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Wake Up Call: SEC Awards Whistleblowers $50 Million in JPMorgan Settlement

March 27, 2019, 11:46 AM
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission said it awarded two whistleblowers a combined $50 million, including $37 million, its third-highest whistleblower award ever. The $37 million went to a tipster who provided documents “akin to ‘smoking gun’ evidence.” The agency didn’t identify the company involved or the people getting the awards. (BLAW) However, law firm Labaton Sucharow, which represents one of the whistleblowers, said they provided information that helped the agency win a $267 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over claims that the bank failed to inform wealthy clients of conflicts of interest in managing their money. (Bloomberg)

  • Morrison & Foerster advised Uber Technologies Inc. in its $3.1 billion acquisition of Middle Eastern ride-hailing competitor Careem Networks FZ, represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Careem shareholder Saudi Telecoms Company, according to a report. ( (Bloomberg)

  • An apparent legal proofreading mistake could prove costly for General Motors LLC. A judge ruled that GM, represented by Crowell & Moring, has to face an unhappy customer’s warranty claims over a bucking, jerking, truck, because the company’s new vehicle warranty lacks a key comma. (BLAW)

  • For better or worse, Boies Schiller Flexner keeps ending up in the spotlight. Its latest star turn came Monday, when it played a key role in the arrest of a lawyer Michael Avenatti--known for advising porn star Stormy Daniels--on charges that he allegedly extorted one of the firm’s clients, Nike Inc. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Proskauer said former co-chief of the U.S. Attorney’s general crimes unit in Manhattan, Hadassa Waxman, joined its New York office as a partner in the litigation department and a member of the white collar defense & investigations and securities litigation groups. ( Waxman is known for prosecuting the “cannibal cop” case. (New York Law Journal)

  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said bank industry in-house veteran Nick Podsiadly, the deputy general counsel and senior vice president at Fifth Third Bancorp, will become its top lawyer April 8. He’ll replace Charles Yi, who’s leaving at month’s end for as yet unknown reasons. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Holland & Knight’s executive partner for its Boston office, Steven Wright, was named the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s senior vice president and general counsel, to replace Cynthia Conley, who retired in December after a nearly 40-year career at the Fed. (Boston Globe)

Mueller Report

  • President Donald Trump’s lawyers were never really worried he could be charged with colluding with Russia, but obstruction charges against the president did worry them. (

  • Attorney General William P. Barr asserted that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe report does not contain evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. But so far he hasn’t released the report. (BLAW via BLB) Chairmen of six House committees want to see the report themselves. (NYT)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Four major law firms--Shearman & Sterling, Dorsey & Whitney, Reed Smith, and Jenner & Block-- which lost their leaders since 2012, subsequently saw their financial growth rates slow in the second and third years after the transition. And three of those firms saw their revenues decline by the third year. (American Lawyer)

  • Loeb & Loeb got a new chairman last year and added 41 lawyers, increasing headcount 12.6 percent, to 365 lawyers. Its gross revenue increased by 12.6 percent, too, to $344.91 million. Its profits per equity partner grew 2.1 percent, to $1.71 million, according to early data. (The Recorder)

  • The death of Dechert associate Cameron Schladenhauffen in February was ruled accidental by New York’s chief medical examiner. (American Lawyer)

  • JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution services provider, said it is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is moving into a larger resolution center in Orange Country, California, with more hearing space and enhanced technology. (

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Steptoe & Johnson LLP said international arbitrator and commercial litigator Chris Paparella joined the firm as a partner in New York. He arrives after 13 years at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, and before that spent nine years at Nixon Peabody, according to his LinkedIn. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Settlements in securities class actions piled up to $5 billion in 2018, according to a report. (

  • Purdue Pharma LP and the Sackler family will pay $270 million to settle Oklahoma’s claims that illegal marketing of the Oxycontin painkiller devastated local communities, an accord that could influence the results of thousands of lawsuits faced by the company and others. (BN via BLAW)

  • Washington federal Judge Richard Leon Monday entered a $353 million default judgment against Iran for its role in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp represents plaintiffs, including passengers and family members, in the civil case. (Allan, et. al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran. No. 1:17-cv-00338, DDC) (

Legal Education

  • Law students concerned with the use of mandatory arbitration agreements in law firm employment contracts are taking action this week to pressure law firms into eliminating the practice. (BLAW via BLB)

To contact the reporter on this story: To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at