Bloomberg Law
March 13, 2019, 11:44 AM

Wake Up Call: Wiretap Used to Ensnare Willkie Co-Chair, Others, in College Entrance Bribery Case

  • Wiretaps were used as evidence to ensnare Willkie Farr & Gallagher Co-Chairman Gordon R. Caplan and others in the federal investigation that accused them of a criminal conspiracy to bribe college admissions officials to get their children into top universities. (New York Law Journal) (BN via BLAW) Caplan, a private equity attorney named “Dealmaker of the Year” by American Lawyer in 2018, allegedly obtained a phony disability certification to allow his daughter to get extra time on a college entrance exam, a report says. (Daily Beast)

  • The scandal means top lawyers at universities that are “unwitting” victims in the case, eight so far, will be on alert for possible civil suits, attorneys said. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Lowenstein partner Paul Matey was confirmed to the Third Circuit bench, which, when he takes his seat, will flip that court to a Republican-appointed majority. A Seton Hall Law grad, Matey is a former top lawyer to ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and was senior VP and general counsel at University Hospital in Newark. (New Jersey Law Journal) (BLAW)

  • Elon Musk’s lawyers yesterday told a federal judge in a filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission is infringing the Tesla CEO’s First Amendment rights by seeking to hold him in contempt of court over his Tweets. The judge then granted a request by SEC lawyer Cheryl Crumpton to respond to “new factual assertions” made by Musk’s lawyers. (Forbes) (Ars Technica) (Bloomberg)

  • Reed Smith hired Gibson Dunn to defend it against $500 million malpractice suit, filed by funds connected to the now defunct Bear Stearns, accusing the law firm of flubbing financial crisis-related actions against ratings agencies that could have been worth billions of dollars. (American Lawyer)

  • President Donald Trump has hinted he has the power to stop the U.S. legal case against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou as part of a big trade deal with China. Attorneys said Trump has such power, but the move would come with unwanted legal and political side effects. (Financial Times)

  • Sidley Austin got Kirkland & Ellis partner Joshua S. Cohen, a former top lawyer at major financial firms, as a partner in its investment funds practice in Chicago. Cohen was previously managing director and general counsel of Highbridge Capital Management, LLC, and global head of alternatives legal for JPMorgan Asset and Wealth Management. (

  • A Minnesota judge ordered Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson to pay over $850,000 to three firms: Holland & Knight, Barnes & Thornburg, and a third firm for their work on matters regarding the late singer’s estate, according to a report. (The Blast)

  • A new book about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor describes, among other things, her frustration with her successor Justice Samuel Alito Jr. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Cooley said it is opening an office in Hong Kong and that its Asia capital markets practice will be led by Hong Kong-based partner Will Cai. Cai, who arrives from Skadden, has in the last 10 years advised on more than 40 completed IPOs in the U.S. and Hong Kong capital markets, Cooley said. (

  • A Manhattan federal judge ordered the Justice Department to reveal the name of a former U.S. attorney who had an extramarital affair with a supervisor in the same office. (Politico)


  • Several Big Law firms advised in an agreement by TPG Capital, the private equity platform of global alternative asset firm TPG, to acquire a majority stake in Goodnight Midstream, an oilfield water management infrastructure company, for about $930 million. TPG Capital, advised by Kirkland & Ellis, is acquiring the company from Tailwater Capital and private investors. Vinson & Elkins advised Goodnight Midstream, while Willkie said it advised the management of Goodnight Midstream. (

  • Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc., a Chicago-based medtech company, said it agreed to acquire Voalte, Inc., a Sarasota-based developer of mobile healthcare communications solutions, for $180 million and up to an additional $15 million in milestone payments. Willkie said it advised Voalte on the deal. (Healthcare IT News)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Barnes & Thornburg added commercial and intellectual property litigator Christina Baugh as a partner in Atlanta. Baugh arrives from local firm Fellows LaBriola. (

  • Reed Smith hired former Seyfarth Shaw partner Andrew Douglass, who specializes in employee benefits and executive compensation, as a partner in its global corporate group in Chicago. He arrives most recently from Polsinelli, where he led the employee benefits and executive compensation group. (

  • Holland & Knight hired Reed Smith litigator Ashley L. Shively as a San Francisco-based partner in its West Coast litigation group. (

  • Dykema added three attorneys in Chicago. Intellectual property litigator Michael A. Dorfman arrives as a member from Katten Muchin Rosenman, where he’d spent nearly two decades. Real estate lawyer Robert “Dean” Hagan joins as senior counsel, arriving from his own firm, Hagan & Vidovic. Previously, he spent 22 years at Mayer Brown, most recently as a partner. Real estate lawyer Heidi J. Herman also arrives as a senior counsel from Hagan & Vidovic, where she’d been a decade, and was previously at Mayer Brown, and before that general counsel at a cancer foundation. (

  • Alabama-based Bradley Arant Boult Cummings re-hired intellectual property partner Paul Sykes, who returns to the firm in Birmingham after about a year as top lawyer at network and communications equipment company ADTRAN Inc. Sykes had previously been at the firm for 19 years, including 13 as a partner in its IP and competitive practices group. (

  • The Brink’s Co. hired away CenterPoint Energy Inc. senior VP and general counsel Dana O’Brien, who’s set to take the same roles at Brink’s in April. (Houston Business Journal)

Legal Education

  • A Columbia Law School teacher and a legal pricing consultant have teamed up to launch a set of online courses aimed at developing legal pricing pros. (American Lawyer)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at