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Wake Up Call: Sullivan Cromwell Starts 2022 With New Leaders

Jan. 4, 2022, 1:27 PM

In today’s column, high pay wasn’t enough to keep burned-out associates from quitting firms flooded with deal work last year; a California federal court district halted jury trials for three weeks because of omicron-variant Covid-19’s surge; Latham & Watkins picked up three intellectual property partners in Dallas and Washington.

  • Leading off, Sullivan & Cromwell said its vice chairs Robert Giuffra and Scott Miller, named a year ago, took over as the firm’s co-chairs Jan. 1. They replace Joseph C. Shenker, who step down after serving as chair since 2010. Giuffra, a litigator who clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, has been at the firm 32 years. He and Miller, a corporate partner who’s been at the firm 35 years, both plan to continue practicing. Shenker will continue his transactional practice and his work on the firm’s management committee as senior chair. (Businesswire) (WSJ)
  • California’s Central District halted jury trials for three weeks, the first California federal court district to halt proceedings because of omicron. (The Recorder) Kent Zimmerman, partner at legal consultancy Zeughauser Group, said Goldman Sachs Group’s recent decision to tell employees to work from home until Jan. 18 will likely accelerate a trend of U.S. law firms making similar decisions. (Twitter)
  • Despite big pay hikes and bonuses, associates quit elite law firms in large numbers last year due to heavy workloads and long hours handling a deal boom. (Financial Times) Powered by record revenue and profits, London-based law firms made 26% more partner hires in 2021 than in 2020, a report finds. (City A.M.)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Irell & Manella matched the Cravath/Davis Polk scale of a combined $138,000 in year-end and special bonuses for 2021. It’s also offering an extra “good year December bonus” that goes up to $30,000, depending on seniority year. (Above The Law) Several Big Law firms have yet to announce associate year-end bonuses. (Above The Law)
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is launching a new unit in Germany to handle major mass claims litigation and it plans to open four new offices in the country in 2022’s first half. (Reuters) Armstrong Teasdale said it opened its first office in Florida, acquiring Miami litigation boutique Waldman Barnett and its 12 attorneys and staff. The St. Louis-based firm, which has 370-plus lawyers overall nationwide, is the latest out-of-state firm to open in the fast-growing Miami market. (ArmstrongTeasdale.com)
  • Boyd Gaming Corp, a casino and hospitality company, was fined $150,000 by the Indiana Gaming Commission for failing to tell regulators about an investigation into a sex scandal involving its now-former general counsel, Brian Larson. (Corporate Counsel) Fox Rothschild partner Kimia Klein reportedly filed to quit representing music producer Stevie J in his divorce with R&B singer Faith Evans. Klein cited an “irremediable breakdown” in attorney client relationship. (Atlanta Black Star)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Winston & Strawn grabbed three intellectual property partners in Dallas and Washington to start the year. It poached patent litigator Brian Ferguson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he was co-head of the patent litigation group. Ferguson joins as a partner in Washington; Winston added intellectual property litigators Barry Shelton and Bradley Coburn in Dallas. Shelton is a former Pillsbury partner and Coburn was a Dykema member. They most recently were co-founders of Austin-based IP and technology law boutique Shelton Coburn LLP. (Winston.com)
  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius recruited Securities and Exchange Commission veteran Erin Martin, recently legal branch chief in the SEC’s corporation finance division, as a partner in Washington; Dechert hired Clare Putnam Pozos, former Pennsylvania first assistant U.S. Attorney, as a litigation partner in Philadelphia; Willkie Farr & Gallagher brought in Munger Tolles private funds partner David Hong as a partner in Los Angeles; Withersworldwide hired aviation finance lawyer Paul Jebely as senior partner in Hong Kong and head of its new global asset finance practice. Jebely recently left Pillsbury, where he was co-chair of that firm’s private wealth and asset finance practices and Hong Kong office managing partner. (Withersworldwide.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: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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