Bloomberg Law
Sept. 7, 2017, 12:25 PM

Wake Up Call: Toys “R” Us Hires Kirkland & Ellis to Help Deal With Debt

• Toys “R” Us Inc. is said to have hired lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis to help restructure its heavy debt load, in a new sign of trouble for a once-mighty retailer that has struggled to fend off and discount chains. ( Bloomberg )

• Florida law firms are preparing for Hurricane Irma — a Category 5 hurricane — and the state’s courts announced they’ll be closed Friday. ( Daily Business Review ) Lawyers who experienced the last Category 5 storm to hit the state, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, say they’re not sticking around for this one. ( Daily Business Review )

• Law firms including Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Frost Brown Todd LLC, and McLaughlin & Stern LLP, say they are accepting bitcoin payments for their legal services. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• Irell & Manella LLP elected its first African-American managing partner, Ellisen S. Turner, a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office and a member of its executive committee. ( BLB )

• “When we make it okay to talk about these issues, what that does is normalize help-seeking,” said Bree Buchanan, co-chair of an ABA task force that recently released a report with 44 recommendations for law firms to improve lawyer well-being. ( BLB )

Legal Market

• Edith Ramirez, a former FTC chairwoman, is not rejoining her old firm Quinn Emanuel but is instead going to Hogan Lovells LLP to co-lead that firm’s global antitrust, competition, and economic regulation practice based in Washington and Los Angeles. She’ll also have an active role in the privacy and cybersecurity group, Hogan said. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• As part of a $35.5 million settlement with black financial advisers, Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to take non-financial measures to create a more fair workplace, in a rethink of its diversity training. ( Bloomberg )

• Plaintiffs lawyers in a federal class-action lawsuit against the NCAA and 11 major conferences that is heading toward a $208.7 million settlement are asking for $44.9 million in legal fees and costs. ( USA Today )

• The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed “Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law,” a new book by Benjamin H. Barton, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, and Stephanos Bibas, a law professor at University of Pennsylvania. ( Wall Street Journal )

• U.K. law firms, consultants and human resources companies are getting new billable work from new annual reporting rules on the gap between female and male pay. ( Financial Times )

Legal Actions

• The top EU court’s decision giving Intel Corp a win in the chipmaker’s continuing fight to overturn a 1.06 billion-euro ($1.26 billion) is good news for Google. ( Bloomberg Businessweek )

• United Continental Holdings Inc. avoided a fine for the April incident in which passenger David Dao was dragged off a plane by Chicago security officials. ( Bloomberg )

• The Irish investment fund that helped open a floodgate of European cash for Bernard Madoff’s bogus securities firm in the early 1990s agreed to pay $687 million to victims of the fraud to resolve a trustee’s lawsuit -- the biggest settlement in the case in six years. ( Bloomberg )

The Trump Administration

• Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexicans, some of whom he referred to as “bad hombres” and “rapists,” were highlighted in a lawsuit by a group of more than a dozen states challenging his decision to end a program protecting so-called Dreamers from deportation. Amazon is among companies backing the suit. ( Bloomberg )

• One allegation against DACA is that it has allowed unauthorized immigrants to exploit the system and gain U.S. citizenship. ( Washington Post ) Trump muddled his message on DACA with a nighttime tweet. ( New York Times )

• Trump’s revival of a 1970s-era trade law has many lawyers scratching their heads. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Several in-house attorneys have joined amicus briefs on an important U.S. Supreme Court case addressing whether using the inter partes review process to decide patent disputes is constitutional. ( Corporate Counsel )

• As the bribery trial of Senator Robert Menendez got underway, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell of Norton Rose Fulbright, contested charges that the New Jersey Democrat was corrupt. ( Bloomberg ) During an argument, a judge in the case told one of Menendez’s lawyers to “shut up for a moment.” ( Politico )

• Former clerks for Judge Richard A. Posner, who retired abruptly Sept. 2 after more than 35 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, said the most enduring part of his legacy could be his writing style. ( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati lost four partners to rivals in the San Francisco Bay area this week, with a co-chair of its privacy and data protection practice going to Latham & Watkins and three corporate and technology partners to Cooley. A fifth, the son of Wilson Sonsini chairman Larry Sonsini, went to another family business. ( The Recorder )

• Haynes and Boone, LLP, said it has picked up two energy litigators from Andrews Kurth Kenyon. Craig Stahl, who was co-chairmain of Andrews Kurth’s energy litigation practice, and Jeffrey Kuehnle have joined its Houston office as partners. ( HaynesBoone )

• After San Diego fired 30 deputy city attorneys one of them filed an administrative complaint alleging that the terminations overwhelmingly targeted older white men. ( San Diego Reader )

• Milwaukee-based Michael Best & Friedrich, the one-time firm of former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, hired six lawyers in Salt Lake City from Kruse Landa Maycock & Ricks, including most of the firm’s name partners. ( Am Law Daily )

• Industrial aviation services provider Bristow Group Inc. said it appointed Timothy Knapp as senior vice president and general counsel effective September 26. An engineer by training, Knapp was an energy partner at Knapp & Rome, LLC, from 1993 to 2009, and vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer at SourceGas LLC from 2009 to 2016. ( PR Newswire )


• The typical way for law firms to measure their gender diversity is by tallying their male and female associates and partners. A new paper says modern legal analytics can provide a “more meaningful” measurement by tracking attorneys that actually participate in litigation. By that metric, Goodwin Proctor, Crowell & Moring, and Quinn Emanuel come out looking pretty good, with some caveats. ( PatentlyO )

• Access to the federal judiciary’s public online database, known as PACER, should be free, a Georgetown University Law Center student argues in a new paper. ( National Law Journal )

• Some of the allegedly stolen information in Waymo’s trade-secrets case against Uber Technologies Inc. may not have been so precious after all, according to the Alphabet Inc. unit’s own engineer. “Low-value” was the engineer’s assessment while investigating the downloading of files by driverless car executive Anthony Levandowski four months before Waymo called him a traitor in a high-stakes lawsuit headed to trial next month. ( Bloomberg )

• Facebook Inc. says it found about $100,000 in ad spending connected to fake accounts likely run from Russia that aimed to stir political controversy in the U.S. ahead of last year’s presidential election. ( Bloomberg )

• Former pharmaceutical executive-turned-convicted criminal Martin Shkreli has apparently put up for sale on eBay the sole copy of an album by the Wu-Tang Clan, which he bought for $2 million. No word if he intends to use the proceeds to pay his lawyers’ legal fees. ( Bloomberg ) ( eBay )

Legal Education

• A two-day pre-law summit and expo scheduled for mid-month in North Carolina is aimed at helping students and graduates from historically black colleges and universities who want to apply to law school, organizers said. ( Salisbury Post )


• A former Ku Klux Klan leader stopped using a Johnny Cash song for the opening theme of his white supremacist internet program, after getting a cease-and-desist letter from lawyers. ( Washington Times )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.