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Wake Up Call: Ropes & Gray to Spin Off Patent Practice

March 8, 2017, 1:05 PM

• Boston-based Ropes & Gray plans to spin off about 100 lawyers and staff over the next couple of months in a major restructuring aimed at creating a new patent prosecution practice firm. Joseph Giuliano, co-head of Ropes & Gray’s IP rights management practice in New York, will head the as-yet-unnamed firm. ( Am Law Daily )

• President Donald Trump announced 26 additions to the White House Counsel team, with 15 attorneys coming from large law firms. Most of the lawyers came from Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis, four from each firm. ( BLB )

• The House is poised to pass three bills this week championed by industry that may tilt the civil litigation process in favor of business in thousands of cases each year. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• The Central Intelligence Agency’s hackers have developed tools letting them break into devices, ranging from smart phones to televisions, to monitor conversations and messages, according to documents released by WikiLeaks. ( Bloomberg ) The news that smart TVs can be used for spying is more bad news for beleaguered Samsung. ( Bloomberg )

Law Firm Business

• Blank Rome hit the gas in 2016, adding more than 100 lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro and luring lateral hires from several competitors. It posted a 22.5 percent gain in gross revenue, to $422.5 million, and expanded profits per equity partner by 2.2 percent, to $910,000. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• A Holland & Knight partner advised the seller in the $87 million sale of One Financial Plaza, a 28-story Class A office tower in downtown Fort Lauderdale, in the city’s first major office deal of the year. ( Daily Business Review )

• A guide to the Washington, D.C., law firms who will be showing their clients through the “bog” of the Trump Administration. ( American Lawyer )

• Greenberg Traurig posted gross revenue growth of 4.2 percent, to $1.37 billion, in 2016, while profits per equity partner grew 4.7 percent to $1.5 million. But after chugging ahead in another steady year, the soon-to-be half-century-old firm plans to focus on efficiency and profitability. ( Daily Business Review )

• Morgan Lewis & Bockius said it launched a new remote policy that lets associates work from home for as much as two days per week starting May 1. ( The Lawyer )

Legal Market

• Fellow plaintiffs lawyers let Boston attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan have it last summer over her now-rejected $84 million settlement with Uber Technologies Inc. Now Liss-Riordan is dishing out the criticism, as she tries to shoot down a separate, much-smaller, deal the company made to fend off claims under California’s so-called “bounty hunter” law. As other California attorneys enter the fray, the tone has gotten nasty. ( The Recorder )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Kramer Levin’s Jeffrey Trachtman has been working on LGBT rights’ litigation for long enough to see the silver lining in every setback. So when the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would not hear a major case on transgender rights, Trachtman — who filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of U.S. religions and clergy members that advocate for equal treatment of transgender people, saw it as a mere “detour.” ( BLB )

• In a pair of decisions, Intellectual Ventures I LLC failed to persuade a federal appeals court to resurrect several patents used to sue Capital One Financial Corp. and Erie Indemnity Co. The cases reflect the continuing difficulty of defending software-related patents from validity challenges. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

Laterals and Moves

• Morrison & Foerster hired another ex-federal government attorney with national security expertise, for its new global risk and crisis management practice. ( Am Law Daily )

• New Jersey-headquartered firm Scarinci Hollenbeck said it hired three lawyers for its New York office. They include two former Baker & Hostetler intellectual property lawyers, David Einhorn as chairman of the firm’s technology practice and Eugene Lieberstein, as of counsel. Richard Klar, who was running his own Long Island-based law office, will also be of counsel, the firm said. ( Am Law Daily )


• U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s first dozen tweets on his new personal twitter account, @PreetBharara, mixed humor with serious subjects. ( Associated Press )

• As Trump cracks down on immigration, asylum seekers have found a new use for the automated app DoNotPay, originally developed by a Stanford student to help people get out of parking tickets. But the app can’t replace expert advise, warns an official from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.( Legaltechnews )

Legal Education

• The University of Pennsylvania Law School said it has received $2.2 million from the Charles Koch Foundation to establish a new criminal justice research initiative. Since April, the foundation has donated nearly $20 million to five law schools. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• Baylor University School of Law is requiring students to take at least 18 hours of professional development seminars, given by practicing lawyers, during their three years at the school. The innovative program fits into a nationwide trend of law schools emphasizing the development of students’ professional identities as lawyers. ( Texas Lawyer )


• The woman challenging the $25 million Trump University settlement is a Fort Lauderdale personal bankruptcy lawyer who appeared in political ads opposing Donald Trump. ( Daily Business Review )

• If an alcoholic lawyer can “function” at a high level, what’s the problem? ( )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.