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Wake Up Call: Tech Powers Fenwick’s 31% Profit Growth

Feb. 26, 2021, 2:14 PM

In today’s column, a husband-wife-led legal team is representing Dominion Voting Systems Inc. in $3.9 billion in lawsuits against pro-Trump lawyers and others who made election-stealing claims against the company; a Kirkland & Ellis report for electric-truck startup Nikola finds the company’s departed founder made inaccurate claims; Covington and Skadden advised on Merck’s $1.85 billion acquisition of an autoimmune drug developer; Jones Day is back on a hacker target list and neither the firm nor the hacker group are commenting.

  • Leading off, Fenwick & West’s tech focus paid off big in 2020 as the pandemic forced companies and individuals to use technology to work from home. The firm’s gross revenues gained 15.1% to $543 million in 2020, while profits per equity partner catapulted 31.2% to $2.85 million. It gained 26 lawyers, to 372, adding six partners, to 107. (The Recorder)
  • Tech work also powered growth at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, which posted $723.5 million in gross revenues in 2020, up 6.8% from 2019, while its PEP shot up 26.3% to $1.96 million. (American Lawyer)
  • Stoel Rives’ new managing partner, Melissa Jones, said the Portland, Oregon-founded firm is on a “great trajectory” but will probably slow down a bit this year. In 2020, the 346-lawyer firm posted gross revenues up 9.6% to $259.3 million and PEP up 27.8% to $919,000. (American Lawyer)
  • Fort Lauderdale-based Greenspoon Marder had a tough 2020 but thinks tough decisions it made last year have it well-positioned for this year. The firm’s gross revenues plunged 14.5% to $139.58 million, as the pandemic dried up hospitality sector and other work, but it eked out PEP growth of 1.3% to $713,000. (Daily Business Review)
  • Law firms’ summer associate programs are up in the air again because of the pandemic. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • Cadwalader special bonus announcement got negative reactions from associates. (Above the Law)
  • DLA Piper announced a coalition that it said brings together private businesses, health researchers, health-care providers, data analysts, and advocates with the goal of improving social justice in Covid detection, treatment, and preparedness. (DLAPiper.com)
  • King & Spalding said it launched a global human capital & compliance practice to assist with the complex workforce issues facing multinational companies. (KSLaw.com)

Biden Administration, Election Litigation, Fallout From Capitol Riots

  • Tom Clare and Libby Locke, a married couple who run law firm Clare Locke LLP, describe themselves as conservative lawyers. They’re representing Dominion Voting Systems Inc. in lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell seeking a total of $3.9 billion for falsely claiming the company’s voting machines were used to steal the 2020 election. (Bloomberg News)
  • President Joe Biden’s nomination for U.S. deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, earned close to $700,000 as an O’Melveny & Myers non-equity partner and co-chair of the firm’s data-security and privacy practice, she revealed in a required disclosure. She also revealed her substantial income from work outside the firm, and the tech and pharmaceutical industry shareholdings she plans to divest before starting the job. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Kirkland & Ellis’ internal review for electric truck startup Nikola finds the company’s departed founder made several inaccurate claims about the company’s technology and products, the Financial Times reports. (Financial Times)
  • Lawyers, accountants, and other “professional enablers” play a central role in cross-border financial crime, according to a report from the OECD, a Paris-based economic policy organization. (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)
  • Jones Day is back on a hacker target list and neither the firm nor the hacker group are commenting. (American Lawyer)
  • Foley & Lardner is expanding its legal team in Northern California, including by adding a high-profile lawyer who left his last firm after being accused of sexual assault by a colleague. (BLAW)
  • Haynes and Boone started an “outage task force” to support clients whose businesses were hit by the winter storm that knocked out Texas utilities infrastructure this month. (HaynesBoone.com)
  • A California Wine Country law firm added a regulatory compliance group to its existing beverage alcohol law practice. (North Bay Business Journal)
  • Chicago-based Katten Muchin Rosenman said name founding partner Melvin L. Katten is retiring after a 65-year career. (PR Newswire)
  • Covington & Burling is representing pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. on its $1.85 billion acquisition of Pandion Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing therapies for autoimmune diseases. Pandion is getting advice from Skadden, Arps. (Bloomberg News via BLAW) (Businesswire.com)

Diversity & Inclusion

  • Fordham Law School said it received a “significant” donation from Kirkland & Ellis to support its program promoting diversity in education and the law pipeline. (Fordham.edu)
  • K&L Gates and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law said they are continuing the K&L Gates Diversity Fellowship. It offers a full-tuition scholarship at the law school, as well as a paid summer associate position at the firm, a report says. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
  • Locke Lord said that effective Jan. 1 this year its attorneys can get credit for up to 75 hours of diversity and inclusion activities for their billable hours requirements. (LockeLord.com) Several other firms, including Ropes & Gray, Nixon Peabody, Hogan Lovells,and others have recently made similar announcements. (BLAW)
  • A Reed Smith team is working with the Philadelphia-based civil rights lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery’s family in their federal lawsuit. The lawsuit names the three men charged with killing Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., a year ago, as well as district attorneys and police that it accuses of a cover-up. (Legal Intelligencer)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Latham & Watkins’ London office added finance and restructuring partner Bruce Bell from U.K. elite firm Linklaters. (LW.com)
  • Greenberg Traurig’s London office lost a four-lawyer real estate team to Taylor Wessing. (Law.com International)
  • D.C. government relations firm Capitol Counsel said former Kansas U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is joining as a partner. Roberts, who retired from the Senate in January after four terms, was a longtime chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. (Capitol Counsel)
  • Digital insurance platform, Metromile Inc., a pay-per-mile auto insurer, hired insurance industry veteran Junna Ro as its new general counsel. She’s a former AAA insurer chief ethics and compliance officer and Symantec corporate counsel. She’s a founding member and former co-chair of the National Association for Diversity in Compliance. (Globenewswire.com)
  • Online fashion retailer Boohoo Group PLC looked in-house for its new general counsel and company secretary. Manchester, England-based Tom Kershaw, the company’s director for legal, communications & sustainability since June, got the promotion this month, a report says. (Law.com International)

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