Business & Practice

Wake Up Call: Top Legal Consultant for IBM Watson Moves to ALSP Elevate

Jan. 10, 2020, 1:03 PM

In today’s column, Kirkland & Ellis is the new “king” of European M&A, and a New York federal bankruptcy judge decision in favor an indebted law graduate could change the picture for people trying to declare bankruptcy because of student debt. And a heads-up: Big Law Business is migrating to a new home, but it will still be free to access. (BLB)

  • Leading off, alternative legal services provider Elevate announced yesterday that it has snagged the founder and global leader of IBM Watson’s legal consulting practice, Brian Kuhn, in a move that legal tech blog Artificial Lawyer called “a seriously big hire.” At Elevate, Kuhn, a former litigator, will be vice president of a new unit aimed at advising corporate law departments and law firms on implementing “transformative” digital technologies and related best practices, similar to his role at IBM. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • A judge rejected President Donald Trump’s argument that living in Washington means he can’t be sued in New York by an advice columnist who claims that he raped her two decades ago and that he then lied about it. (BN)

  • Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton voted to merge, effective April 1, creating a 1,100-lawyer firm with offices in 23 cities known as Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders (BLAW)

  • Kirkland & Ellis dethroned Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as the king of M&A in Europe, according to a report. (Legal Week)

  • Private equity firm Insight Partners agreed to buy cloud data management company Veeam Software in a deal that values the Swiss firm at about $5 billion. Willkie Farr & Gallagher advised Insight Partners, while Ropes & Gray advised Veeam. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Bankruptcy experts are talking about an unusual decision by New York federal chief bankruptcy judge to let law grad Kevin Jared Rosenberg unload the $221,000 loan debt he acquired as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona and later at the Cardozo School of Law. (Law.com)

  • Royal Bank of Canada hired a top lawyer at Credit Suisse Group AG, Matt Abrusci, as head of its U.S. capital markets law group. Abrusci earlier had senior legal roles at Merrill Lynch. (BN via BLAW)

  • Cooley expanded its global product safety practice, hiring Mintz lawyer Matt Howsare, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as special counsel. He’ll be in Washington, where he will lead Cooley’s North American product safety practice. (Cooley.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Pro Bono

  • AbbVie Inc. said its top lawyer, Laura Schumacher, will keep her job when the Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company completes its $63 billion mega-merger with fellow drug giant Allergan plc. (BLAW)

  • Matthew Miner, who since 2018 has been at the Justice Department as a criminal division deputy assistant attorney general, is going back to Morgan Lewis as a partner on Jan. 21, based in Washington, the firm said. (MorganLewis.com)

  • Robins Kaplan expanded in Minneapolis, adding four prominent civil rights and personal injury attorneys (three partners and one counsel) from a local boutique. (RobinsKaplan.com)

  • Reed Smith is opening an office in Brussels, its first European office in five years. (Legal Week)

  • The Black General Counsel 2025 Initiative launched a new online portal. (BLAW)


  • Milbank said it’s advising the lead arrangers on Lone Star Fund’s 3.17 billion euro ($3.51 billion) acquisition of BASF’s Chemical Construction Business, which was announced last month. (Milbank)

  • Mayer Brown client Pentland Group announced its approximately $170 million acquisition of the Speedo North America business from American apparel company PVH. (Sourcing Journal)

  • In an energy deal, Kimbell Royalty Partners, advised by Baker Botts and Kelly Hart & Hallman, announced its $175 million acquisition of mineral and royalty interests held by Dallas-based Springbok Energy Partners, which was advised Willkie. (PRNewswire.com)

  • In another Texas energy transaction, Locke Lord advised Houston-based Edgewater Midstream, LLC in a $400 million initial capital investment from EnCap Flatrock Midstream and the Edgewater management team. (BusinessWire.com)

  • Shearman & Sterling’s Paris office advised a consortium of European banks on a 228 million euro long-term credit facility for Allgeier SE, a Munich-based technology company. (GlobalLegalChronicle.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • McGuireWoods partner David Reidy is taking a job as chief legal officer at Silicon Valley-based payments company PayActiv Inc., which has been dealing with claims of racial discrimination and retaliation. (BLAW)

  • Morrison & Foerster added commercial litigator David Fertig as a partner in New York. According to his LinkedIn, Fertig previously spent 22-plus years at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, including 14 as a partner. (MoFo)

  • Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck doubled the size of its Philadelphia office with four lawyers, adding 25-year veteran litigator Richard J. Perr as a partner, Philadelphia co-managing partner, and chair of its new consumer financial services practice group. He arrives with three associates from a local firm. (KDVLaw.com)

  • Reed Smith added cross-border energy transactions lawyer Nicolas Borda as a partner in the firm’s 75-lawyer Houston office, which also added an energy associate. Borda, who has over 25 years of experience in all facets of oil and gas, arrives from Haynes and Boone and previously was at Greenberg Traurig. (ReedSmith.com)

  • Sidley Austin hired away Singapore-based M&A and private equity partner Parthiv Rishi from Linklaters, for which he led the financial sponsor and private equity practice in Southeast Asia. He joins Sidley as a partner. (Sidley.com)

  • K&L Gates’ San Francisco office added former in-house leader at Allianz Global Investors, David C. Owen, as of counsel in its asset management and investment funds practice. At AGI, Owen had served as managing director, chief legal officer, and global head of compliance and regulatory affairs. (KLGates.com)

  • McDermott Will & Emery added former Ropes & Gray private equity lawyer Hunter Sharp to its transactions practice group based in Chicago. Sharp was most recently vice president and assistant general counsel at Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm. (MWE.com)


  • Holwell Shuster & Goldberg promoted litigator Scott Danner to partner in New York. (HSGLLP.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • The New York City Bar Association asked Congress to investigate U.S. Attorney General William Barr for alleged bias. (BN via BLAW)

  • The judge overseeing Harvey Weinstein’s criminal rape case denied the defense’s motion requesting that he recuse himself. (CNN)

  • The federal courts’ office has tapped a dozen people in the legal community to provide feedback on the electronic federal court records system PACER, which faces criticism by users and lawmakers over its fees. (BLAW)

Legal Education

  • Book review: 50 women lawyers—including law firm partners, in-house attorneys, and others—offer 50 lessons for women lawyers. (Above The Law)

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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