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Wake Up Call: Microsoft Splits With Covington on Lobbying Work

June 2, 2022, 12:43 PM

In today’s column, a New York federal judge awarded $2.6 million in attorney fees to a Boies Schiller Flexner client in an international arbitration case; Michigan’s attorney general said she expects criminal charges to result from her office’s investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election; and two top New York real estate firms merged.

  • Leading off, Microsoft Corp. has ended a 23-year lobbying relationship with Covington & Burling in which the law firm has taken in over $10 million in fees. The separation came soon after Muftiah McCartin, who as co-chair of Covington’s public policy practice led work on the Microsoft account, announced she’s joining the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as vice president for government and corporate relations, a report says. (Politico)
  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she expects criminal charges to result from her office’s investigations into efforts by supporters of former President Donald Trump to reverse the outcome of the November 2020 election. (The Detroit News) Washington’s attorney general announced that the state’s top court has ordered a group and its attorney to pay $28,000 in sanctions for a frivolous legal challenge to the 2020 election (ATG.Wa.gov)
  • A Boies Schiller Flexner client won over $2.6 million in interest, charges, and attorney fees from a Japanese medical equipment manufacturing company that had refused to pay an international arbitration award. (Daily Business Review)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Two of New York’s biggest real estate law firms are merging to create a residential legal practice they claim will be the city’s largest. (Real Deal)
  • Winston & Strawn promoted intellectual property partner Kelly Hunsaker to office managing partner of its Silicon Valley office. She replaces former Winston partner Kathi Vidal, who was recently sworn in as director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (PR Newswire)
  • A Las Vegas attorney was arrested and faces lewdness charges for allegedly exchanging legal services for sex and sexually harassing employees. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Paul Hastings said it poached a team of four financial regulatory-investigations-litigation partners from Buckley. Matthew Previn is based in New York, while Jonice Gray Tucker, Aaron Mahler and Kari Hall are in Washington; DLA Piper snagged longtime Blank Rome partner Grant Buerstetta as a securities partner in New York City. He was co-chair of Blank Rome’s finance, restructuring and bankruptcy practice group. (DLAPiper.com)
  • Milbank grabbed veteran renewable energy attorney Michael Klaus from Hunton Andrews Kurth in Los Angeles. He joins Milbank as a partner; Winston & Strawn lost Hong Kong-based litigation partner Christy Leung to a Chinese corporate law firm, Eric Chow & Co; Morris, Manning & Martin brought in real estate attorney Thomas Bartolozzi as a partner in Atlanta. He arrives from Taylor English Duma, where he was chair of the leisure and hospitality department; Nixon Peabody picked up commercial real estate transactions veteran Sean Garahan as counsel in New York. (NixonPeabody.com)
  • Polsinelli brought in government relations pro Shelagh Foster as senior health policy adviser in Washington. She arrives after close to 19 years at the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Faegre Drinker hired Big Law human resources veteran Lesley Ficarri as chief people officer, based in New York. (FaegreDrinker.com)
  • PayPal chief commercial and intellectual property counsel Benjamin Adams announced on LinkedIn that he’s joining Western Union as chief legal officer; The New York Times hired renewable energy in-house veteran Michael Brown as vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant secretary. A former Mintz Levin corporate associate, Brown was in-house at Clearway Energy, Inc. and the Clean Air Council and recently was deputy general counsel and corporate secretary at Cipher Mining, a Bitcoin specialist; Chicago-based wireless company UScellular hired former AT&T Mexico general counsel and vice president Adriana Rios Welton as head of legal and government affairs. She’s a former Cleary Gottlieb associate; airport-concessions company Fraport USA hired former Nixon Peabody corporate transactions attorney Nia Newton as chief legal officer. She was recently corporate counsel at highway and airport food-service company HMSHost. (Fraport-USA.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: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com