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Wake Up Call: Senate Impeachment ‘Whisperer’ Advising Roberts on Procedure

Jan. 13, 2020, 12:59 PM

In today’s column, the top lawyer at Google parent Alphabet is leaving in a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations, and Amway is getting sued over its pay practices in a new gig economy suit. Hogan Lovells announced new leadership in New York and other of its offices worldwide.

  • When Chief Justice John Roberts begins overseeing the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, he’ll be getting procedural advice from Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough. According to, the parliamentarian advises and assists on questions relating to the meaning and application of that chamber’s legislative rules, precedents, and practices. Before becoming the first woman to get that job, in 2012, MacDonough, a 1998 graduate of Vermont Law School, worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. (Politico) (Citizens Against Government Waste)

  • The chief legal officer of Google parent Alphabet Inc., David Drummond, is stepping down at the end of the month amid an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. He’s not getting an exit package, but he should be okay for funds, as he’s been selling millions of dollars in company stock during the past year. (BN via BLAW)

  • Hogan Lovells Friday named new leadership for its New York office. The firm’s labor and employment practice chief for the Americas, Michael DeLarco, takes over as office managing partner from international arbitration partner Ollie Armas, who has led the office since 2015. Litigation partner Lisa Fried is the office’s new administrative partner, taking over from Chris Donoho, who leads the firm’s global business restructuring and insolvency practice. The firm also announced several other office and practice leadership changes, including in Moscow, Boston, and Miami, and other cities. (

  • Two big firms advised as Eli Lilly & Co. agreed to a $1.1 billion deal to acquire biopharmaceutical company Dermira, which makes an experimental treatment for dermatitis. Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised Eli Lilly, while Fenwick & West advised Dermira. (Bloomberg News) (

  • Sidley Austin represented San Francisco-based Nurix Therapeutics, Inc. in a strategic collaboration with French pharma giant Sanofi SA to design protein degradation therapies to become part of Sanofi’s oncology treatments. The deal calls for Nurix to get $55 million up front and up to about $2.5 billion in total payments based on achieved milestones. (Endpoints) (

  • The NFL’s Washington Redskins said its general counsel and senior vice president Eric Schaffer, who’d been in charge of salary cap negotiations, has left. The team announced a new VP in charge of contract negotiations, but hasn’t announced a new top lawyer. No word on Schaffer’s next move. (Corporate Counsel)

  • The lawyers who recently got MAGA-hat wearing Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann his recent settlement with CNN are threatening legal action against a lawyer for other students in the case. (Daily Beast)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Dentons is looking for a foothold in Cleveland, which is “high” on the firm’s list of targeted markets, a report says. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

  • DLA Piper named Houston-based partner Drew Baldinger vice chair for M&A, joining M&A chair Jonathan Klein. The move was among several changes the firm announced Friday to its U.S. corporate practice sub-group and regional leadership. (

  • Carlton Fields named worklaw shareholder Lori Baggett the new managing shareholder of its Tampa office. She succeeds Tampa shareholder Luis “Lu” Prats, who served in the role for the past two years in addition to an earlier term that ended in 2006. He will continue his full-time practice at Carlton Fields as a construction attorney. (

  • Armstrong Teasdale added five lawyers and five professional staffers across four of its offices, in Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, and in its hometown of Saint Louis. (

  • San Francisco-based intellectual property firm Sideman & Bancroft opened an office in Paris, to be led by partner Béatrice Martinet, who’s previously been at Bird & Bird and a precursor firm of Dentons. (

  • San Francisco’s new district attorney Chesa Boudin fired at least seven prosecuting attorneys, including several managing attorneys in the office’s criminal division. (San Francisco Chronicle)


  • Deal update: Lowenstein Sandler advised American apparel company PVH on its $170 million sale of the Speedo North America business to Mayer Brown client Pentland Group, which is the parent company of Speedo International Limited. ( (

  • Cooley advised sustainable footwear startup Allbirds on a financing round of up to $75 million. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Dechert added commercial estate finance lawyer Barbara Shachnow to its global finance practice in New York as a partner. She arrives from Sullivan & Worcester with counsel Teresa Long. (

  • Ballard Spahr hired patent attorneys Kenneth H. Sonnenfeld and Margaret Bolce Brivanlou as partners in New York. And other recent moves at intellectual property firms and IP-related organizations. (BLAW)

  • Barnes & Thornburg added government relations pro Misty Holcomb in Atlanta as director of state government affairs-Georgia. According to her Linkedin, she was previously at McGuireWoods Consulting. (

  • California-based business and real estate firm Newmeyer Dillion promoted attorneys Michael Krueger and Jason Morris to partner. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Amway is getting sued over pay in a gig economy suit targeting its business model. (BN via BLAW)

  • American Life Insurance Co., advised by Boies Schiller Flexner, was unable to get a California federal judge to approve its $5.75 million wage settlement with a group of insurance-sales agents and trainees. A class objectors successfully argued that the deal favored the agents over the trainees. (BLAW)


  • Elevate Services is launching a unit focusing on digital transformation within corporate law departments and Big Law firms. (BLAW)

Legal Education

  • Harvard Law School is having a hard time getting some of its students to apply for federal clerkships with Trump-appointed judges. (

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