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Wake Up Call: Recording Academy Seeks GC After Fee Criticism

June 16, 2021, 12:02 PM

In today’s column, President Biden named a prominent advocate of tough antitrust enforcement against tech giants to lead the FTC; Reed Smith reelected its global managing partner to a third term; Big Law firms’ pay hikes and bonuses for associates are making some staff feel unappreciated.

  • Leading off, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which runs the Grammy Awards, is looking to hire an in-house general counsel after getting hit with criticism that it pays “exorbitant” fees” to outside counsel, particularly from Greenberg Traurig and Proskauer. The nonprofit academy is also fighting claims by its ousted former CEO, Deborah Dugan that she was unfairly dismissed. (Billboard)
  • Big Law firms’ new salary hikes for associates will be expensive, but not as costly as the recent round of special bonuses, according to a report. (American Lawyer) Some Big Law staff say that seeing the salary increases for associates is making them feel unappreciated. Others take a more “measured” view. (American Lawyer)
  • President Joe Biden has named Harvard Law professor Lina Khan to be chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, Senator Amy Klobuchar said at the start of a hearing Tuesday. Khan is one of the most prominent advocates of aggressive antitrust enforcement against U.S. technology giants. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Linklaters is fighting a former contractor’s sexual harassment allegations in a London employment tribunal against the firm and its former fintech chief. (Financial News) (The Lawyer) Dinsmore & Shohl said it’s dropping “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne as a client. The firm’s announcement came after a damaging Hulu documentary about the legal troubles of Jayne and her estranged husband, disgraced attorney Tom Girardi. (Page Six) Elizabeth Holmes’ Williams & Connolly lawyers say they’re concerned about finding impartial jurors for the criminal fraud trial of the former CEO of blood lab Theranos. (NBC)
  • Reed Smith elected global managing partner Sandy Thomas to a third four-term to run through 2025; Quinn Emanuel named trial partner Christopher Porter co-managing partner of its Houston office; Nixon Peabody named New York-based private equity partner Todd Tidgewell to lead the firm’s corporate practice. (
  • The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday to observe June 19, 1865, the day slavery effectively ended in the U.S. Several Big Law firms have said they’re making Juneteenth a holiday, or otherwise observing the day; meanwhile, Cravath said it’s donating $6 million to civil rights organizations. The money comes from a fee award for its decades of pro bono work in a discrimination case. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett hired former New York federal prosecutor Martin Bell as a litigation partner in New York; Bracewell grabbed the co-head of K&L Gates’s international arbitration practice, Martin F. Gusy, as a partner in New York and chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice; Hughes Hubbard & Reed hired arbitration lawyer Remy Gerbay as a partner in Washington. He arrives most recently from MoloLamken and his previous roles include time in-house at the London Court of International Arbitration; Akerman got franchise and licensing lawyer Dale Alexandra Cohen as a partner in New York. She arrives from Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins. (Akerman)
  • Withers hired veteran trust and estates planning partner Naomita Yadav in San Francisco. She arrives from Ernst & Young, where she was a senior manager; employment law attorney Kraig Long joined Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as a partner in its Baltimore and Washington offices. He joins from Miles & Stockbridge, where he was a principal; Seyfarth added worklaw attorney Lauren Parris Watts as a partner in Seattle. She arrives most recently from Helsell Fetterman; employment litigator. (Seyfarth)
  • TaskRabbit, Ikea’s San Francisco-based online mobile and online freelance labor marketplace, hired a longtime in-house lawyer for Visa Inc. and later Uber Technologies Inc, Ben Edelhart, as its general counsel. (Corporate Counsel)

Legal Education

  • Reality TV star Kim Kardashian said she failed in her second try at California’s first-year law students’ examination, otherwise known as the “baby bar.” (

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