raping her two decades ago urged a federal appeals court to let her suit go forward. (Bloomberg News)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • French luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton made two big promotions in its in-house legal department, promoting deputy chief legal officer Caroline Bergeron Plantefève to group general counsel. Plantefève will report to Jérôme Sibille, who was promoted to group executive vice president for administration, according to a report. ( International)
  • DLA Piper added Skadden Arps financial services counsel Austin Brown as a partner in Washington; Vedder Price brought on former SEC assistant chief litigation counsel Matthew A. Rossi as a shareholder in its government investigations and white collar defense group in Washington. He arrives from Mayer Brown, where he was a litigation partner and co-head of the securities litigation and enforcement practice group. (

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at