Wake Up Call: NAACP to Fund South’s New Civil Rights Lawyers

Jan. 19, 2021, 2:01 PM

In today’s column, Nancy Pelosi demanded the Trump administration back off its plans to install a political operative as the NSA’s general counsel; the Covid-19 pandemic slowed China’s outbound M&A by 45%, a Baker McKenzie report says; Shook Hardy & Bacon opened a New York office; a Morrison & Foerster associate has about 186,000 followers for her TikTok feed about her life as New York associate during Covid.

  • Leading off, the NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund announced a new $40 million scholarship program that aims to produce a new generation of civil rights attorneys working in the South. In the next decade, the program will cover the full cost of tuition, room, and board for 50 law students who, in exchange, commit to spending at least eight years practicing civil rights and racial justice law in the South. (NPR.org) The fund is named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African American Justice, Thurgood Marshall, who founded the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and for Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to become a federal judge. It “will support and develop the next wave of civil rights lawyers in the South, where the majority of Black Americans live,” according to its web site. (MarshallMotleyScholars.org)
  • Money for the program came from a single, anonymous donor. (CBSNews.com)
  • The pandemic slowed China’s completed outbound M&A deals by 45% in 2020, to their lowest level since 2008, a Baker McKenzie report says. (BakerMcKenzie.com)
  • White House officials don’t expect President Donald Trump to pardon himself, family members or close aides, but clemency is in the works for a famous rapper and others. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded that the Defense Department drop plans to install a Trump political operative as the National Security Agency’s top lawyer. (Bloomberg News) (New York Times)

Biden Transition, Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • Democrats picked New York litigator Barry Berke to serve as as their top legal adviser in the upcoming impeachment trial against Trump. Berke, a white collar defense lawyer at Kramer Levin, worked for House Democrats as special counsel in the 2019 impeachment inquiry. (BLAW)
  • The Biden transition team named Yale Law School professor Abbe Gluck, a former law clerk to late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to be special counsel for the incoming administration’s coronavirus response effort. (National Law Journal)
  • Justice Department lawyers asked a federal appeals court to let the United States to stand in as defendant in a defamation suit against Trump filed by a woman who accuses him of rape. (Associated Press)
  • That lawsuit is among the many legal troubles facing Trump starting tomorrow, when he loses presidential immunity. (The Economist)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon opened a New York City office, recruiting two Phillips Lytle products liability partners that have long represented pharmaceutical clients. (American Lawyer)
  • In Italy, Dentons launched a new ESG and sustainability service unit to advise clients on sustainable finance and investments, corporate governance, environment, and energy transition. (Dentons.com)
  • Legal troubles keep growing for L.A. firm Girardi Keese. (BLAW)
  • Wells Fargo & Co’s former general counsel James Strother agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to the U.S. Treasury for his role in the bank’s sales-practices scandal. (BLAW)
  • Boies Schiller Flexner partner Joshua Schiller, son of the firm’s co-founder, was arrested for alleged domestic violence in Ross, Calif., police said. (BLAW)
  • Dechert named partner Laura Swihart as co-chair of the firm’s global finance practice group, joining partner David W. Forti, the group’s other co-chair. (Dechert.com)
  • DLA Piper represented Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, in the approximately $1.4 billion acquisition of NUVIA, a CPU and technology design team. (TechCrunch)
  • Morrison & Foerster’s annual tech M&A leaders’ survey finds that two-thirds of dealmakers anticipate an increase in M&A activity in the next 12 months. (Mofo.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth said its Bangkok office got veteran corporate lawyer Maythawee Sarathai as a partner in Bangkok. Sarathai was most recently the partner in charge of Mayer Brown’s Bangkok office. (HuntonAK.com)
  • The Lawyer reports that Mayer Brown is leaving Thailand after reviewing its Southeast Asia strategy. (The Lawyer)
  • Holman Fenwick Willan recruited Reed Smith’s Singapore managing partner, Peter Zaman, as a partner in Singapore in its global transactional practice. Zaman, a transactional and regulatory lawyer, specializes in commodity derivatives, derivatives and structured products, climate change, carbon trading and carbon finance. (HFW.com)
  • The New York City Bar Association’s former executive director for diversity and inclusion, Deborah Martin Owens, joined Sidley Austin as East Coast diversity chief. (New York Law Journal)
  • Reed Smith’s Athens, Greece, office got Norton Rose Fulbright’s Greek energy practice head, Dimitris Assimakis, as a corporate partner. (Reed Smith)
  • Cooley’s Singapore office got fund formation lawyer Sean Murphy as a partner. He arrives from Shearman & Sterling. (Cooley.com)
  • Norton Rose Fulbright added a private equity lawyer in Munich, getting Bernd Dreier as counsel from AIG Europe, where he most recently was head of M&A for the warranty & indemnity insurance business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. He has previous experience at major law firms. (Norton Rose Fulbright)
  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS said retired Alston & Bird trial partner Bernard Taylor joined its Atlanta panel. He spent close to 40 years at the law firm, including as chair of its management committee and products liability group. (JAMSadr.com) JAMS also got retired Nevada Supreme Court judge Mark Gibbons on its Las Vegas panel. (JAMSadr.com)
  • Warshaw Burstein hired employment-based immigration attorney David H. Jacobson as a partner in New York. (WBNY.com)


  • Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. lost its top lawyer, Stacy Cozad, as the fuselage maker faces financial fallout from top customer Boeing Co.’s problems. Cozad is due to start Feb. 1 as general counsel and corporate secretary for specialty chemicals maker Ingevity Inc. (BLAW)
  • London-based Woodsford Litigation Funding promoted senior investment officer Robin Davis to chief investment officer, U.S. She earlier spent several years as an intellectual property litigation associate at Quinn Emanuel and Hogan Lovells and was a New York-based partner at Radulescu. (WoodsfordLitigationFunding.com)


  • Morrison & Foerster privacy & security law associate Cecillia Xie has about 186,000 followers for her TikTok feed on which she posts videos about her life working as an attorney in New York during the pandemic. She also answers questions from young people about law school and the legal industry. (Business Insider)

Legal Education

  • Stanford Law Professor Deborah L. Rhode, known for leading a transformation of the field of legal ethics, died Jan. 8 in Stanford, Calif. She was 68. (New York Times)

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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