Wake Up Call: Quinn Emanuel Moves to ‘Build Cash Reserves’ in Covid Move

May 12, 2020, 12:38 PM

In today’s column, a Big Law staffer in Texas got fired after his firm saw his social media post threatening to use his Glock pistol to deal with retailers’ Covid-19 mask requirements; British dentists hired Brown Rudnick for advice on their Covid-related insurance disputes; because of the pandemic, Allen & Overy dropped plans to move to new Manhattan premises; with it its latest hire, DC boutique Consovoy McCarthy now has five former Supreme Court clerks; K&L Gates added a seven-lawyer restructuring team in Germany as it expects a surge in EU insolvencies; a law firm for Madonna and other stars says it got hacked.

  • Leading off, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is the latest $1 billion law firm to move to protect its finances from the impact of Covid-19. Founding partner John Quinn told American Lawyer that as the “whole economy went off the cliff,” the firm decided to “build its cash reserves.” So far that has meant putting off April partner distributions and recalculating draws for coming months. However, Quinn said the firm has solid finances and has not laid off or furloughed any employees and does not plan to. (American Lawyer)

  • Legal blog Above the Law called Quinn’s announcement “unexpected news from a firm with top partner profits.” (Above the Law)

  • Cleveland-based Thompson Hine is making cuts, reducing partner draws 15% and staff compensation by 1.7%. (Above the Law)

  • New York-based Schulte Roth & Zabel said its business representing financial industry clients, including hedge funds, credit funds and private equity firms, has so far helped it avoid cuts. (New York Law Journal)

  • Pay cuts are not the only way Big Law firms are reacting to the pandemic. Before Covid-19, another U.K. elite firm Allen & Overy was about to sign a lease for new Manhattan premises at 630 Fifth Avenue. Now the firm plans to stay in its current offices at 1221 Sixth Ave., in the McGraw-Hill Building, whose tenants include other Big Law firms, this report says. (The Real Deal)

  • Los Angeles County Superior Court is requiring judicial officers to wear face masks on the bench and in the common areas of the courthouse. (The Recorder)

  • Thompson & Knight fired a Texas document services manager after he made a Facebook post vowing to use his Glock pistol and “pricey” ammo to get the last word with retailers requiring masks to enter their stores. (Above the Law)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The British Dental Association said it has hired Brown Rudnick for “urgent” advice, as “the vast majority of insurers are not paying insurance claims of dentists for business interruption during the Covid-19 pandemic.” (BDA.org)

  • Wilson Sonsini’s legal tech arm, SixFifty, has a new toolset to help companies planning to bring back employees as Covid-19 shutdowns start to lift. (BLAW)

  • New York City-based Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler launched a practice that will represent clients who are the subject of state attorney general investigations, prosecutions, and policymaking. The team will be led by Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general and federal prosecutor, and include four former New York and New Jersey assistant U.S. attorneys, as well as litigators and other lawyers from the firm. (PBWT.com)

  • Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr.'s law license was suspended for 30 days by the state’s highest court over allegations that he groped four women at an event in 2018. (BLAW)

  • The Department of Justice blamed a “clerk error” after the U.S. attorney who filed the motion to dismiss the perjury case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn used someone else’s bar identification number. (Above the Law) (CNN) (New York Times) Thousands of ex-prosecutors are urging the judge in Flynn’s case to examine the DOJ’s motive for dropping case. (National Law Journal)

  • Georgia’s attorney general appointed a new lead prosecutor in the case of the young black man shot to death while jogging in a park. (NPR)

  • Media and entertainment law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, which represents Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Bruce Springsteen and other stars, confirmed that its internal data systems were hacked. (Variety) (Rolling Stone)

  • Germany-based BioNTech, which is working on a Covid-19 vaccine candidate with Pfizer, closed its $97 million acquisition of Massachusetts-based Neon Therapeutics, which was advised by Goodwin Procter. (Yahoo! Finance)

Laterals, Moves

  • Covington & Burling’s sports law practice got the former top lawyer of World Series champs Washington Nationals, Damon Jones. He’s a former Williams & Connolly senior associate and joins Covington in Washington as of counsel. (BLAW)

  • Washington-area litigation boutique Consovoy McCarthy, known for representing President Trump in his fight to keep Congress from getting his financial records, hired former Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green, who was a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The firm’s 12 lawyers now include five former U.S. Supreme Court clerks. (National Law Journal)

  • DLA Piper added healthcare regulation attorney and litigator Donna Thiel as a partner in Washington. According to her Linkedin, she’s been at several other Big Law firms and arrives most recently from Baker Donelson, where she was a shareholder. (DLAPiper.com)

  • K&L Gates is adding a seven-member restructuring and insolvency team, including three partners, in Frankfurt, Germany, as it prepares for an increase in Covid-19 related restructurings in the EU. The team, arriving from local firm Bernsau Brockdorff & Partner, includes name partner Georg Bernsau, partners Simone Wernicke and Harald Knittel, and insolvency department director Stefan Zahn, among others.(KLGates.com)

  • Cozen O’Connor’s corporate practice added its 11th attorney in two weeks, getting Minnesota-based Katheryn Gettman as a member. She has an MBA on top of her law degree and arrives from Messerli Kramer. (Cozen.com)


  • Streaming audio platform Spotify Technology SA recruited former HBO general counsel Eve Konstan for the same role. She takes over from Horacio Gutierrez, a longtime in-house lawyer at Microsoft Corp. who was recently promoted to chief legal officer and head of global affairs at Spotify. (BLAW)

  • Stereotaxis Inc., a St. Louis-based medical technology company hit by slowing sales, split with its chief legal officer and corporate secretary Kevin Barry. (BLAW)

  • Tribune Publishing Co., the third-largest newspaper company in the U.S., is in the market for a general counsel as it prepares to part ways with its current top lawyer. (BLAW)


  • Latham & Watkins’ new virtual experience program is aimed at giving future legal talent an idea of what it’s like to be a Big Law attorney, without leaving home. The firm says the program pre-dates Covid-19. (Legaltech News)

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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