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Wake Up Call: Two Ex-Prosecutors Led Probe of Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal

Jan. 16, 2020, 1:07 PM

In today’s column, President Trump’s impeachment trial is set to begin next Tuesday, while T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion bid to buy wireless rival Sprint Corp. is now in a New York judge’s hands. The NSA’s top lawyer plans to resign, and Duane Morris is talking merger with a 65-lawyer New York firm.

  • Two former prosecutors who are now in-house lawyers for Major League Baseball were in charge of the investigation into a sign stealing scheme at the Houston Astros. That probe, by MLB deputy general counsel Bryan Seeley and Moira Weinberg, has now spurred ousters of top management at the Astros and the Boston Red Sox and may cause other ejections. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Chief Justice John Roberts will go to the Senate today to swear in senators for President Trump’s impeachment trial, now set to begin Tuesday. (Bloomberg News)

  • Philadelphia-based Duane Morris, with about 800 lawyers, is talking with New York-based Satterlee Stephens about a merger with the 65-lawyer firm. (New York Law Journal)

  • A New York federal judge could take a month or more to rule on T-Mobile US Inc.’s $26.5 billion bid to buy wireless rival Sprint Corp., after lawyers made their closing arguments yesterday. Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Glenn Pomerantz, representing the coalition of states seeking to block the deal, said it would violate antitrust law by giving the combined company a nearly 40% market share of wireless subscribers. T-Mobile’s attorney, Cleary Gottlieb antitrust partner David Gelfand, said the deal would benefit customers, through lower costs and better products. (BN via BLAW)

  • BP’s Arnold Porter lawyers in Texas federal appeals court couldn’t get the oil giant out of paying $15 million to Walmart for the retailer’s losses after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Susman & Godfrey represented Walmart. (Texas Lawyer)

  • Steptoe & Johnson said it hired former L.A. federal prosecutor Ashwin J. Ram as a partner in its white collar criminal defense practice in Los Angeles, where he’ll also advise on civil litigation. Ram, whose Linkedin profile lists his name as Ashwin Janakiram, was most recently an assistant U.S. attorney in the major frauds section of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. He’s previously been a litigation/regulatory associate at Sidley Austin and was a general counsel at a tech start-up, among other things. (Steptoe.com)

  • The National Security Agency’s top lawyer since 2015, Glenn Gerstell, plans to resign this year, according to the American Bar Association. Gerstell spent close to 39 years at Millbank, including as D.C. managing partner. (Fifth Domain) (Millbank)

  • Two top Hollywood entertainment dealmaking firms announced they are merging. (Deadline) (Variety)

  • The Nation hired former Above the Law executive editor Elie Mystal as its new “justice correspondent.” (TheNation.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Reed Smith grabbed technology, M&A and private equity lawyer Craig Lilly from Baker McKenzie as a partner in Silicon Valley. Lilly previously led Greenberg Traurig’s Silicon Valley corporate practice group. (Reed Smith)

  • On the flip side for Reed Smith, Norton Rose Fulbright poached two of its corporate finance practice lawyers in San Francisco, adding Bill Veatch and Catherine Hagerty as partners. (GlobeNewswire.com)

  • Reed Smith launched a firmwide mental health task force aimed at increasing awareness about mental well-being issues and supporting colleagues facing mental health challenges. (ReedSmith.com)

  • BakerHostetler’s worklaw team leader in Houston, partner Drew B. Tipton, is Trump’s latest planned pick for a federal judgeship in Texas. (BLAW)

  • Washington-based Wiley Rein said it’s just “Wiley” now, the latest Big Law firm to truncate its brand name. (American Lawyer)

  • The number of lawyers appointed to lead U.S. colleges and universities has soared in recent years, according to this article. (WaPo)

Reports

  • Simpson Thacher’s new 2019 Global Cartel Enforcement Report says fine totals in “powerhouse cartel enforcers” such as the U.S., EU, and Japan are up slightly from their historically low levels in 2017 and 2018. But fine levels continued to decline in other jurisdictions. (STBLaw.com)

Deals

  • Locke Lord advised Oscar, a tech-driven health insurance company, on its venture with health service giant Cigna, to jointly provide fully insured health benefits to small companies and share risk through reinsurance. (ModernHealthcare.com)

  • Cooley advised San Francisco-based startup Zinier, which helps electricity and telecom companies automate their field services, in its latest financing round, which raised $90 million. (VentureBeat.com)

  • Offshore firm Appleby’s Bermuda office advised Sierra Ltd. in connection with a $225 million catastrophe bond in an insurance-linked security issue for re insurance giant Swiss Re Capital Markets Corp. (ApplebyGlobal.com) (BusinessInsurance.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Hinshaw & Culbertson hired high-stakes insurance litigator Judy Selby as a partner in New York in the firm’s global insurance services practice group. Selby, who’s earlier been at Duane Morris, Simpson Thacher, and BakerHostetler, has experience representing companies in international arbitration matters in London and advises on cyber and privacy risks. (HinshawLaw.com)

  • Arnold & Porter expanded its London commercial litigation team by adding a veteran commercial and construction law attorney, William Godwin, as counsel. Godwin in 2017 was appointed Queen’s Counsel, an award for excellence in advocacy in England’s higher courts. (ArnoldPorter.com)

  • Bressler, Amery & Ross named capital markets and regulatory attorney Mark Knoll managing principal of its New York office. He takes over from current office chief Andy Sidman, head of the firm’s securities regulatory defense practice, with whom he will co-chair its financial institutions regulatory defense practice. (Bressler.com)

  • Haynes and Boone promoted nine lawyers (three women) to counsel from its Dallas, Houston, London, Mexico City, New York, San Antonio, and Washington offices. (HaynesBoone.com)

  • New York-based hedge fund law firm Kleinberg Kaplan promoted litigator Joshua Bromberg and corporate lawyer Arinze Ike to partner. (KKWC.com)

Technology

  • The fast-rising artificial intelligence-powered transcription program Verbit has received a $31 million venture capital boost, the company said. (BLAW)

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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