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Wake Up Call: Simpson Thacher Joins Firms Offering Covid Bonuses

Sept. 23, 2020, 12:24 PM

In today’s column, Big Law stints figured early in the careers of the women said to be high on President Trump’s list of candidates to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; 10 federal judges urged the Senate to wait until after the presidential inauguration to confirm a replacement for Ginsburg; a federal judge slammed a New York law firm over what he called “misleading” ads on Facebook’s biometric settlement in Illinois; a man accused of being a white supremacist is suing Twitter and its GC; a new BLAW series, “They’ve Got Next,” spotlights young lawyers who’ve made a splash in their practice areas.

  • Leading off, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Debevoise & Plimpton yesterday became the latest firms to offer special fall bonuses to thank associates for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises. The firms said associates will get bonuses ranging $7,500 to $40,000, depending on seniority. That’s the scale set last week by Davis Polk & Wardwell and matched by Sullivan & Cromwell, Milbank, L.A. firm Irell & Manella and litigation boutique Hueston Hennigan. (Above the Law) (BLAW)

  • Following most other firms, Debevoise and Simpson said their fall bonuses will not affect associates’ year-end bonuses. Sullivan & Cromwell has been silent on that point, according to reports. (American Lawyer)

  • Cooley started the Covid bonus wars early last week and was soon topped by Davis Polk and others. Kirkland & Ellis and litigation boutique Selendy & Gay opted out, telling their associates they’ll get their bonuses at year’s end, as usual. (BLAW)

  • European employers seem more open than U.S. companies about shifting their work forces to remote work to combat the spread of Covid-19, according to management-side worklaw firm Littler Mendelson. Littler’s recent survey of over 750 European employers on the long-term workplace changes they expect from the pandemic, among other observations, found that 80% of respondents said they are requiring or considering requiring more employees to work remotely. That compares with 50% of respondents saying that in Littler’s earlier survey of U.S. employers, the firm said. (

  • Dechert said its 2020 fall antitrust webinar series, starting Oct. 6, will, among other things, look at what if any impacts the pandemic has had on global merger enforcement, and at recent health care enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission. (

  • McGuireWoods Consulting is holding a Sept. 23 webinar on issues facing Texas retailers and manufacturers that plan to reopen from Covid-19 shutdowns. (


  • The five women President Trump is said to be considering to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court have worked in Big Law. For example, the reported front runner, circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, had a few years of associate experience at Baker Botts. Another possible nominee, federal appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa, worked as an associate at Greenberg Traurig and at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. (American Lawyer)

  • A group of 10 former federal judges urged the Senate to wait until the next U.S. president is inaugurated before confirming a replacement for Ginsburg. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s new dedicated hydrogen practice will be led by its energy industry group leader, Sheila Harvey, and Mona Dajani, head of the firm’s renewable energy practice and co-leader of its energy and infrastructure projects team. (BLAW)

  • Some of the country’s biggest and wealthiest law firms are getting in on the big money bonanza on advising special acquisition vehicle, or “blank-check,” initial public offerings. (BLAW)

  • A federal judge yesterday rebuked New York-based law firm Levi & Korsinsky for using what he called “deceptive and misleading” advertisements to get Illinois Facebook users to opt out of the social network’s $650 million settlement of charges that it misused facial recognition technology. (Courthouse News Service)

  • A new BLAW series, “They’ve Got Next,” spotlights young lawyers who’ve made a splash in their practice areas. (BLAW)

  • Proskauer said it represented private equity firm L Catterton on its $150 million investment in, Latin America’s top online travel agency. According to a statement, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised Despegar. (

  • Milan-based corporate firm Gatti Pavesi Bianchi said it’s merging with tax firm Ludovici Piccone & Partners effective Jan. 1, 2021. The new firm, Gatti Pavesi Bianchi Ludovici, will have 140 professionals, including 20 equity partners, with offices in Milan, Rome, London, Vienna, and Luxembourg, according to a statement. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Goldberg Segalla said Princeton-based labor and employment partner Caroline J. Berdzik was elected to the firm’s leadership committee. (

  • Eversheds Sutherland announced two new co-leaders of its global international arbitration practice: London-based partner Jonathan Leach and New York-based partner Meriam Nazih Al-Rashid. Leach has been the practice’s U.K. head since joining the firm in 2016 from Hogan Lovells. Al-Rashid joined Eversheds Sutherland in March from Dentons, where she was U.S. head of public international law and investment disputes. (

  • Distributed firm FisherBroyles added Winston & Strawn partner Paul Goulet as a partner in Washington in the firm’s intellectual property practice. Goulet, a former International Trade Commission attorney-advisor, has 20-plus years’ experience litigating before the commission, specializing in complex technology patent cases. He’s president-elect of the ITC Trial Lawyers Association. (

  • Detroit-based Honigman said Steptoe & Johnson partner Harold Fox will be managing partner of its new Washington office. Fox, who led Steptoe’s IP group for several years and recently headed its U.S. Patent and Trademark Office practice, has a law degree from Boston University and a chemistry doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (

  • Miami-based Akerman added two litigation partners earlier this summer in Los Angeles from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete. Sarah Kroll-Rosenbaum was an associate at Proskauer and Paul Weiss earlier in her career. According to her LinkedIn, Sayaka Karitani worked as a scientist at pharmaceutical giant Merck before beginning her legal career. (

  • Ice Miller hired municipal finance attorney Lauren Campbell in its public & municipal finance practice group. According to her LinkedIn, Campbell joins as of counsel in Chicago, arriving from Holland & Knight. (


  • Franklin Energy, an energy efficiency and grid optimization services company, hired veteran energy industry in-house leader Colin Owyang as its new general counsel. According to his LinkedIn, Burlington-based Owyang was most recently senior vice president and general counsel at Vermont Electric Power Company. He’s a former top lawyer at National Grid, former federal prosecutor in Boston, and former Massachusetts deputy attorney general. (


  • Twitter and its top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, are named in a New Jersey federal lawsuit alleging they failed to stop online harassment of a man accused of being a white supremacist. (New Jersey Law Journal)

  • The Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google could come soon. (WaPo)

Legal Education

  • A majority of law school admissions offices responding to a recent survey said that candidates who’ve taken the online Law School Admission Test will get the same consideration as those who’ve taken the traditional written LSAT. (

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