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Wake Up Call: Wachtell Works on $37 Billion in Deals in One Weekend

Aug. 4, 2020, 12:55 PM

In today’s column, Kirkland’s already churning restructuring department got more work as two major retailers filed for bankruptcy; EY Law‘s new survey of legal departments finds most are not using legal services providers for the bulk of their legal needs; several law firms have made life sciences hires recently in anticipation of Covid-19-related work; Cleary advised Google’s parent company in a record $5.75 billion sustainability bond offering; Former FBI director Louis Freeh sold his consulting firm to risk-management consulting firm AlixPartners.

  • Leading off, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised on more than $37 billion in deals, just on Sunday. The firm advised both Varian Medical Systems in its $16.4 billion sale to German health care group Siemens Healthineers, advised by Latham & Watkins, and advised Marathon Petroleum Co. on its sale of convenience chain Speedway to 7-Eleven Inc. for $21 billion. 7-Eleven was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. (American Lawyer)

  • Kirkland & Ellis’ restructuring department which has already billed millions in fees from its work on Chapter 11 filings by retailers slammed by the Covid-19 pandemic recently got a big chunk of new work on the bankruptcy filings of Lord & Taylor and Tailored Brands. The firm’s top billing partners and of counsel charge as much as $1,845 an hour, while top associates bill up to $1,165 per hour, according to a report. (American Lawyer)

  • Arnold & Porter and the National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for failing to provide American Sign Language interpreters during Covid-19 briefings. (National Law Journal)

  • New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore vowed to continue the state’s resumption of in-person proceedings “in a careful and deliberate manner and at a safe pace,” despite criticism. (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Quinn Emanuel raised eyebrows, and questions, with its recent request for nearly $185 million in fees for representing insurers in an Obamacare case. The request would come to about a $18,500 hourly rate. (BLAW)

  • Cleary Gottlieb said it represented Google parent Alphabet Inc. in a $5.75 billion bonds issuance that was part of the biggest-ever corporate bond sale dedicated to environmental, social, and governance purposes. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Three female lawyers suing Jones Day for pay bias failed to get a federal judge to delay a discovery ruling on their Equal Pay Act claims. The judge raised concerns they are asking for too much information, but he said they could try again with a narrower request. (American Lawyer)

  • Former FBI director Louis Freeh sold his consulting firm to risk-management consulting firm AlixPartners. Willkie Farr & Gallagher represented AlixPartners on the deal. (

  • New Jersey-headquartered Bressler, Amery & Ross said it expanded into Texas with new offices in Houston and Dallas, by acquiring eight-attorney litigation and arbitration firm Ballard & Littlefield. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Katten Muchin Rosenman boosted its insolvency and restructuring practice in London in anticipation of tough times for business in the next few years. The firm added partner Prav Reddy and senior associate Mark Johnson, with both arriving from Charles Russell Speechlys. (

  • Several firms have been making life sciences hires in anticipation of work linked to the pandemic. K&L Gates said its San Francisco office got veteran life sciences industry in-house leader H. Thomas Anderton as a partner in the firm’s IP procurement and portfolio management practice. He joins from Squire Patton Boggs and his previous in-house roles include general counsel and secretary at Zonare Medical Systems, vice president IP and legal affairs at Presidio Pharmaceuticals, among others. (

  • Perkins Coie said the former dean of the University of San Diego School of Law and a professor of law, Stephen Ferruolo, who is also a life sciences attorney, joined the firm’s emerging companies & venture capital practice as a partner in San Diego. He was previously a partner at Goodwin Proctor and Heller Ehrman and he currently serves on the board of directors of BIOCOM, the world’s largest regional life sciences association. (

  • Arnold & Porter added intellectual property litigators Christopher Renk and Michael Harris, as partners, and Helen Minsker as senior counsel, in Chicago. They were previously at IP boutique Banner Witcoff. (

  • K&L Gates’ Hong Kong office added partners Sook Young Yeu, Scott Peterman, and William Ho as partners in the firm’s integrated funds and private equity practices. They arrive from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. (K&L Gates)

  • Foley & Lardner recruited fund formation lawyer Stephen M. Meli as a partner in Boston. He arrives from Proskauer Rose, where he was a partner in the private investment funds group. (

  • Orrick said German and EU antitrust adviser Lars Mesenbrink joined the firm’s Düsseldorf office as a partner, arriving from Hengeler Mueller. (

  • DLA Piper said energy industry in-house senior counsel Raul Farias joined the firm as a partner its corporate practice and energy sector, based in San Diego. (

  • Mintz added corporate attorney Louis Mercedes as a member based in Boston. He was most recently at Jones Day as of counsel and Boston office diversity chair. (

  • Buchalter said Haynes and Boone partner Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila joined the firm as chair of its appellate practice, based in Orange County, California. She was appellate co-chair at Haynes and Boone. (Buchalter)

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth recruited Seyfarth Shaw worklaw partner Scott Nelson in Houston as a partner. He earlier spent over 13 years at Baker McKenzie as a partner and led that firm’s domestic U.S. employment counseling and litigation practice. (


  • Luxembourg-based satellite services giant Intelsat SA hired a new government relations chief in Peter Davidson, a former Verizon Communications Inc. executive and general counsel of the U.S. Commerce Department. Davidson most recently served as a deputy dean at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. (BLAW)

  • Bison Trails Co., a founding member of digital currency group the Libra Association, recruited former Goldman Sachs in-house lawyer Elizabeth Ralston to be its first general counsel. She was most recently legal & compliance director at BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency and blockchain investment firm. (BLAW)


  • EY Law‘s new survey of 1,058 legal departments in organizations across 25 countries finds a majority are not using alternative legal service providers for most of their legal needs. But use of outsourcing is expanding and could grow because of the pandemic, the survey says. (Legaltech News)

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

To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at