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Wake Up Call: Work in Your Office or Give it Up, Freshfields Says

Aug. 14, 2020, 1:02 PM

In today’s column, law professors are urging the ABA to drop its bar passage standard during the pandemic; the head of the National Conference of Bar Examiners talked recently about the snafus of holding a bar exam during Covid-19; two Texas defense attorneys were indicted for allegedly soliciting the murder of another defense attorney who was married to the ex-husband of one of the pair; the FTC accused “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli of carrying out an anticompetitive scheme from jail.

  • Leading off, as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer makes big lateral moves in the U.S. despite the pandemic, lawyers at its U.K. headquarters face a tough choice ahead of the firm’s move to new premises later this year. The firm told lawyers that if they plan to work remotely, they’ll have to give up their offices. ( International)

  • Law professors, through the Society of American Law Teachers, are urging the American Bar Association to suspend enforcement of its bar passage standard for law schools during the pandemic, citing “a hardship for all law graduates, especially in hot spot regions.” In a letter, the professors said the standard has become impractical as states take divergent approaches to attorney licensing, including traditional in-person tests, so-called emergency diploma privileges, and abbreviated online tests. (

  • Meanwhile, the push to allow lawyers to practice without passing the bar exam in Washington during the pandemic got some heavyweight support, as former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Sean Marotta, another Hogan Lovells Supreme Court practice group partner, called for the D.C. Court of Appeals to adopt a diploma privilege. (BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Two Texas defense attorneys were indicted for allegedly soliciting the murder of another defense attorney who was the ex-husband of one of the pair. (

  • A federal judge upheld the insider trading indictment of Apple Inc.'s ex-head of corporate law Gene Levoff. Levoff’s whose job at the iPhone maker included being a watchdog to prevent insider trading, had argued the 2019 insider-trading indictment was unconstitutional because no specific criminal law bars such conduct. (BLAW)

  • Dykema said its new chairman and chief executive officer will be executive committee member Len Wolfe, a former director of its regulated industries department and leader of its government policy and practice group. Wolfe will start a three-year term starting Jan. 1, 2021, taking over from Peter M. Kellett, who has had the roles since 2012. (

  • Convicted “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli carried out an anticompetitive scheme to raise the price of a life-saving drug from jail and those phone conversations must be made available to Federal Trade Commission attorneys prosecuting an antitrust case against him, the FTC said. (BLAW)

  • Jones Day associate Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has been out of law school for just eight years but she got nominated to a lifetime federal court judgeship by President Trump. (Above the Law)

  • Kirkland & Ellis advised Muzak owner Mood Media on its recent Chapter 11 filing, from which Mood emerged in about a day, which is said to be a record. Milbank said it advised investment firm HPS Investment Partners, LLC as first lien agent and the largest first lien lender in connection with the proceedings. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Lowenstein Sandler recruited New York-based Cooley M&A partner Meredith Beuchaw, who advises venture-backed growth companies and startups, for the firm’s tech group as a partner. According to her LinkedIn, Beuchaw was a Greenberg Traurig shareholder and earlier spent nine years at White & Case as an associate. (

  • First chair trial lawyer Matthew Devine joined White & Case’s commercial litigation practice in Chicago as a partner. The firm said Devine’s practice includes class action defense, trade secrets, and high-stakes “mass raid” cases, with a focus on sensitive matters for corporate clients involving media attention and reputational risk. He joins from Jenner & Block, where he was a partner. (

  • King & Spalding recruited Baker McKenzie M&A and capital markets energy practice partner Jonathan Newton in Houston as a partner. Newton, who started his career at Baker McKenzie, was chair of that firm’s corporate and securities group in Houston. (Texas Lawyer)

  • Dorsey & Whitney’s Des Moines, Iowa, office added a team of four health care lawyers from a local firm, including two partners. (

  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s former general counsel, Harold “Sonny” Cohen, has joined Atlanta-based hybrid firm Taylor English Duma as a corporate partner. (BLAW)


  • Thomson Reuters bought CaseLines, a London-based cloud-based court document and evidence management platform. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • As corporations and law firms shift to remote work in the pandemic, some have become more open to trying alternative legal service providers. But many legal departments are still not budging from their old ways of doing things. (Legaltech News)

Legal Education

  • The National Conference of Bar Examiners designs the bar exams used by almost every U.S. jurisdiction, but it doesn’t control how states license new attorneys. Its chief, Judy Gundersen, talked recently about the difficulty of holding exams in a pandemic. She also addressed flak she’s gotten over her controversial comments during an online panel, which some interpreted as threats against examinees who criticize the process. (

Note: The Wake Up Call is taking a brief hiatus starting Aug. 17 and will return on Aug. 31.

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