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Wake Up Call: Reed Smith Stops Professional Services Hires for 2020

June 8, 2020, 1:01 PM

In today’s column, an appeals court sent a Big Law attorney and another lawyer back to jail over an alleged Molotov attack during New York protests over the police killing of George Floyd; New York City law firms are stuck in lockdown mode while firms in other New York regions are cleared to start reopening; BakerHostetler grabbed Reed Smith’s global labor and employment practice chief in Houston; a cyber-security firm hired a longtime FBI assistant special agent as its new top lawyer; a decline in African-American applicants to law school this fall is significantly bigger than the overall decline.

  • Leading off, Reed Smith confirmed reports in London that it is freezing hires for all professional staff worldwide for the rest of 2020, in the latest cost-cutting move by a Big Law firm looking to reduce drains on liquidity during economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The firm in March slowed cash distributions to partners and last week announced pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. In an e-mailed statement today the firm said, “Like the other management actions we have taken since the emergence of Covid-19, this is to ensure our business emerges from the pandemic in a position of strength.” It said the new measures do not apply to lawyers or partners. (TheLawyer.com) (Law.com International)

  • The U.S. legal sector gained 3,200 jobs between mid-April and mid-May, after losing 64,000 jobs the month before. (BLAW)

  • Latham & Watkins said revenue for its 450-lawyer capital markets practice jumped 25% in this year’s first quarter from the same period last year. In a recent conversation with Bloomberg Law, the firm’s corporate practice chair, Marc Jaffe, and capital markets practice leader, Ian Schuman, talked about handling that surge, working from home, and risks ahead for corporate finance, among other things. (BLAW)

  • Although law firms in most regions of New York state have a green light to start returning to their offices, in New York City, the largest legal market in the U.S., hundreds of physical law firm offices are still stuck in quarantine mode. (New York Law Journal)

  • As some law firms seem to be getting comfortable with remote work and consider continuing to use it after Covid-19 lockdowns end, a new survey finds office users believe art work in the office makes them work more creatively and effectively. (Law.com International)

  • Federal courthouses around the nation are slowly starting to re-open after months of being shuttered, but some social distancing measures are causing concerns among defenders. (BLAW)

  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is hosting a June 10 webinar looking at Covid-19’s long-term impact on society, environment, and economy. (Onlineexperiences.com)

The Legal Profession Reacts to George Floyd Protests

  • Suspended Pryor Cashman lawyer Colinford Mattis and his alleged sidekick in the firebombing of an NYPD vehicle are back in jail after an appeals judge granted a stay to prosecutors who wanted their bail revoked. (NBCNewYork.com)

  • The arrest of the Princeton-educated Mattis and human rights lawyer Urooj Rahman for the alleged firebombing during the George Floyd protests surprised people who knew them. (NYT)

  • Larry James, top lawyer to the Fraternal Order of Police, is always ready for the question of how he reconciles his job with being an African-American. (BLAW)

  • Some Washington lawyers and legal groups are offering free help to arrested protesters. (Washingtonian.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Two former Obama civil rights lawyers caused some surprise when they joined Morgan Lewis as management-side worklaw attorneys last year, but they said their new roles let them help companies change from the inside. (BLAW)

  • New Jersey-headquartered Cole Schotz’s shareholders elected Hackensack-based Warren A. Usatine co-managing shareholder, working with co-managing shareholders Samuel Weiner and Michael D. Sirota. Usatine, who started at the firm right out of law school, is co-chair of its litigation department and a member in its bankruptcy & corporate restructuring department. (ColeSchotz.com)

  • New virtual law firm Beeman Muchmore, formed by two Big Law intellectual property veterans, combines a microspecialty IP practice: resolving licensing disputes over enterprise resource planning software. (The Recorder)

  • A black former associate accusing Davis Polk & Wardwell of bias and retaliation made a new filing in the case in New York federal court. (BLAW)

  • Four female lawyers, including two former Big Law partners, started Paris boutique Medici, specializing in international arbitration and business litigation. (LeMondeduDroit.com)

  • Amazon.com got advice from Davis Polk for its $10 billion bond offering for which it got record-low rates. (DavisPolk.com)

  • Proskauer advised Arkema Inc., a France-based specialty chemicals and advanced materials multinational, on a long-term partnership with agricultural company Nutrien Ltd., in which Nutrien will supply a key raw material for production of fluoropolymers and fluorgases to an Arkema site in Kentucky. (SeekingAlpha.com)

  • Covington & Burling represented Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company UCB in its acquisition, for up to $270 million, of Engage Therapeutics, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing a treatment for rapid termination of an active epileptic seizure. New Jersey-based Engage was advised by Morgan Lewis. (BioSpace.com)

Pro Bono

  • Dechert and the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee teamed up to win a Tennessee court ruling last week that the state must make absentee voting available to every eligible voter for all elections in 2020. (ACLU-tn.org)

Laterals, Moves

  • Barnes & Thornburg added business and technology litigator John Moye as a partner in Atlanta, the firm’s eighth attorney to join that office this year. Earlier in his career he was a Forbes reporter. According to his LinkedIn, he arrives from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, where he was counsel. (BTLaw.com)

  • Clark Hill named trial lawyer Tim Flaherty member-in-charge of its San Francisco office. He was San Francisco managing partner at Morris Polich & Purdy, which merged with Clark Hill in 2017. He’s a former mayor of Pleasant Hill, California. (ClarkHill.com)

  • DLA Piper announced new members for its U.S. executive committee and global board. (DLAPiper.com)

In-house

  • Cyber Defense Labs, an information security service provider, hired longtime FBI assistant special agent in charge Steven Carlotto as general counsel and member of the company’s executive team. (Enterprise Talk)

Legal Education

  • African-American applicants to law school are down 4.9% this year, compared with a 3.2% decline overall, according to recent data on the fall 2020 admissions cycle. (TaxProf Blog) (AbovetheLaw.com)

  • The American Bar Association’s upcoming continuing legal education events include one on July 15: “Underrepresented Representatives: How to Navigate a Profession that Does Not Look like You.” (AmericanBar.org)

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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