Bloomberg Law
Jan. 28, 2020, 1:14 PM

Wake Up Call: Major Law Firms in China Act to Help Fight Virus’ Spread

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

In today’s column, Latham & Watkins entered the associates’ bonus race a little late. A litigation boutique formed by ex-McKool Smith partners won a $236 million patent verdict against two big rivals in its first trial; and major firms advised on deals aimed at getting regulators’ okay for AbbVie Inc.’s $63 billion acquisition of Allergan Plc.

  • Leading off, as governments and international health organizations rushed yesterday to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over 100 people in China, Big Law firms were were among multinational companies taking action to protect their employees in the country. American Lawyer reported that Baker McKenzie is asking employees in several Chinese cities to work at home; Quinn Emanuel and Squire Patton Boggs are paying for employees to take taxis instead of public transit; and other firms said the government’s extension of the lunar New Year holiday has allowed employees to stay home. (American Lawyer)

  • Latham & Watkins, late to the table with its year-end bonuses for 2019, announced a scale that, for most associates, beats the one set late last year by Milbank and followed by most other big firms. The payments start at a 1900-hour billing minimum. (

  • Major firms advised on two pharmaceutical divestitures this week aimed at getting antitrust regulators’ approval for AbbVie Inc.’s $63 billion acquisition of Allergan Plc. In the first one, Mayer Brown client Nestle acquired Zenpep, a medication for people who can’t digest food properly, from Allergan. The transaction also includes another Allergan pancreatic enzyme preparation. (BN via BLAW)

  • In the second deal, Covington advised AstraZeneca on its purchase of Brazikumab, a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease that Allergan was developing, including global development and commercial rights. (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology Deals)

  • Reichman Jorgensen, a 22-lawyer boutique formed in late 2018 by two ex-McKool Smith partners, won a $236 million patent infringement verdict for Canadian client Densify in a fight with virtualization industry giant VMWare and Morrison & Foerster. The case, the boutique’s first trial, was in Delaware federal court. (Delaware Law Weekly)

  • Axinn’s San Francisco office brought together a team of three experienced intellectual property lawyers who used to work together at White & Case. Trial lawyer Jeannine Sano joins as a partner directly from White & Case, where she’d been nine years. Partner Eric Krause, who was an engineer at Advanced Micro Devices, arrives most recently from Fenwick & West; Pan Lee, a former Lockheed Martin electrical engineer, will be joining as counsel, also from Fenwick & West, on Feb. 10. (

  • As Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial continues, the Post took a look at who is paying the president’s legal bills. (WaPo)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Sidley Austin’s investments in private equity laterals in the 2010s are paying off. (BLAW)

  • Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath isn’t sitting on its hands ahead of its Feb. 1 merger with midwestern firm Faegre Baker Daniels to create a 1,300-plus lawyer firm. Drinker Biddle added a four-partner intellectual property team in Denver, getting Timothy Scull, Kirstin Stoll-DeBell, Andrew Pouzeshi, and Kathleen Ott, from Merchant & Gould. (

  • Dechert added employee benefits and executive compensation specialist Howard Klein as a partner in New York. According to his LinkedIn, Klein arrives most recently from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he was a partner. (

  • Atrium Law, a venture capital-backed hybrid firm, named two new partners just two weeks after announcing it would let go of some lawyers and shift its focus beyond legal services. (BLAW)

  • Philadelphia-based Fox Rothschild expanded its 15-month-old Atlanta office by acquiring local boutique Kaufman Forman and its four lawyers. (

  • Former American Express vice president and senior counsel Charlita Cardwell died Jan. 16 at age 46. (New York Law Journal)


  • Four Big Law firms advised on two Houston-based helicopter companies’ combination to form a bigger business with estimated revenues of $1.5 billion, focused on providing transport for the offshore oil and gas drilling sector. Kirkland & Ellis, Baker Botts, and Bracewell advised transportation provider Bristow Group Inc. on the merger, while Milbank advised helicopter transportation company Era Group Inc.. ( (Houston Chronicle)

  • Locke Lord advised WellCare Health Plans Inc. as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel, as the Tampa-based company agreed to be acquired by Centene Corp. in a $17 billion health care merger. Kirkland & Ellis also advised WellCare, while Skadden Arps advised Centene. (HME News)

  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr advised Massachusetts medical pot business Revolutionary Clinics on its successful lawsuit against the Cambridge City Council’s two-year moratorium on the company’s plan to open a retail pot shop. (Boston Herald)

  • Dechert advised Quest Diagnostics on its recent deal to acquire medical laboratory assets of Memorial Hermann Health System, a large Texas not-for-profit health system. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which the companies said will expand access to innovative medical lab services in the state. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Eversheds Sutherland added education lawyer Stanley Freeman in Washington as a partner. He arrives with over 25 years’ experience, most recently as a partner at Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville. (

  • BakerHostetler added international tax lawyer Cynthia Brittain as a partner in Costa Mesa, California, on its private wealth team. She joins from Katten Muchin. (

  • Chicago-based commercial law firm Goldberg Kohn promoted five attorneys (two women) to principal. It also announced seven associate hires. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Convicted “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was sued by federal officials and the state of New York for allegedly violating antitrust law when he hiked the price of a crucial drug by 4,000% overnight in 2015. (BN via BLAW)

  • McKool Smith advised Quarterhill Inc.’s WiLan, which recently won a San Diego jury verdict ordering Apple Inc., represented by DLA Piper, to pay $85 million for infringing WiLan patents related to wireless communications. (


  • White & Case is going to use LawGeex for client contract review. Until now LawGeex has mainly been used by corporate legal offices (eBay, Office Depot), not law firms. (Artificial Lawyer)

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