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Wake Up Call: Uber Board, Kalanick Beat Investor Suit Over Waymo Secrets

Jan. 14, 2020, 1:04 PM

A nationwide strike by French lawyers protesting pension reform has hit courts and is keeping defendants in jail longer. U.K. firm Linklaters is using “sober chaperones” at events where alcohol flows. In the U.S. a new Citi survey finds law firm leaders’ confidence in the economy is sagging; and rent-a-lawyer startup Atrium is laying off lawyers.

  • Uber Technologies Inc. founder Travis Kalanick and the company’s board yesterday got Delaware’s top court to dismiss a shareholder lawsuit over the ride-hailing giant’s alleged theft of Google self-driving technology. Uber was represented by Covington & Burling and others. Kalanick was represented by Potter Anderson & Coroon and Williams & Connolly, while other directors had Fenwick & West and Delaware firm Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell advising. The plaintiff was represented by Grant & Eisenhofer PA. (BLAW)

  • Law firm leaders say their confidence in the U.S. and global economy has plunged, but they’re still upbeat about their own businesses, a new Citi Private Bank survey finds. (BLAW)

  • In France, trials have been delayed as lawyers nationwide began striking last week to protest government plans to end a special retirement system for them and others who work in the legal sector. A transport strike has paralyzed the country since December. (Associated Press)

  • San Francisco-based alternative legal services provider Atrium is laying off the majority of its lawyers and other legal professionals in a plan to shift its focus to other professional services for startups and founders. (BLAW) When the company was raising tens of millions in funding last year, Atrium’s founder touted its model of renting lawyers to other startups. (BN via BLAW)

  • Greenberg Traurig hired federal prosecutor Kyle Freeny, a Department of Justice lawyer who worked closely with Robert Mueller on the special counsel Russia probe. (National Law Journal)

  • With law firms getting bad press over their drinking culture, U.K. elite firm Linklaters appointed “sober chaperones” lawyer to supervise staff at Christmas social events where alcohol was served. (The Telegraph) (The Lawyer)

  • A former Kasowitz Benson Torres partner sued the firm in California, alleging he was underpaid and fired with no notice. A former Kasowitz lawyer in Texas recently made similar charges against the firm. (The Recorder)

  • Carlton Fields hired the former managing partner of D.C. firm NT Lakis, Rae T. Vann, who was also the general counsel at the Center for Workplace Compliance, the national employer association formerly known as the Equal Employment Advisory Council. She joins Carlton Fields as a shareholder in Washington. (CarltonFields.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • DLA Piper signed a 14-year-plus lease for the entire 38th floor in downtown Houston’s 47-story Texas Tower. The firm says it intends to move its Houston headquarters to the location in January 2022. (Houston Chronicle)

  • Blank Rome said energy parter Sophia Lee is now the firm’s sole chief diversity and inclusion officer. Former diversity and inclusion co-chief Christopher A. Lewis moved to an emeritus role on Jan. 1. (BlankRome.com)

  • Perkins Coie hired former Hogan Lovells strategy leader Deborah Ruffins as its new chief marketing officer. (BLAW)

Deals

  • Sidley Austin represented Anixter International in its merger agreement with Wesco International to create a top electrical and data communications distribution and supply chain services company. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised Wesco on the deal, worth $4.5 billion.(Businesswire.com)

  • Sidley also represented RTI Surgical Holdings, Inc. in its $490 million deal to sell its OEM business to Montagu Private Equity LLP. RTI Surgical Holdings was also advised by Holland & Knight, while Montagu was advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges. (Yahoo! Finance)

  • Michigan-based regional health system Beaumont Health, advised by Hogan Lovells, moved forward on its acquisition of Ohio-based health system Summa Health. The deal is aimed at creating an organization with $6.1 billion in total revenue. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

  • Hogan Lovells also advised German biotech company MorphoSys AG on a potentially $1.1 billion deal with U.S.-based Incyte Corporation for global licensing and development of MorphoSys’ blood cancer drug Tafasitamab. (Biospace.com)

  • A Mayer Brown team is advising The Jordan Company, L.P. on the sale of its portfolio speciality chemicals company Borchers Group Limited, to diversified manufacturer Milliken & Company, advised by Jones Day. (Businesswire.com)

  • Morrison & Foerster advised California-based private equity firm Virgo Investment Group in its sale of a 31.5 megawatt portfolio of operating solar project assets to New Jersey-based Nautilus Solar Energy. (PRNewswire.com)

Reports

  • Texas-based global law firm network Lex Mundi published a report on global M&A trends. (LexMundi.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Goodwin Procter hired employment partner Christina Lewis in Boston. She joins from Hinckley Allen & Snyder, where she led the labor & employment group and served as vice chair of the litigation practice. (GoodwinLaw.com)

  • K&L Gates’ Seattle office added former Latham & Watkins lawyer Robert M. Smithas a partner in its environment, land, and natural resources practice. He arrives from Plauché & Carr. (KLGates.com)

  • Vedder Price hired litigator David Rownd as a shareholder in New York. He was previously a partner at Thompson Coburn. (VedderPrice.com)

  • New York-based firm Abrams Fensterman named transportation attorney Ethan Gerber to executive partner, which makes him one of eight members on its executive committee. (AbramsLaw.com)

  • DLA Piper said its Colombian affiliate DLA Piper Martinez Beltran added former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett associate Sebastian Lora as a partner in Bogota in its project finance and banking & finance practices. (DLAPiper.com)

  • Jones Walker promoted 12 lawyers (four women) to partner. (JonesWalker.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Sidley Austin client Kemper Corporation won affirmation in federal appeals court of its insurance corporate services subsidiary’s arbitration win against Computer Sciences Corporation, in a dispute over technology services. (Insurance Journal)

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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