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Wake Up Call: U.K. Firm Considers Big Fines for Partner Misconduct

Oct. 22, 2019, 12:17 PM
  • Partners at U.K. elite firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer could automatically get docked 20% of their profit share for 12 months if they get a final warning for misconduct after an internal investigation, according to a report. News of the partnership’s plans to create a “conduct committee” and fine protocol comes a little over a week after the country’s legal profession regulator fined Ryan Beckwith, a former restructuring partner at the firm, a total of 235,000 pounds ($305,000). The fine resulted from a nine-day hearing into a junior attorney’s sexual misconduct allegations against Beckwith. (American Lawyer)

  • With a global economic recession said to be looming, Big Law firms are expanding their bankruptcy and restructuring practices in anticipation of plenty of work. Firms making recent bankruptcy and restructuring lateral hires include Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Hogan Lovells, McDermott Will & Emery, and Skadden. (BLAW via BLB)

  • For an idea of the big fees some bankruptcies can bring, check out the case of California power giant PG&E. Two Weil Gotshal & Manges partners on the case billed a combined 576 hours in August, part of $2 million the firm is seeking for a month’s work. And Weil is only one of many law firms working on the case. (BLAW via BLB)

  • As creditors’ $1,600-an-hour lawyers fight over control over the company, people who lost their homes to deadly wildfires sparked by PG&E equipment are living in trailers, tents, cars, and hotels. (BN via BLAW)

  • A second woman filed an EEOC complaint against the DLA Piper partner who was booted from the firm after another female partner accused him of sexual assault. (BN via BLB) Meanwhile, the accused partner denied the accusations. (BN via BLB)

  • Hudson’s Bay Co. agreed to go private in a deal valuing the Canadian department store chain at about C$1.9 billion ($1.45 billion), in a bid by a group of investors. Legal advisers to the shareholder group on the deal included Willkie Farr & Gallagher for U.S. aspects and Stikeman Elliott for Canadian aspects. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison advised an independent special committee of HBC board directors on U.S. legal aspects, while Cassels & Graydon advised it on Canadian aspects of the deal. (BN)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Honigman named corporate and private equity partner Harris Eisenberg its new Chicago office managing partner. It said Chicago-based partner Alex Plakas is its new private equity practice co-leader. The appointments are part of an expansion of the corporate practice and Chicago office, which recently added three former Kirkland & Ellis private equity partners. Brian A. Tweedie and Garrett A. Lorentz arrived directly from Kirkland. Eric J. Buske, previously assistant general counsel at Athletico Physical Therapy, where he oversaw mergers and acquisitions, arrived from Koley Jessen. (Yahoo!Finance)

  • Katten Muchin Rosenman said it’s moving its New York office to a new 125,000 square feet space at 50 Rockefeller Plaza in the spring of 2022. With over 200 lawyers, the firm’s current New York office, at 575 Madison Avenue, is its second largest, after Chicago. (Katten.com)

  • Morris, Manning & Martin elected eight attorneys to partner effective Jan. 1, 2020, including five women and three in Washington. (MMMLaw.com)

Deals

  • Cooley client Bavarian Nordic acquired two commercial vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline, one for rabies and one for tick-borne encephalitis, for up to 796 million euros ($887 million). (BioPharmaDive)

Pro Bono

  • Latham & Watkins won a pro bono innovation award for its work advising The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that aims to collect and recycle a big percentage of the ocean’s floating trash. (The Recorder)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Paul Hastings added intellectual property litigator Merri Moken as of counsel in New York. She arrives from Holland & Knight and was previously at Kenyon & Kenyon. (PaulHastings.com)

  • Transatlantic firm Withers hired white collar criminal defense attorney and civil litigator Georges Lederman as special counsel in New York. He specializes in art matters, is a former New York County assistant district attorney, and arrives from Pearlstein McCullough & Lederman. (WithersWorldwide.com)

  • Troutman Sanders hired insurance and reinsurance litigator Martha Conlin as a partner in Chicago. Conlin was previously a partner at Kennedys CMK and at Cozen O’Connor. (Troutman)

  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton added commercial real estate attorney Lori Hunt as a partner in the firm’s real estate finance & capital markets team in Washington. She was previously at Starwood Property Trust, as vice president and deputy general counsel in the real estate investing & servicing division. (KilpatrickTownsend.com)

  • Epstein Becker Green added a former biotech and pharmaceutical company in-house leader and executive, Lauren Sullivan, as a member in its health care and life sciences practice in Stamford, Connecticut. (EBGLaw.com)

  • Carlton Fields added commercial litigator James S. Czodli in its Miami office as an associate. (CarltonFields.com)

  • Public strategy firm Mercury said it hired litigation communications specialist Ian Christopher McCaleb as a managing director based in Washington and London. According to his LinkedIn, he was a Department of Justice spokesman, joins most recently from Hogan Lovells, and was earlier at Levick LP. (MercuryLLC.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Biotech Inc., represented by Covington & Burling, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, and Ballard Spahr, beat an effort to force a redo of claims that J&J delayed competition for Janssen’s anti-inflammatory Remicade. (BLAW)

Technology

  • Panama-based virtual private network Nord VPN, which markets its “advanced security,” said that one of its services was compromised last year. (BN via 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; Molly Ward in Washington at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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