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Wake Up Call: #MeToo Lawyer to Defend Goldman in Sex Scandal

Nov. 4, 2020, 1:36 PM

In today’s column, with the presidential election too close to call, both candidates said their lawyers are standing by and ready to rumble; Boies Schiller denied rumors that it’s having cash-flow problems; Littler added a 39-lawyer Spanish firm to its global network.

  • Leading off, as Goldman Sachs fights a sexual harassment cover-up scandal, it has turned to a prominent #MeToo lawyer known for representing a woman who accused President Trump of rape. Kaplan Hecker & Fink partner Roberta Kaplan, co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, has signed up to defend the investment bank’s legal department against a former in-house attorney’s allegations that she was fired after she spoke up about the sexual harassment of another female lawyer in the department. (Corporate Counsel)
  • The Trump-Biden presidential election fight could be too close to call for days, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from declaring victory and calling for the Supreme Court to intervene. (Bloomberg News via BLAW) Meanwhile, lawyers for Trump and for Biden are ready to rumble. (Bloomberg News via BLAW) (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Big Law attorneys participating in the election protection program run by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said pandemic-related concerns magnified routine problems typically faced by a polling place, such as voting equipment breakdowns, registration confusion, and others. Over 150 law firms are participating in the program to protect this year’s elections. (American Lawyer)
  • In California, gig economy giants including Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and DoorDash Inc. are winning their effort to pass a controversial ballot measure, Proposition 22, that will exempt them and other app-based companies from a state law requiring them to classify most of their workers as employees. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • California law firms billed for over $2.1 million working on the “Yes on 22” campaign. (The Recorder)
  • Recruiters say so-called family offices, the wealth managers of the world’s richest families, have been hiring legal and tax specialists in anticipation of new tax rules under a Biden administration. (Business Insider)
  • If elected, Joe Biden, who graduated Syracuse University College of Law, would be the first lawyer-president in a century who didn’t go to a so-called T-14 school. President Trump is not a lawyer. (Law.com)

Law in Time of Covid

  • Recent lateral moves by Latham & Watkins, and its decision to offer fall Covid-appreciation bonuses to associates, illustrate how the talent war continues in Big Law amidst the pandemic. (American Lawyer)
  • Law firms say they are preparing for a big increase in business interruption lawsuits, as owners sue their insurers for refusing claims stemming from Covid-19. (Daily Business Review)
  • The pandemic has disproven some longstanding assumptions about how law firms should operate. (Law.com)
  • A Covid-era, in-person jury trial in Alabama settled for a confidential amount minutes before the jury reached a $12 million verdict in the personal injury case, lawyers said. (Law.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Boies Schiller Flexner said suggestions that cash-flow problems caused delays in pay raises for some of its associates are “absurd and flat-out wrong.” The firm said the delay, caused by longer-than-expected processing of a new market-rate pay structure, affected about 10 associates. Boies has lost dozens of partners this year amidst complaints about its compensation system and its representation of controversial figures. (ABA Journal) (Above the Law)
  • Management-side worklaw firm Littler said it added Spanish labor and employment firm Abdón Pedrajas, with 39 attorneys (nine partners) in Madrid and Barcelona, to its global network of firms. After its expansions into Poland and Austria earlier this year, Littler’s latest addition gives its network firms in 10 European countries, including in Western Europe’s five largest economies. Littler now has more than 1,500 attorneys across 23 countries. (Littler.com)
  • Ropes & Gray and LBGTQ civil rights advocacy Lambda Legal are representing plaintiffs in their California federal lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s executive order banning federal contractors and grantees from conducting diversity and inclusion training. (RopesGray.com) (BLAW)
  • DOJ staff groups promoting diversity at the Justice Department want the department to narrow its interpretation of the order, which they say continues to force cancellation of their diversity events. (National Law Journal)
  • A Pennsylvania county judge was charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • Trial lawyer H. Jesse Arnelle, a Black former college sports star who helped launch one of the first minority-owned corporate law firms in the United States, died in San Francisco at age 86. (NYT)

Pro Bono

  • Jenner & Block litigation partner Andrew Vail agreed to serve pro bono as charity network United Way of Metro Chicago’s first-ever general counsel. (Jenner.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Baker McKenzie’s Warsaw, Poland, office got antitrust partner Marcin Trepka, who arrives from DWF with three team members. Trepka previously led the competition and antitrust team at K&L Gates’ Warsaw office, which last year became DWF Poland. (BakerMckenzie.com)
  • Levenfeld Pearlstein said bankruptcy attorney Lisa Vandesteeg, who spent close to seven years at the firm earlier in her career, has returned as a partner in Chicago, leaving the firm she jumped to in 2015. At that firm, Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Helsinger LLP, Vandesteeg was a partner and member of the executive committee. (LPLegal.com)
  • New York-based investment bank PJT Partners Inc. promoted deputy general counsel David Travin to take over as its top lawyer, effective Jan. 1, 2021, from James W. Cuminale, who is retiring. According to his LinkedIn, Travin, a former executive and in-house counsel at UBS Investment Bank and Deutsche Bank, started his legal career at Greenberg Traurig. (Businesswire.com)

Technology

  • The pandemic has fueled an upturn in firms adopting so-called learning management systems, platforms that allow centralizing and organizing training materials, but for many firms the systems are not a must-have, a report says. (Legatech News)

Legal Education

  • DLA Piper said it launched a portal for clients to get “thought leaders’” views and insights on social, environmental, governance and workplace diversity issues they are are facing, as well as the related legal landscape. (DLAPiper.com)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com