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Wake Up Call: Simpson Thacher Sues NYC Landlord Over $8 Million in Rent

July 30, 2020, 12:16 PM

In today’s column, Indiana dropped plans for its online bar exam after problems with its software platform; the software company behind Michigan’s troubled online bar exam this week paid a $2.1 million settlement in 2015 in the multistate testing malfunction dubbed “Barmageddon”; Baker Botts is the latest firm to ease Covid-19 pay cuts, and to give performance bonuses, after doing better than it expected; Ropes & Gray launched a legal and consulting unit; the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law received a $1 million gift aimed at boosting diversity .

  • Leading off, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett filed an $8 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against its New York landlord, accusing it of refusing to take into account the firm’s right to rent abatement. (New York Lawyer) In Chicago, Jenner & Block is fighting its landlord in a dispute over millions in alleged unpaid rent. (BLAW)

  • ExamSoft Worldwide Inc., the software company that ran Michigan’s ill-starred online bar exam Tuesday, paid $2.1 million in 2015 to settle class action claims by test takers across multiple states who sued after encountering problems with its software during their exam. That case became known as “Barmageddon.” (Am Law Litigation Daily)

  • A day after Michigan’s online bar exam got hit by a cyber-attack, Indiana decided to ditch plans for its own online exam, citing problems with its ILG-based platform. The state said it will conduct its bar via an Aug. 4 open book test via email. Florida is planning to use the same platform that Indiana has now abandoned, legal blog ATL reported. (Above the Law)

  • Baker Botts is the latest Big Law firm to say it’s reducing pay cuts for non-partner lawyers and staff that it made early in the Covid-19 crisis, because business has been better than expected. The Houston-based firm is also awarding interim performance bonuses for non-partner lawyers. (Above the Law)

  • If Big Law firms try to emulate virtual firms by having partners work from home, that’s the easy part. Matching virtual firms’ compensation model will likely be more difficult. (BLAW)

  • Investors in 2020’s first half brought the fewest number of class action lawsuits since 2016 as Covid-19 took a toll, according to a new report. (BLAW)

  • Meanwhile, over 200 casualty-relevant Covid-19 lawsuits have been filed against corporate defendants in U.S. courts this year, according to data from a risk analytics and modeling company for the insurance industry. (Reinsurance News)

  • Law firms are scouring the field to hire experienced bankruptcy and corporate restructuring attorneys, but most of the rest of the attorney job market has been pretty dismal. (BLAW)

  • In-house hiring has slowed during the pandemic. Although there’s still demand for key jobs in corporate legal departments, employers have become very choosy, because it’s a buyers’ market right now, this report says. (Corporate Counsel)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A federal judge in California earlier this month declined to certify two law firms in a class action against Robinhood Financial LLC, citing “a lack of diversity in the proposed lead counsel.” The move was seen as an effort to improve diversity in the legal profession, but it also drew criticism. (BLAW)

  • Another U.K. firm had strong revenues despite the pandemic. Taylor Wessing posted its third-straight year of global revenue growth, with a 7.6% gain, to 356 million pounds ($463 million), for the fiscal year that ended April 30. Its profits per equity partner dropped 6.5% to 612,640 pounds, but that’s still its second-best ever. (Global Legal Post)

  • Cooley said it’s launching an Asian version of its six-year-old Cooley Go resource center for entrepeneurs. (Cooley.com)

  • Bressler, Amery & Ross launched a national investment advisory practice group aimed at servicing both federally and state registered advisers. (Bressler.com)

  • As Oracle Corp. fights a shareholder lawsuit accusing the company of misleading investors about its diversity policies, it’s getting defended by Orrick while Morrison & Foerster is defending its board. (The Recorder)

  • A New York federal appeals court ruled that actress Ashley Judd, represented by Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutros, can proceed with her sexual-harassment claim against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Fenwick & West advised drug developer Nurix Therapeutics on its $209 million initial public offering. (GlobeNewswire.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • McDermott Will & Emery hired FDA regulatory and life sciences IP lawyer Brian Malkin as a partner in its health industry advisory group in Washington. (MWE.com)

In-house

  • Robinhood Markets Inc. hired another WilmerHale partner who worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission. This time it’s Lucas Moskowitz, a former chief of staff to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. Moskowitz joins as deputy general counsel for regulatory, litigation, and government affairs. (BLAW)

  • Mad Engine, a San Diego-based licensed apparel and accessories company, hired experienced in-house leader and former Big Law attorney Noah Steinsapir as its new top lawyer. He’s been an associate at Mayer Brown, Venable, and McDermott Will & Emory, and arrives most recently from Hybrid Apparel, where he was general counsel. (PR Newswire)

  • Houston-based CenterPoint Energy Inc. promoted deputy GC Monica Karuturi to senior vice president and general counsel. She’s been at the company about six years and is a former Baker Botts associate. (BizWomen)

Technology

  • Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky said a new hacker-for-hire mercenary group is mainly targeting law firms and fintech companies in Europe. (ZDNet)

  • Ropes & Gray launched a global data analytics consulting unit, R&G Insights Lab. (RopesGray.com)

  • As the pandemic boosts reliance on video communication platforms, organizations are still working on information governance policies to deal with the increased data. (Legaltech News)

Legal Education

  • The University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law said it received a $1 million endowed gift from the Rosalie and Harold Rae Brown Charitable Foundation to enhance the law school’s diversity efforts. (StreetInsider.com)

  • Fordham Law said that starting this August its Master of Studies in Law in corporate compliance program will also be available in fully online format. (Fordham.edu)

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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