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Wake Up Call: Talent Shortage Hits California Firms’ Wallets

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:37 PM

In today’s column, litigation firm Keller Lenkner got hit by a data breach, a report from London says; Johnson & Johnson said it has settled most of around 9,000 lawsuits it faced over anti-psychotic drug Risperdal; lawyers from three Big Law firms are collaborating on the civil lawsuit against alleged White Nationalist organizers of the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.

  • Leading off, the war for legal talent is hitting San Francisco Bay area law firms especially hard, with most firms forced to turn down work because of a shortage of corporate associates, a report says. The shortage is affecting firms’ results “to the tune of tens of millions of dollars,” said one observer. (The Recorder) Law firms are enjoying a new “golden age” for performance but “talent anxiety” at the same time, speakers on a recent panel said. (Reuters) The hot recruiting markets is hastening the end of the five-day in-office week, recruiters said. (Daily Business Review)
  • Although spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 appears to be slowing, in-person court proceedings are still a challenge. (
  • Chicago-headquartered plaintiffs law firm Keller Lenkner, which has also offices in the U.K., is the latest law firm hit by a data breach, U.K. legal publication The Lawyer reported. In a statement emailed to Bloomberg Law Monday, Keller Lenkner’s U.K. office said that “due to user error, an individual was able to access a Keller Lenkner user account to distribute phishing emails to the compromised account’s contact list. No data from Keller Lenkner servers was downloaded or distributed externally, and no client data was exposed during this breach.” (The Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Johnson & Johnson said in a filing that it has resolved most of around 9,000 lawsuits it faces over anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, which allegedly caused young men to grow breasts. The company reported $800 million in expenses from the cases. (Reuters) A lawsuit stemming from Alec Baldwin’s accidental shooting of a cinematographer would likely target the movie’s production company, Baldwin, and the other producers. (Texas Lawyer) Another report says the case may not produce a big litigation verdict. (
  • U.K. Big Law firm Mishcon de Reya was fined £25,000 ($34,124) for allowing payments to agents involved in soccer transfer deals to be routed through its client’s bank account. (Financial Times)
  • Lawyers from Cooley, Paul Weiss, and Kaplan Hecker are collaborating on the civil lawsuit against alleged White Nationalist organizers of the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. (National Law Journal) Hogan Lovells, with civil rights groups, served as pro bono counsel in a lawsuit challenging the North Carolina Legislature’s process for drawing new N.C. House and Senate voting maps; Foley & Lardner lawyers working pro bono won the release of prisoner serving life without parole, the firm said. (
  • A Missouri lawyer who, with his wife, gained fame for waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters is running for state Senator and taking a hard-line anti-abortion stance. (Kansas City Star)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Reed Smith hired corporate trust lawyers Paulette Mastin from Linklaters as a partner and Paul Regan as counsel in London in its financial industry group. Regan arrives from Bank of New York Mellon; Dechert got back Milbank global finance lawyer Jon Burke as a partner in New York, advising on matters related to structured credit and collateralized loan obligations. He was at the firm earlier in his career; O’Melveny & Myers hired Seoul-based cross-border M&A and private equity lawyer Woojae Kim as a partner. He’s New York-bar admitted and was a partner at Paul Hastings, which he helped set up a Seoul office in 2012. (
  • DLA Piper-affiliated Brazilian firm Campos Mello added environmental, social, governance lawyer Ana Paula Chagas, who advises on renewable energy, infrastructure and mining industries, and agribusiness, as a partner in Sao Paulo; Manatt hired pro bono attorney Alexandra McCown in New York. She was previously a senior staff attorney at Safe Passage Project, a nonprofit legal services organization that represents refugee and immigrant children. (Manatt)

Legal Education

  • The U.S. Department of Education renewed the American Bar Association’s status as law school accreditor for another five years. (ABA Journal) Columbia Law School professors took 1L students on a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to teach a contract lesson. (New York Law Journal)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at