Wake Up Call: Recovering Blog Founder Lat Says Ventilator Saved His Life

March 30, 2020, 12:06 PM

In today’s column, as President Trump signed a $2 trillion stimulus package Friday to rescue the economy from Covid-19’s ravages, the inspector general for a similar Obama-era stimulus program urged rules to decide who gets a share of the cash; eDiscovery company Disco announced layoffs it blamed on Covid-19 and economic uncertainty; the New York State Bar is setting up a pro bono network to help with an anticipated unleashing of Covid-19-related lawsuits once the economy gets going again.

  • Leading off, Above The Law co-founder David Lat said via Facebook post that he’s off a ventilator, in stable condition, and has been transferred out of the ICU where he was getting treated for the new coronavirus Covid-19. “But I’m not out of the proverbial woods yet,” he said. In a tweet, the legal recruiter, perhaps the legal profession’s best-known coronavirus victim to date, said he spent almost a week hooked up to a ventilator and “probably wouldn’t be alive today without one.” He added, “I can attest to the importance of ventilators and the need for an adequate supply.” (Facebook)(Twitter)

  • Another New York lawyer, known as “patient zero” in a New York suburb hard hit by the virus, has recovered sufficiently to go home from the hospital. (NBCNewYork.com) In Washington, deputy director of the Office of Legal Counsel in the District of Columbia’s mayoral office, George Valentine, died from the virus. Valentine was earlier D.C. deputy attorney general. (National Law Journal)

  • President Trump signed the $2 trillion stimulus package, the biggest in U.S. history. (BLAW) Jenner’ & Block litigation partner Neil Barofsky, who was President Obama’s special inspector general under the Troubled Asset Relief Program during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, said processes and procedures to decide who gets money and who doesn’t will be “extraordinarily important.” (National Journal)

  • As the Covid-19 shutdown slams their businesses, top in-house lawyers at Marriott, Cheesecake Factory, and other companies are getting their compensation slashed. (BLAW)

  • Big Law firms have been adding bankruptcy attorneys since well before the Covid-19 crisis, and now those attorneys are getting ready for a flood of work. (BLAW)

  • Electronic discovery-focused legal tech company Disco announced layoffs that it attributed to “the coronavirus and economic uncertainty.” “Local insiders” estimated around 75 people lost their jobs. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • The U.K.'s largest listed firm, DWF, issued a profit warning and is seeking a credit increase because of the pandemic. Listed firm Knights last week announced salary cuts while listed firms Ince, Gateley and Keystone canceled dividend payments. (Global Legal Post)

  • Latham & Watkins of counsel Jonathan Lippman, a former New York chief judge, is leading the New York State Bar Association’s effort to organize, with the court system, a pro bono network to help with the legal response to Covid-19. The bar said it expects enormous “pent-up demand” to be unleashed when creditors, landlords, and others go to court after the economy is restarted. (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • With so many lawyers working remotely because of Covid-19 pandemic, new technological habits could take root that change how law is practiced. For example, as intellectual property litigators and litigants get more comfortable using video conference technologies for remote hearings and depositions, that could have the extra benefit of reducing costs. (BLAW)

  • Meanwhile, another possible virus-inspired trend might be that Big Law firms, seeing their big expensive office spaces go empty, might decide to reduce their square footage the next time their leases come up for renewal. (American Lawyer)

  • Epstein Becker & Green, the 250-lawyer health-care and employment focused firm that hooked up with Deloitte Legal last year, is seeing “extremely high demand” during the Covid-19 crisis. (American Lawyer)

  • Dentons got hired by Japanese gaming industry billionaire Kazuo Okada in his fight with Bartlit Beck over that firm’s $54 million contingency for representing him in litigation with Wynn Resorts Ltd, which he co-founded. (American Lawyer)

  • Several Big Law attorneys made Hollywood Reporters latest listing of the top 100 Hollywood lawyers. (HollywoodReporter.com)

  • Cooley said it negotiated a $5 billion debt offering for tech company NVIDIA Corporation. (Seeking Alpha)

  • Proskauer Rose advised private investment firm Saddle Point Management, L.P. in its investment in Stericycle Inc., a medical waste company. (PE Hub)

Laterals, Moves

  • McGuireWoods’ London office added white-collar litigator and barrister Francesca Titus as a partner. Titus was previously at Fieldfisher. (McGuireWoods.com)

  • Also in London, Alston & Bird’s office in the city added structured finance lawyer James Fisher from Reed Smith as a partner. (Legal Business)


  • Walmart snagged a co-chair of Seyfarth Shaw’s wage-and-hour litigation practice, Alexander Passantino, as a senior director for U.S. labor and employment compliance. Passantino, a former Labor Department official, joins the retail giant as it prepares for Covid-19 related legal challenges. (BLAW)

  • AK Steel Holding Corp.'s top lawyer, Joe Alter, is leaving after 11 years at the company including six as its general counsel and corporate secretary. The Fortune 500 company was acquired for $3 billion by Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. earlier this month (Corporate Counsel)


  • U.K. elite firm Clifford Chance, with Singapore start-up Alpha LegalTech, launched text comparison tool called “CompareNow” in the Asia Pacific region. (CliffordChance.com)

  • Epic said all its systems are officially running again after the eDiscovery and managed-services company took all its global systems offline in late February in response to a ransom-ware attack. (Legaltech News)

Legal Education

  • The National Conference of Bar Examiners said it’s considering offering states a fall option to conduct the multistate bar exam. It’s also considering whether the exam scheduled for July 28 and 29 should go on as scheduled. (BLAW)

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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