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Wake Up Call: Questions Remain After U.K. Fine for Sexual Misconduct

Feb. 5, 2020, 1:23 PM

In today’s column, Airbus’ top lawyer coordinated work by five law firms to negotiate the company’s huge recent bribery settlement across several jurisdictions; Nixon Peabody is the fifth firm in a big diversity research fund announced last year; and Fox Rothschild hired a law firm to defend it in a former paralegal’s sexual harassment and attempted rape claims.

  • Leading off, the U.K.'s legal profession disciplinary tribunal tried to explain its controversial decision to only fine a former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner for sexual misconduct, even though it said it confirmed the allegations against him. The tribunal said it decided against a more severe penalty because it attributed the lawyer’s actions to a “spontaneous lapse of judgment.” (Global Legal Post)

  • Toulouse-France based aircraft giant Airbus and its top lawyer John Harrison got legal help from Arnold & Porter, Clifford Chance, and other firms in getting a 3.6 billion euro ($4 billion) multi-country settlement of a long-running bribery and corruption investigation, according to reports. ( (Compliance Week)

  • Nixon Peabody is the fifth Big Law firm to join Diversity Lab’s 5 million Move the Needle Fund, aimed at finding solutions for lack of diversity in the legal profession. (American Lawyer)

  • Fox Rothschild hired Fisher Phillips to defend it in a case brought by a former paralegal who accused a New Jersey Fox Rothschild lawyer of sexual harassment and attempted rape. (Legal Intelligencer)

  • As Japanese companies prepare for a surge in post-Brexit deals in the EU, major Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi decided to locate in Frankfurt, Germany, rather than in London, a report says. (Financial Times)

  • One of President Trump’s top private lawyers, William Consovoy, is representing the makers of Five Hour Energy at the U.S. Supreme Court in a state consumer protection case. (National Law Journal)

  • Brown Rudnick hired two veteran litigators away from another Trump law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres in New York. The Boston-based firm added Michael Bowe and Lauren Tabaksblat as partners. (

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Los Angeles-based Irell & Manella lost three partners after it announced a new strategy. Two went to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and one to Hueston Hennigan. (BLAW)

  • K&L Gates also lost an of counsel in San Francisco, as Vedder Price hired away investment services shareholder Rob Crea in the city. (Vedder Price)

  • Longtime Allen & Overy partner Michael Feldberg, who founded the U.K.-elite firm’s U.S. litigation practice, has moved to McKool Smith spinoff Reichman Jorgensen. (New York Law Journal)

  • Debevoise & Plimpton and other law firms helped power a rebound in New York City office leasing square footage volume in January. (The Real Deal)

  • DLA Piper added three lawyers to its patent litigation practice and life sciences sector. Partners Ellen Scordino, in Boston, and Susan Krumplitsch, in Silicon Valley, joined from Cooley. Of counsel April Abele Isaacson joined in San Francisco, arriving from Impax Laboratories, and she was previously a partner at Goodwin Procter. (DLA Piper)

  • DLA Piper also added Jones Day litigator Michael Hazzard as a partner in Washington. (DLA Piper)


  • Private equity firm J.F. Lehman & Company, advised by Jones Day and Blank Rome, agreed to acquire, for $250 million, U.K.-based Global Marine Group. That company, a provider of subsea cable maintenance and installation services, was advised by Hogan Lovells. (PRNewswire)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Foley & Lardner named business law partner William C. Guthrie, who is hospitality & leisure practice chair, to be managing partner of its Orlando office. ( Foley also added insurance and health care regulatory attorney Kate Sullivan Morgan in San Francisco as special counsel. She arrives from Dentons and was previously assistant GC at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. (

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired trial and appellate litigator Mark Stancil in Washington as a partner. He was a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and, according to his LinkedIn, a Baker Botts associate, and arrives most recently from Robbins, Russell. (

  • Greenspoon Marder added former adviser to the IRS chief counsel Nick Richards as a partner in its cannabis and tax practices in Denver, Colorado. (

  • Alston & Bird announced two hires in Washington. Veteran trial attorney Jason Levine joined as a partner, arriving from Vinson & Elkins. Tax partner Shawna Tunnell joined from Hogan Lovells, where she’d been over 20 years, most recently as a partner. (Alston)

  • Lowenstein Sandler hired bankruptcy lawyer Robert M. Hirsh as a partner in New York. He previously spent 14 years at Arent Fox, most recently as a partner. (

  • Sullivan & Worcester hired away Clifford Chance debt lawyer Jennifer Pastarnack as a partner in New York, where she will lead her new firm’s debt and claims trading practice for the U.S. and London. She was earlier at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. (

  • Buchalter added corporate law shareholder Rajnish Puri in L.A. He arrives from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. (Buchalter)

  • Blank Rome’s government relations unit hired retired U.S. Army intelligence officer Fleming “Mike” Legg, most recently a House Transportation Committee staff member, as a senior adviser in Washington. (

  • Chicago-based Levenfeld Pearlstein hired former White & Case commercial real estate attorney William Schriver as a partner. (

  • Frost Brown Todd’s Dallas office added former American Airlines senior attorney Fred Gaona as a member in its labor and employment practice. He was most recently litigation counsel at Gray Reed. (

  • Frost Brown Todd’s Charleston office added worklaw attorney Katherine Capito. She was previously a partner at Hissam Forman Donovan Ritchie. (


  • Financial services firm CAN Capital hired in-house veteran Edward Dietz as chief compliance officer and general counsel. He was previously top lawyer at New Jersey-based Marlin Business Services Corp. (

  • New Jersey-based tech startup OwnBackup hired inhouse leader John Moss as general counsel. He was most recently chief legal officer at FinancialForce and was previously in charge of commercial legal at Salesforce, a leader in cloud-based customer-relationship management service. (

  • Texas-based global law firm network Lex Mundi said three general counsel joined its client advisory council. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Greenspoon Marder represented a Florida company that won a Florida appeals court decision that could allow it to sell beer and wine via automated vending machines in condo buildings in the state. (

  • Inc. and a children’s clothing company face data-breach allegations in a federal court lawsuit that is among the first to cite California’s landmark privacy law since it took effect Jan. 1. (BLAW)

  • Mobile payments company Square Inc. was hit by federal class action claims that it sends unauthorized texts to consumers. (The Recorder)

  • A star libel attack lawyer for Trump is trying to kill an effort by porno star Stormy Daniels to revive her libel suit against Trump in federal appeals court. (Politico)


  • Technology can help compliance leaders monitor bribery and corruption but, according to a new Hogan Lovells survey report, those professionals are worried that some technology, such as chat apps, can hinder their ability to do that job. (

  • More on the back story on UpCounsel’s decision to call it quits. (Artificial Lawyer)

Legal Education

  • New York Law School hired city government fiscal management veteran Plachikkat V. Anantharam as SVP and chief financial officer. (

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