Wake Up Call: Big Firms Seek Top Floor Perches in D.C. Buildings

• A recent market report says Morrison & Foerster is negotiating to lease the top four floors of 2100 L St. NW in Washington, D.C., a building set to open in 2019 at the earliest. Such a move by MoFo would continue a trend of law firms leasing the top floors of “trophy” office buildings still under development in Washington, and leaving lower floors empty. (Biznow)

• Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is scrapping its takeover of rival Rite Aid Corp. and instead will buy a smaller piece of the drugstore chain, after the original deal was doomed by U.S. antitrust problems. (Bloomberg) Some dealmakers thought the Trump administration would ease antitrust controls. But Norman Armstrong Jr., an antitrust partner at King & Spalding, said the failed Walgreens deal and the FTC’s recent challenge of a proposed tie-up of fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel illustrate that agencies continue to challenge mergers that they think are bad for competition. (New York Times DealBook)

• Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow has a distraction from his work representing Trump during an ongoing criminal probe of the Trump campaign. Attorneys general from New York and North Carolina want to know more about millions of dollars in payments that Christian-themed nonprofits run by Sekulow make to Sekulow himself, his family members and businesses they own. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

• The Trump administration named Janet Dhillon, a veteran corporate in-house lawyer who led legal departments at US Airways and J.C. Penney and now at Burlington Stores Inc., for a seat on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dhillon spent 13 years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she started her career. (National Law Journal)

• Federal prosecutors won their nine-year effort to seize a midtown Manhattan office tower owned by an Iranian charity foundation, in what one official called the largest civil forfeiture jury verdict and the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in U.S. history. Debevoise & Plimpton lawyer John Gleeson, the Alavi Foundation’s lead lawyer, said it is considering its options. (Bloomberg)

• President Donald Trump picked yet another Jones Day lawyer for his administration, nominating Eric Dreiband to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. A partner at the firm, Dreiband has defended major companies against discrimination lawsuits. (National Law Journal)

• Just like entertainment or other industries, the legal media and the business of law has its own jargon. BLB’s Josh Block takes you through 14 terms running from “AFAs” to “white shoe firms” by way of “rainmakers.” Video. (BLB)

 

 

Legal Market

• Michigan State University is reported to have paid more than $1 million in legal fees as it defends itself from potential liabilities linked to criminal sexual assault charges against a doctor who worked for the university and USA Gymnastics. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has billed the school $869,449 and Detroit-based firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone has billed it $144,469. (Am Law Daily)

• Akin Gump lawyers for Deutsche Bank AG pushed back against requests by Democrat lawmakers for information related to loans to Trump, saying the German lender cannot legally turn over the documents. (Bloomberg)

• A group of Banco Popular SA bondholders hired Quinn Emanuel Uruhart & Sullivan LLP to challenge a forced write down of the Spanish lender’s junior debt. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Lawyers for former Barclays Plc traders convicted in the U.K. of rigging Libor are attacking the credibility of an expert witness for the prosecution who texted friends during breaks in his testimony for help to describe banking terms. (Bloomberg)

• Rupert Murdoch faces more negotiations with U.K. regulators in his effort to take full control of Sky Plc for 11.7 billion pounds ($15.2 billion). The government yesterday said it plans to refer the bid back for additional review unless 21st Century Fox Inc. offers steeper concessions. (Bloomberg)

• A federal class-action lawsuit accuses Tele Pay USA, a nationwide phone sex company, of cheating employees out of compensation. (Washington Post)

 

 

The Trump Administration

 

• In a recent Senate hearing, Dechert partner Steven Bradbury, Trump’s pick for general counsel of the U.S. Transportation Department, got some tough questions about his work for the now-bankrupt Takata Corp., which was hit by legal and financial fallout over faulty air bags linked to more than 100 deaths and injuries. Takata recently agreed to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties to resolve fraud allegations. (National Law Journal) Bradbury wrote the legal memos “authorizing CIA torture” under the George W. Bush administration. (Vox.com)

• Democrats on two House committees want the Justice Department’s inspector general to examine whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s involvement in the firing of FBI Director James Comey broke his promise to recuse from Russia-related matters. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The Trump administration’s revised travel ban faced a new court challenge as soon as it took effect Thursday after the president’s signature immigration policy already weathered months of protests, legal wrangling and delays. (Bloomberg) Lawyers and civil rights activists prepared for potential chaos and new cases of denied entry. (NBC News)

 

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• One of Cincinnati’s biggest firms, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, hired former Latham & Watkins associate Peter Solimine as a partner for its business and finance group. Solimine, whose Linkedin page indicates he started out at White & Case in 2006, comes most recently from Ohio firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, where he was a partner. (Cincinnati Business Courier) (Linkedin)

• Cleveland-based McDonald Hopkins LLC is expanding its Miami, Florida, office, adding all four attorneys of local firm Cohen | Ruiz, which focuses on real estate, business, banking, insurance and construction. The addition of Robert Cohen and Mario Ruiz, as members, and Joelle Dvir and Regene Shanzer as associates on July 10 will give McDonald Hopkins 20 lawyers in Florida and 140 nationwide. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

 

 

Technology

• With companies worldwide still dealing with after-effects of a huge ransomware attack, a Microsoft assistant general counsel offers six steps for lawyers to secure their IT systems. Perspective. (BLB)

• Big data startup TheNumber can tell mortgage traders an amazing amount of things about borrowers, and that data is a critical tool in the $9 trillion mortgage bond market. But lawyers say that giving so much data to investors is raising concerns among consumer rights watchdogs. (Bloomberg)

• Entrepeneurs selling digital media players doctored to let them easily tap unauthorized content are the latest challenge in the battle against piracy, which costs the entertainment industry billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. (Bloomberg)

• Don’t over-regulate the self-driving car industry, GM’s chief product cybersecurity officer told a recent gathering of federal regulators. (Legaltech News)

 

 

Miscellaneous

• A California attorney was summarily disbarred after a jury convicted him of 19 criminal offenses, including tax evasion, identity theft and several others; and other news from a roundup of disbarments, suspensions and probations in California. (California Lawyer)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.  

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