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Wake Up Call: Simpson Thacher to Open Brussels Office

Feb. 1, 2021, 1:45 PM

In today’s column, several Big Law litigators are advising in a minor league baseball team’s $20 million lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees; Hunton Andrews Kurth hired a former D.C. Circuit judge whose retirement last year caused some debate; international lawyers say big corporations, worried about fallout from China’s crackdown in Hong Kong, are asking about cutting the financial center out of legal contracts; in California, jury deliberations started in the first U.S. virtual patent trail.

  • Leading off, Wall Street firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett said it plans to open an office in Brussels this summer to help companies deal with Brexit. “In the wake of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, companies in the region and around the globe will face continued challenges in navigating an evolving legal framework,” said Bill Dougherty, chairman of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee in a statement. He said the new office will complement the firm’s London presence and focus on advising clients on European merger control and competition law and regulations concerning foreign direct investment before the European Commission, the European Courts and EU member states. The expansion follows the firm’s poaching of prominent London-based antitrust lawyer Antonio Bavasso from Allen & Overy last year. (Businesswire.com)
  • Parties to a $20 million lawsuit pitting Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees against a defunct minor league team in Staten Island have enlisted top litigators from Sullivan & Cromwell, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. (Yahoo!Sports)
  • Mounting concerns about the impact of China’s crackdown in Hong Kong have pushed large corporations to consider writing the financial center out of their legal contracts, international business lawyers said. (Financial Times)
  • Davis Wright Tremaine’s Covid-19 vaccine plan could pave the way for other Big Law firms as the vaccines become more widely available. (BLAW)
  • BakerHostetler launched an interactive state-by-state vaccination rollout guide, to help pharmacies and health care providers navigate states’ various regulatory approaches to the jabs. (BakerLaw.com)
  • After closing arguments ended Friday, jurors in California started deliberating in the first fully remote patent trial held in the U.S. (The Recorder) Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, hard hit by the pandemic, an in-person civil trial opened. (The Recorder)
  • Bar authorities plan few changes for virtual bar exams scheduled nationwide this month despite complaints that the first-ever remote tests last year falsely tagged hundreds of prospective lawyers for potential cheating, among other technical problems. (BLAW)

Biden Administration, Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • After a disagreement with his lawyers, Former President Donald Trump has changed his legal team for his upcoming Senate impeachment trial. (Politico)
  • The Georgia State Bar asked controversial Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood to undergo a mental health evaluation, or risk disbarment. (Above the Law)
  • A court ordered Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which recently cut ties with Trump’s real estate company, to hand over records of communications to New York investigators looking into whether the business manipulated the value of assets for loans and tax breaks. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • Jones Day alums of the Trump administration appear to be landing on their feet, while Kirkland & Ellis alums don’t seem to be doing as well, writes a columnist. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Boies Schiller Flexner lost another high profile litigator, among the dozens it has lost in the last year. (BLAW) Meanwhile, the firm’s founder, David Boies, is looking to stem the tide of exits by recruiting partners from rivals and targeting smaller firms for possible acquisition. (BLAW)
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney promoted in-house for its new chief talent officer role. Squire Patton Boggs hired a law-firm focused management consultant to fill a similar role it created. The moves are part of an emerging trend as some Big Law firms try to do more of their recruitment in-house. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • A Trump-connected New York City-based real estate firm, Belkin Burden Goldman, has signed one of the year’s biggest law firm leases in the city, in Manhattan’s One Grand Central Place. (Real Estate Weekly)
  • Judges should stop “inhumane, degrading treatment” by court officers toward litigants of color in their courtrooms, Paul, Weiss partner Jeh Johnson told a New York State Bar Association annual meeting last week. Johnson, a former Homeland Security Department chief, is conducting an independent review of racial bias in the New York state court system. (New York Law Journal)
  • Nixon Peabody launched a dedicated state attorneys general practice team. (NixonPeabody.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth said retired D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith joined the firm as a special counsel in Washington focused on appellate litigation. (HuntonAK.com)
  • Dechert added real estate transactions lawyer Craig Brown as a partner in its global finance practice in New York, focusing on commercial real estate. According to his LinkedIn profile, Brown arrives after 21 years at Duval & Stachenfeld. (Dechert.com)
  • Snell & Wilmer hired bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency lawyer Bryce Suzuki as a partner in Phoenix. Suzuki arrives from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, where he was managing partner of the Phoenix office. (SWLaw.com)
  • Skadden, Arps poached energy transactions lawyer Cody Carper from Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner in Houston. Carper is a former Kirkland partner and was an assistant general counsel at an oil & gas company earlier in his career. (Skadden.com)

In-House

  • U.K. Gambling Commission general counsel Natalie Prosser is leaving her job after only three months for a chief executive officer position at the U.K. Office for Environmental Protection. (Gov.uk) (Law.com International)

Legal Education

  • Sullivan & Worchester is taking applications until Feb. 15 for its “diversity transactional program” aimed at increasing the number of diverse attorneys in real estate law. The program will select a 1L summer associate who will spend half of the summer working in Sullivan’s Boston office and the other half working in-house at a client’s offices in the Greater Boston area. (SullivanLaw)

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