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Wake Up Call: Trump Drops Former U.S. Attorney Liu as Treasury Pick

Feb. 12, 2020, 1:26 PM

In today’s column, New York-based Cadwalader reported surges in its revenues and profits for 2019, while Barnes & Thornburg launched an office in Manhattan with laterals snagged from Big Law rivals. Simpson Thacher announced a new national security regulatory practice head; and T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. cleared the last big federal regulatory hurdle to their $26.5 billion merger, but California’s utility regulator hasn’t okayed it yet.

  • Leading off, former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, lost another nomination for a top job in the Trump administration, reports say. President Trump yesterday withdrew Liu as his pick for a high-ranking Treasury Department job. Reports say her nomination was sunk by Republican complaints about her office’s handling of Trump-sensitive cases, including ones inherited from special counsel Robert Mueller. (WaPo)

  • Early last year, Liu, a former Morrison & Foerster partner, was Trump’s pick to be the Justice Department’s No. 3 attorney, but she withdrew as the nominee amidst objections about her conservative credentials by some influential Senate Republicans. (BLAW)

  • Among conservative critics’ reported complaints about Liu this time was her office’s seven to nine-year sentencing recommendation for Trump confidant Roger Stone, for lying to Congress and witness tampering. Yesterday, federal prosecutors on Stone’s case quit en masse after the DOJ, following a Trump tweet, intervened to reduce the recommendation to three to four years. (Bloomberg News via BLAW) (NBC News)

Firm Results

  • Cadwalader, continuing its focus on investment and financial services industries, took in $459 million in gross revenue in 2019, up 9.1% from the previous year. Its average profits per equity partner rose 11%, to about $3 million, according to preliminary data. (New York Law Journal)

  • Locke Lord’s 2019 gross revenues shrank 3.1%, to $496.4 million last year, which the firm attributed in particular to a 30-lawyer fall in its head count. On the other hand, a 9.7% drop in the firm’s PEP, to $935,000 for the year, was likely due to its adding 16 more equity partners, a report says. (Texas Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Barnes & Thornburg launched a new office in New York, staffed with laterals hired away from Akin Gump and Davis Polk, a report says. (New York Law Journal)

  • DLA Piper poached three litigation partners from Greenspoon Marder in New York, including the office’s managing partner. (New York Law Journal)

  • With Treasury’s new ruleson national security reviews of foreign investments set to take effect Feb. 13, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett named Malcolm J. (Mick) Tuesley head of the firm’s national security regulatory practice. (STBLaw.com)

  • T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. cleared their biggest regulatory hurdle to their $26.5 billion merger yesterday, defeating a multistate lawsuit. However, several smaller obstacles to the tie-up remain. (BLAW) Nineteen Big Law firms advised on the transaction, with Cleary and Wachtell taking lead roles. (American Lawyer)

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called for a renewed push to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment. (ABAJournal.com)

  • Morrison & Foerster hired former SEC senior trial counsel Haima Marlier as a partner in its New York office. According to her LinkedIn, she spent time at Goodwin as an associate earlier in her career. (MoFo.com)

  • Maze, a ransomware hacking group, posted a Texas law firm’s confidential data on its website. (Law.com)

Deals

  • Critical digital infrastructure company Vertiv Holdings Co. completed its merger with GS Acquisition Holdings Corp and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher acted as joint legal advisors to private equity firm Platinum Equity and Vertiv. Skadden Arps advised GS Acquisition Holdings. (DataCenterDynamics.com) (Yahoo! Finance)

  • DLA Piper advised a court-appointed receiver in the sale, for over $300 million, of semiconductor test equipment maker Essai, Inc., to Advantest America, Inc., U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese semiconductor testing company. Stoel Rives and Skadden advised on the sale. (DLAPiper.com)

Reports

  • Fenwick & West’s new fourth-quarter 2019 survey of venture capital financings by companies with Silicon Valley headquarters found the quarter’s average price increase was the highest since the survey started in 2004. (Fenwick.com)
  • Texas-based global law firm network Lex Mundi released a climate change law guide for general counsel. (LexMundi.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Locke Lord’s London office got Linklaters energy and infrastructure lawyer Matthew Daffurn as a partner. (LockeLord.com)

  • Cozen O’Connor added veteran international maritime litigator Neil A. Quartaro to its transportation & trade practice, as a member based in New York. He arrives from Watson, Farley & Williams. (Cozen.com)

  • Barnes & Thornburg added white collar criminal defense and civil litigator Michelle Bradford, a former federal prosecutor, as a partner in Washington. (BTLaw.com)

  • CivicPoint, the government affairs and lobbying branch of law firm Frost Brown Todd, named Trey Grayson, a former Kentucky secretary of state, to be its managing director. (Civic-Point.com)

In-house

  • Citgo Petroleum Corp., facing a DOJ bribery probe, added chief compliance & ethics officer to the title of its top lawyer, Jack Lynch. (Corporate Counsel)

  • United Talent Agency promoted associate general counsel Michael Sinclair to general counsel. (Hollywood Reporter)

Legal Actions

  • Google, advised by Cleary partner Thomas Graf, is in EU court in Luxembourg to fight a 2.4 billion euro ($2.62 billion) antitrust fine. (BN)

  • Nissan Motor Co. is suing its former chairman Carlos Ghosn for 10 billion yen ($91 million) in damages stemming from the company’s problems with Japanese regulators. (BN)

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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