Wake Up Call: Covington Report Means More Work for Uber Lawyers

• A Texas woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India is suing Uber Technologies Inc. in U.S. court, accusing company executives of “rape denial” and violating her medical privacy. The Jane Doe lawsuit, filed by Wigdor LLP, comes as Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes a leave of absence and his close confidant and business head, Emil Michael, is forced out following a report by Covington & Burling on workplace harassment at the company. (Bloomberg) Observers said Uber’s legal department will probably play a big role in implementing Covington’s recommendations for the company to fix its corporate culture problems and repair its public image. (Corporate Counsel)

• Male in-house counsel still dominate higher pay tiers, but few believe that there is a gender pay disparity problem, a new report says. The Association of Corporate Counsel’s survey of 1,800 in-house counsel in 53 countries finds “a dramatic picture of gender pay disparity” for female in-house attorneys. (Corporate Counsel)

• With Trump facing multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Vice President Mike Pence hired Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuireWoods LLP. (Bloomberg via BLB) Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe, is said to also be investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. (Washington Post)

• Lawyers are putting in long hours helping immigrants panicking over the Trump travel ban at JFK International Airport in New York. (New York Daily News) President Donald Trump paid his first official visit to the U.S. Supreme Court, just as the justices are considering what to do with his embattled travel ban. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Amidst a surge in cyberattacks on big companies including hacks targeting law firms, one GC is requiring his biggest outside law firms —including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher — to encrypt their communications with his company. The move is said to be one of many general counsel requiring stronger cybersecurity from outside law firms. (BLB)

• This spring CVS expanded the title and role of its general counsel, Tom Moriarty, in a change that often has him speaking for the company to the public and to legislators. Moriarty told BLB in a recent interview that, with the Trump administration considering a repeal of Obamacare and other big regulatory changes, he expects other healthcare companies will also lean more on their general counsel. (BLB)

 

 

 

Law Firm Business

• Butler Snow said it re-elected its 68-year-old chairman, Donald Clark Jr., to continue in that role through 2020. Since Clark’s first election in 2006, the Mississippi-based firm has grown from 140 lawyers in three offices to 330 lawyers across 24 offices, it said. (Am Law Daily)

• Hogan Lovells is merging with the 25-lawyer boutique, Boston law firm Collora, the firms announced Thursday. (BLB)

 

 

Legal Market

• The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing JPMorgan Chase & Co. of violating the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against fathers who ask for parental leave. The ACLU complaint could lead to a federal lawsuit if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds it has merit and parties are unable to settle. (Bloomberg)

• Government services contractor DynCorp International got some bad press, as federal authorities filed criminal charges alleging that workers for the Virginia-based company schemed to cheat the State Department out of millions of dollars. It also faces an unrelated civil suit in the District of Columbia in which the Justice Department accuses the company of letting a subcontractor charge excessive rates. (Washington Post) Meanwhile, DynCorp’s former top lawyer, Laurence Grayer, found a new job, at Washington, D.C.-based professional services company Creative Associates International, where he’ll be vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer. (Govcon Wire)

• The business community has expressed alarm that slow government processes drag out antitrust reviews of proposed mergers. For instance, it took the Federal Trade Commission over a year to clear a deal between paint makers Sherwin-Williams Co. and Valspar Corp. But the FTC’s top antitrust official told Bloomberg BNA that review delays are mostly attributable to the merging parties. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• Three intellectual property boutiques — Fish & Richardson; Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner; and Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox — still dominate litigation before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, but several Big Law firms have cracked the top 10, according to an annual review of America Invents Act litigation. (National Law Journal)

• Brexit could lead to a major “brain drain” from the U.K, according to a new survey from global law firm Baker McKenzie. (Bloomberg)

• The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to recover $540 million in assets — including art works, jewelry and film rights — that it says were purchased with funds misappropriated from Malaysia’s 1MDB wealth fund. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Mueller

• Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s move to investigate whether Donald Trump sought to get the FBI to back off from a probe of his former national security adviser has angered the president and raised the stakes in the inquiry of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. On Twitter, Trump attacked the probe as “a witch hunt.” (Bloomberg)

• No matter what Mueller finds, what happens to Trump’s presidency ultimately remains a political decision that Congress must address. (Bloomberg View)

 

 

The Trump Administration

• A White House ethics waiver that allows chief strategist Steve Bannon to talk to his former employer Breitbart News is “problematic,” the top federal ethics official said in a letter Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

• Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, is facing two ethics complaints filed to the New York and Washington, D.C., bars over his reported advice to White House staffers. Kasoawitz’s spokesman called the complaints “meritless.” (New York Law Journal)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The recent emoluments clause lawsuits by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia and by nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress could cast badly needed sunlight on the murky workings of Trump’s business empire. The cases are also significant because they could land before the Supreme Court. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

• Chadbourne & Parke will have to wait a little longer to see if it can get a gender discrimination lawsuit by female partners thrown out of court. A federal judge granted lead plaintiff Kerrie Campbell and two other female partners limited discovery on the question of whether they are or were “employees” of the law firm entitled to protection under federal and local anti-discrimination laws. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB) The ruling is good news for the plaintiffs, and “Big Law gossips.” (Above The Law)

• New York Governor Andrew Cuomo named a Manhattan appellate judge to replace the late Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who died in April. If confirmed by the senate, Paul Feinman would be the first openly gay judge to serve on New York’s highest court. (New York Law Journal)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• After losing a five-lawyer corporate team led by partner Scott Bartel to Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith in Sacramento, Locke Lord closed its office in that city. (The Recorder)

• Sun Basket Inc., a two-year-old San Francisco-based food tech company, hired its first general counsel, Isobel Jones, who started her career as a Cooley associate and most recently served as GC at various food companies. (The Recorder)

• Flora Darpino, the first woman to serve as the U.S. Army’s judge advocate general, managing over 4,500 military lawyers, learned early in life that it would take hard work to overcome prejudice. A three-star general, she’s retiring in August. (National Law Journal)

 

 

Technology

• A startup said it has raised $10.5 million in funding for a technology services company aimed at streamlining in-house legal work to make it more manageable for lawyers and those who work at law firms. (Tech Crunch)

• Seventeen years after the Year 2000 bug came and went, the Trump administration announced it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including an obscure rule that requires them to continue providing updates on their preparedness for it. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Corporate chatroom startup Slack Technologies Inc. is said to have gotten inquiries about a potential takeover from technology companies including Amazon.com Inc. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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