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Wake Up Call: Tech CEOs Get Big Law Prep for Today’s House Hearing

July 29, 2020, 12:02 PM

In today’s column, a new American Bar Association report finds law school debt weighs heavily on young lawyers’ lives; Michigan’s online bar exam got hit by a cyber attack; two-thirds of tech-company top lawyers in a recent survey said they’re bogged down in “low value” work; a U.K. tax law change set to take effect next year could hurt the competitiveness of flexi-lawyer services; several law firms have joined litigation targeting police use of force in protests in Portland, Oregon, and Minneapolis; LGBTQ lawyers see more acceptance at work, but hurdles remain.

  • Leading off, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s Sundar Pichai, and Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook are set to make a first-ever joint appearance today before a House antitrust subcommittee that has been investigating technology industry competition for about a year. The hearing, amidst federal investigations of the companies, comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has made millions of people more reliant than ever on online platforms. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • King & Spalding; WilmerHale; Covington & Burling; Paul Weiss; and Jenner & Block were among firms helping the companies get ready for the expected bipartisan grilling over concerns they use their dominance to crush rivals at the expense of consumers. (National Law Journal)

  • Most law schools are expecting about the same number of new students this fall as they had last year, and some schools even expect more, despite Covid-19’s impact on admissions, recent surveys show. A flexible online LSAT and eased admissions policies contributed to a late surge in enrollment, while admissions offices are also advising admitted students not to delay until next year when, they say, scholarships will probably be tougher to get, a report says (Law.com)

  • The Michigan bar exam got hit by a cyber attack that caused a temporary glitch for test takers. (BLAW)

  • Philadelphia courts are starting to operate again after five months of being mostly suspended. (Legal Intelligencer)

  • The animal care sector’s low risk, good returns, and relatively light regulation contribute to its remaining an appealing target for private equity investors despite, or possibly because of, the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey report from Katten. (Katten.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • LGBTQ lawyers say they’ve seen more acceptance at work, but many barriers remain, especially for trans and nonbinary attorneys, according to this report based on more than a dozen interviews. (BLAW)

  • A new Chapter 11 filing Monday by Remington Outdoor Co. risks undermining a long-running lawsuit by families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, by obscuring details of how the firearms company marketed its popular assault rifles. (WSJ) Remington is getting advice from Akin Gump on the bankruptcy filing. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Litigation funding firm Validity Finance raised $100 million from its private equity backer and other large investors as the pandemic boosts opportunities for litigation investors. (BLAW)

  • In a slow year for law firm tie-ups, Fennemore Craig will soon combine with California’s Dowling Aaron to create Fennemore Craig Dowling Aaron, with approximately 350 lawyers and staff, and offices in 10 cities across the western U.S. (BLAW)

  • An American Bar Association section is proposing a requirement for judges, attorneys, and court personnel to get training on implicit biases. (BLAW)

  • Wachtell is now representing ex-Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and entertainment star Jennifer Lopez in their bid to buy Major League Baseball’s New York Mets. That has left hedge fund mogul Steven Cohen looking for new representation for his own bid. (BLAW)

  • A Black former Davis Polk & Wardwell attorney suing the firm for race bias may serve discovery demands on the firm despite missing the original deadline, but his lawyer has to pay fees, a New York federal court ruled. (BLAW)

  • Computer Sciences Corp. has to pay $7.7 million in legal fees in an overtime class action it lost, after a Connecticut federal judge slashed plaintiff counsel’s fee request by over 40%. (BLAW)

  • Fish & Richardson and the ACLU of Minnesota filed a federal class action against Minneapolis police, alleging they used excessive force against protesters in the George Floyd demonstrations. Several law firms are also participating in litigation over use of federal law enforcement in Portland, Oregon. (National Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves

  • Reed Smith hired California transactional lawyers Ashok W. Mukhey and Mitchell S. Cohen in Century City as partners in the firm’s global corporate group. They arrive from from Irell & Manella, where Mukhey was co-chair of the transaction practice. (ReedSmith.com)

  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon named litigation partner Chris Johnson, at the firm for 22 years, to be managing partner of its San Francisco office. (The Recorder)

  • New York firm Warshaw Burstein added tax lawyer Ian Shane as a partner. According to his LinkedIn, he arrives from Michelman & Robinson and earlier spent two years at DLA Piper, after nine years at a firm that later became part of Dentons. (WBNY.com)

  • Norton Rose Fulbright got back worklaw attorney Ryan McCoy as a partner in Los Angeles. McCoy spent eight years in the dispute resolution and litigation practice of Norton Rose predecessor Fulbright & Jaworski, which he left in 2013. He split the seven years since then between Alston & Bird and Baute Crochetiere Hartley & Velkei. (NortonRoseFulbright.com)

In-house

  • Two-thirds of in-house leaders at the world’s fastest growing tech companies said they feel swamped by “low-value” work. That’s according to the 2020 Tech GC Report from Wilson Sonshini and contract-management tech provider Juro, based on a survey of legal leaders at 30 high-growth tech companies. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise promoted its longtime general counsel John Schultz to chief operating officer, where he will continue to oversee the company’s global legal matters. (BLAW)

  • British Columbia-based drug development company Sierra Oncology hired life sciences intellectual property lawyer Christina Thomsonas general counsel. She arrives most recently from Athira Pharma, based in Seattle. (BioSpace.com)

Technology

  • Law firms are vulnerable to wire transfer frauds like the ones that have hit Holland & Knight and Dentons. (American Lawyer)

  • Providers of flexible “rent-a-lawyer” services could be hit by an incoming piece of tax legislation aimed at closing a loophole affecting contract workers. (Law.com International)

Legal Education

  • From vacations put off to home ownership delayed, heavy student loan debt is weighing on nearly every aspect of young lawyers’ lives, a new ABA reportsays. (Above the Law) (Law.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

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