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Wake Up Call: U.K. Watchdog Pans Baker McKenzie’s Sex Harassment Probe

Dec. 3, 2019, 12:58 PM
  • Baker McKenzie’s investigation into sexual harassment complaints against its former London managing partner Gary Senior was a “complete collective failure,” the U.K. legal profession regulator told a disciplinary tribunal yesterday. Baker McKenzie, another former partner, and the firm’s former human resources director are also being prosecuted in the case, in which Senior is accused, among other things, of forcing a kiss on a junior colleague in a hotel room. (The Lawyer) (Law Society Gazette) (The Telegraph)

  • Most of the female lawyers suing Morrison & Foerster for alleged bias against pregnant women and mothers have settled with the firm, according to a report that cites a court filing from the firm’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher lawyers and the plaintiffs’ lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp. (The Recorder)

  • Covington & Burling advised Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma on its agreement to acquire Audentes Therapeutics for about $3 billion. San Francisco-based Audentes was advised by Fenwick & West. (BN) (

  • The personal stories of over 350 lawyers and legal professionals who had abortions are included in an amicus brief filed by Paul Weiss to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. The filing comes in a case challenging a Louisiana law that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. ( Abortion rights groups also weighed in the case. (BLAW)

  • In a “fundamental” shift, Big Law firms are increasingly using specialized business professionals for face-to-face meetings with clients to discuss matters including pricing, project management, and technology—areas where firms are trying to get a leg up on the competition. (American Lawyer)

  • Meanwhile, bills collectible are piling up at law firms, but they’re not panicking, yet. (American Lawyer)

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired leading cryptocurrency regulator Christopher Giancarlo, former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as a senior counsel in New York. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges hired a former assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, Zachary Tripp, to be co-head of the firm’s appellate practice in Washington. (BLAW via BLB)

  • U.K. fashion chain Ted Baker Plc said it hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and outside accountants to review an overstatement of unsold goods of as much 25 million pounds ($32 million). (BN) The accounting blunder is another black eye for the company, and for auditor KPMG LLP. (BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A salesman for global shipbuilding company Privinvest Group, who was represented by Willkie, was acquitted by a Brooklyn federal court of defrauding investors in a $2 billion global loan scandal. Prosecutors said the fraud involved more than $200 million in bribes to bankers and Mozambican officials, but jurors weren’t convinced the case against Jean Boustani belonged in Brooklyn. (BN via BLAW)

  • DLA Piper said the IRS named the firm’s New York-based tax partner Diana Erbsen as chair of the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council. (

  • Litigator Beth Wilkinson took over Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit against Trump. (New York Law Journal)

  • Washington lawyer and legal scholar Allan Gerson, who helped start the practice of suing foreign governments in U.S. courts for involvement in terrorism, died at age 74. (WaPo)


  • Pryor Cashman advised Lenny’s Group LLC, a chain of “fast-casual” sandwich restaurants, on its deal to open an 18th location in New York City next spring. (

Pro Bono

  • Ropes & Gray and the nonprofit Lawyers for Civil Rights said they are providing free legal assistance to small businesses affected by the 2018 Columbia Gas explosion in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • DLA Piper hired litigator Scott Wilson, a former top attorney in the New York Attorney General’s office, as a partner in New York. He joins from Boies Schiller Flexner, advises on cross-border investigations and directs internal investigations in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other white collar and regulatory matters. (

  • DLA Piper’s New York office also added Weil insurance transactions and regulatory lawyer Gabriel Gershowitz as of counsel. (DLA Piper)

  • Holland & Knight grabbed Fox Rothschild real estate partner Marcy Hart as a partner in its year-old Philadelphia office. (

  • In another real estate hire, Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel got Paul “JJ” Johnson Jr. as a partner in Orlando. (

  • Perkins Coie said its Anchorage office added in-house worklaw attorney Michael O’Brien as senior counsel. He’s the sixth lateral hire to join the firm’s labor & employment practice since July. He was previously an associate general counsel for the University of Alaska system. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Sterling Jewelers Inc.'s lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw and Weil asked a federal court to reverse a panel ruling that the company must arbitrate with a class of tens of thousands of female retail sales employees. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Jenner & Block, and others represent the women, who say the company paid them less than men to do the same work. (BLAW)

  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Medicaid Health Plans of America, a nonprofit trade association of Medicaid managed care organizations, in a federal case brought by six states challenging the federal requirement that states reimburse managed care organizations for certain fees they pay under the Affordable Care Act. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at