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Wake Up Call: Norton Rose Cuts 132 Jobs, Mainly in London

Jan. 15, 2021, 1:47 PM

In today’s column, the legal industry looks headed for a big post-pandemic reorganization of staff roles; Covid-19 and its fallout are likely to keep generating work for employment lawyers in 2021; American Lawyer named its 2020 legal industry awards.

  • Leading off, Norton Rose Fulbright said Friday that it is cutting 132 jobs across its Europe, Middle East and Asia offices, as part of a reorganization to a simplified, more efficient structure, as “the legal industry goes through a period of profound change.” In an emailed statement to Bloomberg Law, the firm said 114 of the eliminated jobs are in London, most are secretarial and business service functions, including some contractors, while 19 are at the counsel and associate level. It said 95% of its people are unaffected.
  • “We have taken the decision to restructure our business services operating model to set us up to lead and thrive in a period of change and uncertainty,” the firm’s managing partner for EMEA, Peter Scott, said. He said the firm’s “resilient” performance in 2020 allows it to make the changes now, and that the new operating model helps the firm serve its clients more effectively and efficiently. London-based The Lawyer first reported the layoffs. (The Lawyer)
  • The layoffs at Norton Rose come as the legal industry looks headed for a big post-pandemic reorganization of staff roles, as law firms adapt to changes brought on by the shift to remote work. The restructuring could see some jobs created or expanded, others combined and some eliminated, a report says. (Law.com)
  • After expense cutting fueled windfall profits for Big Law firms in 2020, firms may now face push back from clients if they try to raise rates. And that pressure could last a long time. (BLAW)
  • Employment lawyers are likely to stay busy this year because of Covid-19 and its fallout. (Law.com)

Biden Transition, Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team started a new Twitter account, @PresElectBiden, and it is contesting Twitter’s decision not to allow Biden to inherit President Donald Trump’s followers on the official @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts. (Bloomberg News)
  • President Trump, on the eve of facing a second impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, is having trouble finding a legal team to defend him. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • The biggest legal questions behind Trump’s coming Senate trial. (National Law Journal)
  • Impeachment is not the only legal problem Trump faces as his White House exit approaches. (CNN)
  • Two lawyers and Stephen Miller helped Trump with his recent post impeachment speech. (The Week)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • American Lawyer named Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund president and director-counsel, its “lawyer of the year” for 2020, a year in which her work “took center stage.” The award was among titles handed out Thursday in the 2020 American Lawyer Industry Awards. Others included: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr as law firm of the year; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; as general corporate firm of the year; Cooley as technology/telecommunication corporate practice firm of the year. (American Lawyer)
  • A Black attorney suing Davis Polk & Wardwell and several partners told a Manhattan federal court his bias and retaliation complaints are plausible and shouldn’t be dismissed. (BLAW)
  • A recent panel of legal industry leaders, including a senior California judge and Microsoft Corp.’s general counsel, talked about obstacles to diversity at law firms. (Reuters)
  • Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler launched a commercial real estate workouts and litigation group. (PBWT.com)
  • The Texas attorney general’s office is arguing that the state’s laws to protect whistleblowers don’t apply to Attorney General Ken Paxton, who fired staff members who accused him of corruption. (Texas Tribune)

Laterals, Moves

  • Seven years after exiting Munich, law firm Shearman & Sterling poached two acquisition finance partners from Linklaters as it re-opens in the city, which is Germany’s private equity hub. (Global Legal Post)
  • Goodwin Procter added Dechert fund formation and regulatory partner Joachim Kayser as a partner in Goodwin’s Frankfurt, Germany, office. He arrives with an associate. (GoodwinLaw.com)
  • Labor and employment firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart hired lawyer Meg Holman for its new chief talent officer position in Atlanta. She was previously chief operating officer at FordHarrison. (Daily Report Online)
  • Reed Smith got Freshfields executive compensation counsel Kevin Kay as a partner in New York. (Reed Smith)
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman named commercial real estate partner Karen Nelson to be managing partner of its Charlotte office, replacing Dan Huffenus, who continues as a real estate partner. (Charlotte Business Journal)
  • K&L Gates got Littler shareholder and board member Eugene Ryu as a labor and employment partner in Los Angeles. (KLGates.com)
  • Michael Best said a former top aide to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Aaron Harris, joined the law firm in Chicago as senior counsel and its government relations arm as principal. (MichaelBest.com)
  • Carlton Fields said former Florida federal prosecutor Vanessa Singh Johannes joined its Miami office as of counsel in its white collar crime and government investigations practice. (CarltonFields.com)
  • Holland & Knight’s Miami office got back former assistant U.S. Attorney Cary Aronovitz as a partner. (HKLaw.com)

In-House

  • Holland & Knight’s Miami office also got back M&A and private equity attorney Jordan Schneider as a partner. Schneider arrives most recently from clothing company Perry Ellis International, Inc., where he was a VP for strategic initiatives, and he has earlier been an associate at Holland & Knight and other Big Law firms. (HKLaw.com)
  • AXA XL hired insurance-industry veteran Pamela Rosado to take over as general counsel effective Feb. 8, based in New York. Rosado previously had in-house leader roles at various AXA Group companies, and she arrives most recently from MetLife, where she was senior vice president and chief counsel for litigation and special investigations. She succeeds AXA XL’s interim general counsel Anthony Recine, who will go back to his job as global head of litigation for AXA Group. (Insurance Business)
  • LendingTree LLC has hired former Axiom legal chief Lisa Young after the online lending marketplace lost its full-time general counsel in 2019. (BLAW)
  • Univision Communications Inc., under new ownership, is in the market for a chief legal officer. (BLAW)

Technology

  • Legal tech company Luminance launched a suite of redaction tools for removing confidential information from documents and data sets. (Artificial Lawyer)
  • E-Discovery services firm HaystackID launched a new service to help companies and law firms react swiftly when they’re hit by data breaches. (HaystackID.com)

Notice

  • Wake Up Call will not publish Jan. 18 in observance of the federal holiday. We will resume Jan. 19.

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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