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Wake Up Call: Sidley, Perkins Coie Plan Office Returns

May 26, 2021, 12:12 PM

In today’s column, Deloitte Legal Italy absorbed a law boutique in Genoa; Amazon.com is getting sued by Washington, D.C.,for alleged anti-competitive practices; the Diversity Lab launched a pilot program to standardize and improve legal departments’ diversity requirements for their outside counsel.

  • Leading off, Sidley Austin and Perkins Coie on Tuesday became the latest Big Law firms to announce plans to return to the office after over a year of remote working because of the pandemic. Sidley told lawyers and staff it plans a “gradual and flexible transition” over the summer toward a Sept. 1 return date, after which it will preserve ability to work remotely as needed; meanwhile, Perkins Coie’s plans for an Oct. 1 return also allowing for some remote working. The firm encourages but doesn’t require getting vaccinated for Covid, while continuing to require wearing masks and social distancing in-office. (American Lawyer) Firms are taking different approaches to office returns for staff. (American Lawyer)
  • Big Four accounting firms are slowly growing their legal businesses. This week, Deloitte took another step into the Italian legal market, with its Deloitte Legal unit absorbing a law boutique, effective June 1, adding a maritime and transport law department in the city of Genoa. (Law.com International) Deloitte Legal has made several expansions in recent years, partnering with U.S. workplace law firm Epstein Becker Green in 2019, buying a London law firm and expanding in Mexico. Earlier in May, KPMG formed a global partnership with another U.S. worklaw firm, Ogletree Deakins. (BLAW)
  • Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Amazon.com Inc. for alleged anti-competitive practices that have raised prices for consumers. (BLAW) Racine’s complaint lists lawyers from law firm Hausfeld representing D.C. in the case. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The Diversity Lab announced a new pilot program aimed at standardizing and strengthening diversity requirements that legal departments impose on their outside counsel. The group said the new Move the Needle Fund Diversity Dividends Collective is starting out with 15 corporate legal departments participating . (Corporate Counsel)
  • A year after the police killing of George Floyd set off protests around the country, many law firms still have no black partners. (American Lawyer)
  • Katten Muchin’s new survey of investment pros on their outlook for special purpose acquisition companies finds that, despite some recent stumbles, they expect SPAC IPO activity to be strong through at least next year. (Katten.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Boston-founded Mintz got former Katten Muchin litigation partner Jason Vigna as a member in its securities litigation practice; Arent Fox recruited veteran Canadian international trade and investment lawyer Riyaz Dattu to lead its Canada practice, working out of New York and Washington; Womble Bond Dickinson added veteran real estate, land use and environmental attorney Greg Sampson as a partner in Boston; Greenspoon Marder added two lawyers to its construction, real estate and litigation practice groups in New York, getting partner Carol Sigmond and associate Joshua Deal. (GMLaw.com)
  • Cooley poached technology transactions lawyer Tracy Rubin from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She helped advise on LinkedIn’s $26.2 billion sale to Microsoft; game developer and publisher FunPlus hired in-house veteran Dianne Schepers as general counsel Europe based in Zug, Switzerland; GoExpedi, an e-commerce, supply chain and analytics company, hired Big Law alum and former energy company in-house lawyer Julie Gremillion as general counsel; Epiq, a technology-enabled e-discovery and bankruptcy services provider, said it’s formalizing and expanding its dedicated antitrust practice group for legal business services. The practice is led by e-discovery expert Erin Toomey, who recently joined from Ankura Consulting Group. (Epiqglobal.com)
  • Nixon Peabody named longtime worklaw partner Stacie Collier, former co-chair of its labor & employment practice, to be the firm’s first-ever chief talent officer; Brown Rudnick recruited Venable senior business development director Julia Bennett as its chief marketing officer in Washington. Bennett was a Big Law corporate associate earlier in her career. (Brown Rudnick)

Technology

  • Wilson Sonsini is hooking up with Finland-based doc automation platform, Contract Mill, for the firm’s “Build-A-Bot” program for summer associates. (Artificial Lawyer) Lawyers joining crypto companies’ in-house departments are drawn by the opportunity to participate in building a new “mainstream financial system that is being built.” (Corporate Counsel)

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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