Business & Practice

Wake Up Call: Perkins Coie Lawyer’s Key Political Role

Oct. 27, 2017, 12:47 PM

• Meet Marc E. Elias, the Perkins Coie political law practice chairman who hired the research firm that compiled a dossier of explosive, unverified allegations about Russia connections of President Donald Trump and his campaign. ( BLB )

• Elias’ name turned up in another political fight yesterday, the bribery trial of Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen. Defense attorneys moved for a mistrial after the judge indicated he won’t allow testimony from Elias, who defended Menendez in a related Senate ethics probe. ( Bloomberg )

• Baker McKenzie’s internal probe for SAP SE reportedly spurred U.S. regulators to look into the German compliance software company’s links to corruption allegations around South Africa’s politically connected Gupta family. The U.S. probe marks an escalation of a scandal that has dragged in international businesses ranging from KPMG LLP to McKinsey & Co. ( Bloomberg )

• Legal departments almost universally praise alternative fee arrangements, but they aren’t increasing their use of them, a new survey by Norton Rose Fulbright has found. ( BLB )

• JPMorgan Chase & Co’s general counsel, Stacey Friedman, figures at No. 2 in a recent ranking of top executives who champion LGBT rights. ( Financial Times )

• Halloween isn’t technically a holiday, but the U.S. Supreme Court seems to be treating it that way. The first edition of Bloomberg Law’s The Week Ahead at SCOTUS. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB ) U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco will argue before the court in December in support of the Colorado baker who cited religious grounds in refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. ( National Law Journal )

• A disbarred former associate of Skadden and Fried Frank who founded a legal-matching site faces 10 felony counts linked to an alleged sexual relationship with a teenage girl in California. ( The Recorder )

Legal Market

• The White House said Kenneth L. Marcus, president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, is Trump’s pick to be the Department of Education’s next civil rights chief. Marcus served as staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights during the George W. Bush administration and was previously deputy assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department. ( Inside Higher Ed )

• Law firm Schlichter Bogard & Denton was awarded $5.58 million in attorneys’ fees following the $16.8 million deal it reached earlier this year in a case involving Northrop Grumman Corp.'s retirement plans. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• New York City tort lawyers “virtually always” charge the maximum contingency fee allowed under state law, according to a study. ( Forbes )

• Today’s general counsel need “sharp elbows” and a strategic vision to look beyond the law department for first-hand knowledge about how their companies, work, speakers on a recent panel said. ( Corporate Counsel )

• London lawyers are increasingly looking at the possibility of setting up in Dublin as part of their strategies for dealing with legal fallout from Brexit. ( Nasdaq )

Legal Actions

• Harvey Weinstein sued the Weinstein Co. Thursday to force it to turn over corporate emails and other records he says can help the film studio he co-founded clear itself of alleged wrongdoing. ( Bloomberg )

• The legal recruiting firm targeted by a former employee’s sexual harassment complaint said it fired the partner recruiting chairman accused of being the harasser and hired a law firm to do an internal investigation. ( New York Law Journal )

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Government Accountability Office said it will investigate Trump’s voter fraud commission, which Congressional Democrats have criticized for lack of transparency, among other things. ( Politico )

• The SEC settled with Zenefits and its former CEO over charges the software startup misled investors by failing to disclose employees were selling insurance without a license. ( Bloomberg )

• Apple Inc. asked U.S. securities regulators if it can exclude a shareholder proposal that pushes the iPhone maker to explore linking executive pay to performance on diversity and sustainability. ( Bloomberg )

• Federal contractors forked over a record $23 million in the past fiscal year to settle workplace discrimination charges from the Labor Department, data show. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

Opioid Crisis

• Declaring widespread opioid abuse a public health emergency, Trump said he would use the federal government’s legal powers to pursue companies that helped fuel the epidemic. But he opened no federal funds to the fight. ( Bloomberg )

• Prosecutors said John Kapoor, the billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc., bribed doctors as part of aggressive effort to spur sales of highly addictive opioid painkillers. ( Bloomberg )

• The CEO of McKesson Corp., the world’s largest drug distributor, said courtrooms aren’t the place to fix the opioid epidemic. McKesson is targeted by numerous lawsuits from cities and states claiming it played a role in the crisis. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• HSBC Holdings Plc’s former head of currency trading in London, Stuart Scott, vowed to appeal a London judge’s ruling that he can be extradited to the U.S. to face fraud charges. The ruling came three days after a New York jury convicted Scott’s old boss over the same allegations. ( Bloomberg )

• A timeshare company accused of defrauding property owners failed to convince a federal judge to curtail remedies sought by the Federal Trade Commission, offering the first hint at how courts will handle a new legal question. ( Bloomberg BNA )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Sidley Austin LLP is adding five partners from Andrews Kurth to its capital markets and M&A practices, boosting its energy expertise. David Buck, Jon Daly, Angela Richards and George Vlahakos will join the firm’s Houston office, while Bill Cooper, will split his time between Houston and Washington, D.C. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• Haynes and Boone, LLP said it hired veteran policy-holder insurance lawyer Barry Buchman as a partner in its insurance recovery practice based in its Washington, D.C., office. Buchman comes from Gilbert LLP, where he spent 14 years. ( Haynesboone.com )


• Law firms are doing a lousy job protecting client data, according to a new client survey report. ( The American Lawyer )

• The Illinois state court covering Chicago has become ground zero for a new rush of workplace biometric privacy class complaints against employers filed in the last seven weeks. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• An update to Google Chrome today could cause visitors to many law firms’ websites to get messages that the sites lack SSL certificates and are, consequently, “non-secure,” according to a report by a U.K. law-firm marketing company. ( Today’s Conveyancer )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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