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InCloud Again Raids Kirkland, This Time for a General Counsel

Feb. 22, 2021, 10:31 AM

Legal technology company InCloud LLC turned to a familiar law firm when looking to hire its first general counsel.

Luke Ruse has joined InCloud after leaving Kirkland & Ellis last month. His move comes more than 11 years after he began his career in Kirkland’s Chicago office. He was one of 83 lawyers promoted into the firm’s large nonequity partner tier in 2014.

“I’ll always be grateful for the extraordinary clients and colleagues I was fortunate to work with,” Ruse wrote on his LinkedIn profile, adding that he was excited to join the “dynamic team” at InCloud.

In his new job, Ruse is reuniting with another former Kirkland colleague. Benjamin Levi, a co-founder of InCloud who now serves as the company’s chief operating officer, was also once a Kirkland associate in Chicago.

“While we do have a bunch of now former lawyers working in non-legal roles, Luke is our first-ever GC,” Levi told Bloomberg Law in an email.

Other Kirkland alums at InCloud include ex-associate Jessica Kuppersmith and former paralegal Jennifer Miedema. Miedema became a business development manager last year in InCloud’s London office, where she works with former Kirkland associate-turned-InCloud managing director Bridget Deiters.

Stephan Soro, a Kirkland associate in Palo Alto, Calif., left the firm in January to join InCloud as a director. The company also hired former Paul Hastings real estate associate Kristen Moran in Los Angeles last summer to be its director of sales.

InCloud, which does business as InCloudCounsel, is an alternative legal services provider (ALSP) that operates an artificial intelligence platform connecting freelance lawyers with clients needing their services.

Bloomberg Law reported last year that InCloud was one of several legal technology companies pushing forward with plans to roll out new products despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Legal Tech Landings

Ruse isn’t the only Big Law refugee to find a new home in the legal technology world, which in recent years has increasingly found itself either competingor partnering—with law firms for in-house attention.

Everlaw Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based electronic discovery company whose investors include high-powered venture capital firms and even some Big Law partners, last year secured $62 million in a Series C fundraising round led by CapitalG LP, the private equity fund of Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc.

In August, Everlaw hired Shana Simmons as its first-ever general counsel. Simmons, born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., and an advocate for diversity in the legal and technology space, joined Everlaw after nearly nine years at Google, where she was most recently senior counsel with the internet search giant’s cloud product team.

Compliance, an e-discovery company owned by System One Holdings LLC, announced Feb. 1 its hire of general counsel Marla Crawford, a former associate general counsel for legal and regulatory at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Crawford led Goldman’s global e-discovery practice, according to Compliance, which also cited her 22 years working at Jones Day prior to joining Goldman in 2010.

Crawford sued Goldman in October, accusing the company and two of its top in-house lawyers of covering up the sexual harassment of another lawyer in her group.

Goldman, represented by Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Roberta Kaplan, has called Crawford’s claims meritless and sought to move the dispute to arbitration.

Other notable appointments include:

  • Axiom Global Inc., a lawyer staffing outfit that in 2019 abandoned plans for an initial public offering in favor of a sale to a private equity firm, promoted global head of legal Catherine Kemnitz in October to chief legal officer. Kemnitz, a Bloomberg Law contributor, said in an email that she now runs Axiom’s legal, compliance, corporate secretary, and corporate development functions. Axiom’s former legal chief, Lisa Young, left the company following the closure of its sale and was recently hired as general counsel for online lender LendingTree LLC.
  • Factor Law Inc., a managed services business once owned by Axiom that secured a new majority owner last year, announced in November its hire of Michael Callier as vice president and head of solutions and consulting. Callier, a former linebacker for the University of Oregon Ducks football team, has worked at Davis Wright Tremaine and held in-house roles at Nike Inc. and Darigold Inc.
  • QualMet LLC, a startup backed by Dentons’ NextLaw Ventures LLC, announced in December its hire of former Corporate Creations International Inc. legal chief Richard Cohen as its first general counsel and president. James Beckett, a former Frost Brown Todd lawyer who was a co-founder of QualMet, resigned in 2019 as CEO of the company, which collects data and other metrics that helps corporate law departments evaluate the performance of their outside counsel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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