Bloomberg Law
March 27, 2020, 12:35 PM

Wake Up Call: New York Litigation Freeze Period ‘Ripe for Settlements’

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

In today’s column, blog founder David Lat is off experimental drug treatment for Covid-19 and showing “mild improvement"; Facebook hired WilmerHale Senior Counsel Robert Kimmitt, a former Treasury official and U.S. ambassador, as a board member; a home-confined Atlanta plaintiffs lawyer has turned his Peloton cycling sessions into a way to hook up with other lawyers; and Hogan Lovells donated 1,000 N95 masks to health-care pros.

  • Leading off, as New York civil litigators expressed frustration over a freeze in most filings during the Covid-19 pandemic, one commercial litigator called the environment “ripe for settlements” and alternative dispute resolution. (New York Law Journal)

  • New York doctors treating Above The Law co-founder David Lat for Covid-19 have stopped administering experimental drug therapies, at least for now. He has shown “mild improvements” in his oxygen and breathing, but he remains intubated, and “we are still very far from out of the woods,” his husband said. (New York Law Journal)

  • With the U.S. now world No. 1 for confirmed cases of new coronavirus Covid-19, unemployment filings at a record of 3.28 million workers, and the economy evaporating, some law firms are already in survival mode, while others are still planning. “This is not your normal cyclical event,” says one legal industry observer. (American Lawyer)

  • Law firm pricing experts say that, with the economy tanking, firms should think of the collective good of their firms, and avoid rate discounts. (BLAW)

  • U.K. listed law firms Knights said it will cut salaries by 10% for all staff earning more than 30,000 pounds ($36,480) per year and board members’ salaries will also be cut 30%. Another listed firm, the Ince Group, canceled its interim dividend, a move made by Gateley earlier in the week. (

  • The top lawyer at Chicago-based gaming company Accel Entertainment Inc. is joining other top executives in giving up 100% of their base salaries. (BLAW)

  • Firms facing cash crunches shouldn’t lay off staff off or cut outlays for IT upgrades, but should consider delaying equity payments to partners, says this former Ropes & Gray chief operating officer and policy committee member. (American Lawyer)

  • With attorney-client interaction upended by Covid-19, pro bono organizations and their law firm partners are racing to patch together solutions and implement technology that will help them effectively represent clients including asylum seekers, prisoners, and crime victims. (BLAW)

  • Corporate competitors suddenly collaborating to fight the new coronavirus to make everything from masks to vaccines could leave themselves vulnerable to collusion charges, antitrust lawyers at Big Law firms said. (BLAW)

  • Hogan Lovells said it donated over 1,000 N95 masks to health care workers and expects to double that in an effort to collect equipment from employees. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • An Atlanta plaintiffs lawyer says he got a “crazy response” when he proposed sharing his daily Peloton workouts as a way for lawyers to connect during the quarantine. (Daily Report)

  • Resources: an Orrick post considers whether 3D printing could help relieve shortages of medical supplies, and what would be the patent risk. A Morrison & Foerster alert on private equity trends in Asia healthcare and education sectors suggests one impact of Covid-19 could be that a PE fund will partner with a U.S. or Australian hospital group to acquire and re-brand hospitals in China. ( Reed Smith has a post on legal issues raised by expanded use of telehealth services during the pandemic. (

  • Facebook Inc. hired former Treasury deputy secretary and U.S. ambassador Robert Kimmitt, recently a WilmerHale senior international counsel, as the company’s lead independent director. (Facebook) (Bloomberg News)

  • Greenberg Traurig is building up its bankruptcy practice, getting back the former co-chair of its restructuring practice, Bruce Zirinsky, who’s known for working on big airline restructurings. (American Lawyer)

  • The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, which recently canceled its 2020 Vegas Institute scheduled for May, said it will host a series of 13 weekly webinars beginning in May. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Meanwhile, in-house lawyers are asking law firms to stop bombarding them with Covid-19 webinar announcements. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Lenders to AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. hired Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to help advise them after the virus pandemic forced the chain to shutter its U.S. movie theaters. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

Laterals, Moves

  • Winston & Strawn hired Seyfarth Shaw’s former commercial class action defense practice group chair, Dan Blouin, as a partner in Chicago. (BLAW)

  • Buchalter added insurance law shareholder Bradley Hoff, who becomes group chair of the firm’s insurance coverage practice. Hoff is based in Seattle and comes over from Foster Garvey, after spending over 25 years at Foster Pepper, including as chair of the insurance coverage group, and co-chair, professional recruiting committee. (

  • DLA Piper grabbed Paul Hastings litigation partner John Phillips as a partner in its northern California litigation practice, based in San Francisco. Phillips was Paul Hasting’s San Francisco office managing partner and previously its San Francisco litigation department chair. (

  • Haynes and Boone added Silicon Valley business and tax attorney Roger Royse as a partner in Palo Alto. He’s bringing seven of the 27 attorneys who worked with him at the firm he founded, with the rest going elsewhere. Royse, who advises venture funds, mid-market companies and technology startups, spent three years as a Milbank associate earlier in his career. (

  • Fox Rothschild added tax & wealth planning lawyer Scott A. Lavin as a partner in New York. He was previously a partner at Robinson Brogg. (

  • Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel said litigation attorney Terrance W. “T.W.” Anderson, Jr. joined the firm as a partner in Boca Raton. He joins from Gray Robinson, where he was a shareholder. (


  • Office staffing company Kelly Services Inc. promoted VP and chief transactional officer Janis Acosta to interim general counsel. Acosta, who’s been a Winston & Strawn corporate partner and in-house leader at major companies, replaces senior vice president and chief legal officer Hannah Lim-Johnson, who left the company. (

  • New York-based fintech start-up Carver Edison hired veteran investment industry in-house leader Gregory Barton as its first-ever general counsel. (Corporate Counsel)


  • As law firms attempt to compete with more nimble alternative legal service providers, and legal arms of Big Four accounting giants, some are expanding their capacity to communicate with clients by implementing Web-based collaboration platforms such as HighQ, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and others. (

  • Document technology company Litera acquired Levit & James Inc.’s Best Authority, a “table of authorities” product that can play an important part in litigation. (

  • Law students are using a section on online forum Reddit-- r/LawSchool--to discuss their school’s grading policies, and share concerns and advice amid the Covid-19 outbreak. (

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