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Wake Up Call: Squire Poaches Curtis Team for New Milan Office

Jan. 23, 2020, 1:24 PM

In today’s column, Joel Katz, the Greenberg Traurig shareholder accused of sexual harassment this week, refuted the allegations made by the ousted leader of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz shortened its name; and Big Law firms are rolling climate-branded practices.

  • Leading off, Squire Patton Boggs said it’s opening an office in Milan, Italy, its 15th location in Europe and 45th worldwide. The office starts out with a team of four partners poached from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, bringing expertise in cross border disputes and transactions, with a particular focus in energy law and representing African countries in major international arbitrations. Galileo Pozzoli, who was Italy managing partner at his former firm and a member of its European management committee, will serve as Milan managing partner for Squire and have responsibility for Squire’s Italian practice. He will also work with Peter Stewart, who recently joined the firm in London, to coordinate the firm’s Africa practice. The team also includes Daniela Sabelli, Ian Tully, and Fabrizio Vismara. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)

  • Greenberg Traurig shareholder Joel Katz, the founder of the firm’s entertainment practice and its Atlanta office, “categorically” denied sexual harassment allegations made against him earlier this week by Deborah Dugan, the former CEO and president of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammy Awards. Katz’ lawyer, Howard Weitzman in Los Angeles, responded to claims Dugan made in an EEOC complaint against the academy. (Daily Report)

  • Litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, a key litigation firm representing Bayer AG in the Monsanto Roundup trials, said it’s shortening name to Wilkinson Walsh after the separate departures of a name partner and another founding partner. (The Recorder)

  • As investors, activists, and politicians increasingly pressure businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, Big Law firms are rolling out climate-change branded practices. (BLAW)

  • California Democrat Representative Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, said President Trump’s legal team had to hire outside criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to make the argument that abuse of power is not impeachable, because no constitutional law expert was willing to make that argument. (National Law Journal) (NYT)

  • Trump’s inaugural committee violated nonprofit laws by “grossly” overpaying for 2017 events held at a hotel owned by his family business, according to a lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia’s attorney general. (Bloomberg News)

  • The University of California Board of Regents delayed a planned vote on a proposal that would increase tuition at four major law schools. (Law.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • McDermott Will & Emery hired Latin America tax and transactions specialist Manuel Rajunov as a partner in Dallas. He arrives from Greenberg Traurig. (MWE.com)

  • Public relations firm Baretz+Brunelle said it launched a “New Law” practice that will advise law firms and other legal organizations on how to market themselves in a market in which corporations are changing the way they buy legal services. (BaretzBrunelle.com)

  • Indiana until recently had largely missed out on the legal profession’s hot merger market. But of the six biggest tie-ups announced in 2019, three involved Indiana connected firms, according to a report. (The Indiana Lawyer)

  • Dechert is holding a Jan. 29 webinar to discuss its latest annual report on the duration and number of significant U.S. and EU merger reviews, and other observations about recent merger-related trends. (Dechert.com)

Deals

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher is advising London-based IK Investment Partners on negotiations to sell its majority stake in Exxelia, a manufacturer of components in the space and defense industries, to French investment fund HLD Europe. (News.Cision.com)

  • Hogan Lovells advised Boulder, Colorado-based Vexcel Imaging, Inc. in an agreement to acquire assets from data analytics provider Verisk. The companies say the deal will make the largest geospatial image library. (Daily Camera) A New Jersey federal jury in September 2019 hit Verisk with an at least $125 million verdict for allegedly infringing aerial-imaging patents owned by Eagle View Technologies Inc. (BN via BLAW)

  • Deal update: Proskauer Rose advised Kelsey-Seybold Clinic on its strategic partnership with private equity firm TPG Capital, aimed at expanding its accountable care model. TPG was represented by Sidley Austin and agreed to invest an undisclosed amount to fund an expansion of Kelsey’s services and locations in the Houston area. (Houston Chronicle)

  • Milbank advised initial purchasers in connection with a $350 million bond offering by Latin American oil and gas explorer, operator, and consolidator GeoPark Limited. (Milbank)

Laterals, Moves

  • K&L Gates’s New York office added its second partner this week, grabbing asset management and investment funds partner Yasho Lahiri from DLA Piper after getting corporate partner Steven M. Olenick from from Loeb & Loeb earlier this week. (KLGates.com)

  • Morrison & Foerster added veteran trial lawyer Jessica Grant as a partner in San Francisco in its class actions and mass torts practice group. She’s a two-time California Lawyer of the Year Award winner and arrives from Venable. (Mofo.com)

  • Intellectual property firm Finnegan promoted seven attorneys (1 woman) to partner across the firm’s Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Palo Alto and Reston, Virginia, offices. (Finnegan.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • A group of sexual abuse survivors urged a court to dismiss USA Gymnastics’ Chapter 11 case, arguing that the sport’s governing body is using bankruptcy protections to avoid public scrutiny and delay litigation over an alleged organizational cover-up. (BLAW) Jenner & Block and others are representing USA Gymnsatics. (WaPo)

Technology

  • Management-side worklaw firm Littler gave its first ingenuity and innovation award named after one of the firm’s pioneering founders to a team that developed a concept for a Littler mobile app for tackling issues related to the retention and advancement of diverse lawyers. (Littler.com)

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