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Wake Up Call: More Big Firms Post 2020 Revenue, Profit Gains

Feb. 17, 2021, 2:22 PM

In today’s column, White & Case, Cooley, and Holland & Knight are the latest Big Law firms to post big profits despite the pandemic; a new legal tech company with private equity backing will be supporting and implementing IBM e-discovery and other software; former President Trump is no longer getting legal advise from Rudy Giuliani, a report says.

  • Leading off, early results show Big Law firms posting big profit gains and revenue growth in 2020, while also growing their non-equity partner roster. (American Lawyer)
  • The latest example is White & Case, which said strong performances by its capital markets, debt finance and financial restructuring practices and a motivated workforce allowed it to grow revenues 9.8% to $2.39 billion in 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm’s profits per partner surged 16.1% to $3.02 million. (American Lawyer)
  • Cooley’s tech business kept churning in the year of Covid, pushing revenues up 16.8% in 2020, to $1.55 billion, its 11th-straight year of revenue growth, a report says. Meanwhile, Cooley’s PEP soared 25.4% to $3.18 million. (American Lawyer)
  • Holland & Knight’s gross revenues grew a more modest 1.7% to $1.04 billion in 2020 but cost-cutting allowed the firm to expand its average profit per equity partner 11% to $1.73 million. (DailyBusinessReview.com)
  • U.K. law firms said a wide range of British companies are considering “no jab, no job” contracts for employees as Covid vaccines become more available. (Financial Times)
  • State courts attempting to resume jury trials are having trouble finding jurors. (BLAW)

Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • The NAACP, on behalf of a Democratic member of Congress, sued former President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, claiming they conspired to incite the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • Meanwhile, Giuliani is not representing Trump on any matters, a spokesman for Trump said. (CNN)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A U.S. bankruptcy watchdog says the NRA’s lawyer has legal conflicts and should be barred from representing the gun-rights group in its chapter 11 case. (WSJ)
  • McDonald’s USA LLC is facing a civil rights suit by a Black franchise owner and former major league baseball player who accuses the company of retaliating against him for speaking out publicly about unfair treatment of Black owners. (BLAW)
  • An ex-attorney in Florida whose pants once caught on fire during a trial was arrested on cocaine charges. (Miami Herald)
  • Jones Day said hackers got confidential client data and firm communications when they breached its file transfer system, provided by an outside vendor. (BLAW)

Cyber & Data Privacy Hires, Reverse Tech Laterals

  • With companies getting hit by cyber breaches, and expecting increased data privacy regulation under the Biden administration, this week has seen a flurry of data privacy and cybersecurity hires, starting with Goodwin’s recruitment of a new co-chair of its privacy + cybersecurity practice. Tuesday, Mayer Brown said it hired a senior Apple Inc. privacy lawyer, Vivek Mohan, who as a member of its global privacy law & policy team and as head of information security law, helped develop the iPhone company’s program from complying with major privacy regulation around the world. Mohan, who was was earlier at Sidley Austin, joined Mayer Brown as a partner in Northern California in its cybersecurity & data privacy practice. (MayerBrown.com)
  • Meanwhile, former Facebook, Inc., deputy general counsel S. Ashlie Beringer returned to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Palo Alto, Calif., as partner and co-chair of its privacy, cybersecurity and data innovation practice group. (BLAW)

Laterals, Moves

  • Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general fired by Trump after his work led to the first impeachment, is joining Crowell & Moring as a partner and co-leader of its national security practice. (BLAW) (LinkedIn)
  • Gibson Dunn is getting back a former EPA acting general counsel in the Trump administration, David Fotouhi, who was an associate at the firm earlier in his career and returns as a partner in its environmental litigation and enforcement area. (BLAW)
  • U.K.-based Allen & Overy hired White & Case regional section head of Americas banking Jake Mincemoyer as a partner in New York, where he’ll lead A&O’s leveraged finance practice. (AllenOvery.com)
  • Dechert’s London office picked up the co-head of Weil Gotshal & Manges’ restructuring practice in the city, Adam Plainer, as global co-chair of Dechert’s financial restructuring group. (Law.com International)
  • Winston & Strawn acquired 15-lawyer L.A. firm Scheper Kim & Harris to build its white-collar defense and commercial and securities litigation practices on the West Coast. The firm also added three former Sidley Austin partners with expertise in real estate and workouts, also on the West Coast. (BLAW)
  • Winston hired Eversheds Sutherland M&A partner Kathleen Blaszak as a partner in Washington. (BLAW)
  • Kirkland & Ellis hired former Skadden, Arps project finance partner Tatiana Monastyrskaya. (BLAW)
  • Cravath Swaine & Moore brought on Debevoise & Plimpton bank regulatory partner David Portilla as a partner. He’s a former Treasury Department senior policy adviser. (BLAW)
  • The former head of Orrick’s Supreme Court practice, Kelsi Corkran, joined Georgetown Law. (BLAW)
  • Hogan Lovells got veteran healthcare lawyer and lobbyist Cybil Roehrenbeck as a partner in its government relations and public affairs practice in Washington. She was previously at Polsinelli as a shareholder and telehealth practice head. Earlier, she was an attorney at the American Medical Association. (HoganLovells.com)
  • FisherBroyles said public finance lawyer David Eric Reid joined the distributed firm in Chicago as a partner. He was a partner in Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Kansas City office and left that firm after close to 26 years. (FisherBroyles)
  • Loeb & Loeb poached veteran intellectual property lawyer Jorge Arciniega from McDermott Will & Emery in Los Angeles as a partner. (Loeb.com)
  • McKool Smith got patent trial lawyer Alan Whitehurst from Quinn Emanuel as a principal in Washington. (McKoolSmith.com)
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson hired Ballard Spah financial services regulatory and compliance lawyer Michael Guerrero as a partner in L.A. He was earlier in his career corporate counsel at Encore Capital Group. (Hinshawlaw.com)
  • Reed Smith grabbed veteran DLA Piper corporate partner Jason Levin in Chicago as a partner. (ReedSmith.com)

In-House

  • Equitable Holdings, a financial services holding company, got veteran insurance industry in-house leader Jose Ramon Gonzalez as chief legal officer and corporate secretary. He most recently was at CNA Insurance as EVP and general counsel and has had in-house leader jobs at various insurance industry companies. (Equitableholdings.com)
  • Capital Group Cos. Inc., hired Reginald Hedgebeth, Marathon Oil Corp.‘s former general counsel, as its first chief legal officer. (BLAW)

Promotions

  • Nixon Peabody promoted 12 lawyers (five women) in various practice areas to counsel. (NixonPeabody.com)

Technology

  • IBM and private equity firm JLL Partners are in a partnership with new legal tech company Breakwater, which will support and implement e-discovery and other tech tools from the technology giant. (Artificial Lawyer) (Businesswire)

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

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