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Wake Up Call: Trump to Pick Francisco for U.S. Solicitor General

March 9, 2017, 1:36 PM

• President Donald Trump said former Jones Day lawyer Noel Francisco is his man for U.S. solicitor general. Francisco, who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court, has already been both deputy and acting solicitor general since Trump’s inauguration in January. ( Bloomberg )

• Harvard Law School said it will allow applicants to submit either Graduate Record Examination or LSAT test scores to be considered for admission for its three-year J.D. program. The school said the decision is part of an initiative to expand access to legal education. ( BLB )

• In time for International Women’s Day, ideas pinboard site Pinterest Inc. hired Christine Flores, Google Inc.'s legal VP, as its new general counsel, ending a nearly four-month search. ( National Law Journal ) A look at prominent women lawyers through U.S. history. ( )

• The Twitter account of Sullivan & Cromwell partner Brett McIntosh is being vetted as the White House considers him for Treasury Department general counsel. Some of his Twitter posts apparently raise questions about how loyal he would be to Trump. ( BLB )

• Attorneys from three law firms — Labaton Sucharow, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, and Thornton Law Firm — agreed to pay $2 million for an investigation into overbilling after they admitted double-charging hours in a securities class action suit against State Street Bank, from which they raked in $75 million. ( Boston Globe )

• A divided federal appeal court ruled that the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions apply to employees who raise concerns about potentially unlawful activity internally, not just those making reports directly to regulators. ( The Recorder )

Law Firm Business

• Ropes & Gray’s move to spin off a new patent prosecution firm is motivated by the narrow focus of the patent application process and the tight economics and risks of such a practice, compared with other intellectual property practices, lawyers said. ( BLB )

• Gowling WLG is set to lose its 14-lawyer private client team in London to another firm based in the city, Forsters. ( The Lawyer )

• Pepper Hamilton has announced a new health sciences department that brings 110 attorneys from other practice areas. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson saw a strong year in 2016, fueled by a new focus on high-end transaction work in M&A, private equity, real estate, finance, capital markets and asset management. The firm’s gross revenues surged 10 percent to a record $556.5 million, while profits per equity partner also notched a new high, rising 13.6 percent to $2.51 million. ( Am Law Daily )

• In its last year as an independent firm, Kaye Scholer took a financial pummeling in 2016, with gross revenue falling 13.5 percent to $320 million and profits per equity partner plunging 25.4 percent, to $1.03 million. ( New York Law Journal )

• At the end of 2016, Kaye Scholer merged with Arnold & Porter, which also suffered a rough year, with gross revenues down 4 percent, to $624.5 million, and profits per partner down almost 5 percent, to $1.555 million. ( National Law Journal )

• Well-targeted investment helped make 2016 another solid year for Seyfarth Shaw, its chair and managing partner said. The firm posted a gross revenue jump of nearly 6 percent, to $623.5 million, while profits per partner rose to $1.05 million, a nearly 3 percent gain compared with 2015’s level. ( Am Law Daily )

Legal Market

• Last year’s merger of Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer, both of which had formidable healthcare practices, changed the environment for life sciences deals. ( Above The Law )

• The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed that California-based Future Income Payments is the “pension advances” company that sued to stay anonymous while it battled the agency over an investigation. ( National Law Firm )

• General Wireless, the company that tried to revive consumer-electronics chain RadioShack, filed for bankruptcy after failing to keep up with changing consumer habits. ( Bloomberg )

• Air France-KLM Group, British Airways and a handful of other carriers may face multimillion-euro EU antitrust fines after attempts to broker a settlement failed. ( Bloomberg )

• China granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, a move that offers a potential business foothold for Trump’s family company and protects his name in a country notorious for counterfeiters. ( Bloomberg )

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton,Trump’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, has earned $7.62 million since 2015 representing some of Wall Street’s biggest firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, according to a federal disclosure form. If confirmed by the Senate, Clayton would have to recuse himself for one year from matters involving Sullivan & Cromwell and companies he represented. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• Hawaii has become the first state to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, saying the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students. ( Bloomberg ) The U.N. human rights chief expressed concerns about the new Trump travel ban and said he is “dismayed” by Trump’s attempts to “intimidate or undermine” journalists and judges. ( Bloomberg )

The CEO of GE Energy Financial Services, David Nason, told the White House he’ll take a pass on becoming the Federal Reserve’s bank supervision chief. With Nason out, there is no clear front-runner for the job. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Bloomberg BNA took a wide-ranging look at Judge Reggie Walton, who is senior judge for the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia and the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The FISC reviews federal government warrant applications to conduct electronic surveillance on individuals. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was recused in more than 1,000 cases in over a decade as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, according to documents submitted for his Senate confirmation hearing. The high overall number appears to reflect the appeals court’s rigorous recusal procedures, as well as Gorsuch’s stated desire to avoid even the perception of bias in cases involving friends, former clients and colleagues. ( National Law Journal )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Law firm work arrangements are adapting to new times. Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said a test of the firm’s remote work policy found that it did not diminish client availability or productivity, but in fact did the opposite. And other firms are implementing their own alternative work arrangements and flexibility policies. ( BLB )

• Winston & Strawn added three more partners to its new Dallas office. The arrival of corporate transactions lawyer Richard “Rick” Frye, from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and litigation partners Natalie Arbaugh and Tom Walsh from Fish & Richardson, gives the office 37 lawyers. ( Texas Lawyer )

• Latham & Watkins poached Linklaters financial regulatory partner Daniel Csefalvay, Latham’s latest hire from an elite London firm. ( The Lawyer )


• Women legal tech specialists from Microsoft and four other companies offered advice for getting started in the field, as well as their views on the gender gap and challenges facing women. ( Legaltech News )

• Mobile-wallet providers like PayPal and Google have their own ax to grind in the prepaid card industry’s push to have Congress quash a pending rule from the CFPB.( Bloomberg BNA via BLB )

• FBI Director James Comey says an “evil layer cake” of nation states and multinational syndicates is behind spying designed to steal information. He also said “you’re stuck with me for another six years.” ( Bloomberg )

• AOL Inc. sought to cut a deal with online rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. before agreeing to a $4.4 billion buyout by Verizon Communications Inc., the company’s top executive told a Delaware judge. ( Bloomberg )

• Uber Technologies Inc. said it will end the practice of showing fake versions of its app to regulators suspected of conducting sting operations on drivers, in a program known as “Greyball.” ( Bloomberg )

• As so-called quantitative hedge funds compete with Silicon Valley for top technology talent, they are resorting to new tactics like code competitions, graphic novels, and freestyle data challenges. ( Financial Times )


• Big Law Business’s Casey Sullivan was a guest on the Penn Law podcast Case in Pointto talk about the legal industry and prospects for law school graduates. ( Case in Point )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.