Wake Up Call: February Bar Exam Scores Drop to New Low

• The average score on the multistate bar exam hit a record low in February, suggesting another fall in overall bar passage rates, the American Bar Association reported. (ABA Journal)

• The death of New York appeals judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam was likely a suicide, police said. (New York Daily News) Abdus-Salaam made a significant impact on the law despite the relatively short period she spent as the first black woman on the state’s highest court. (New York Law JournalHer tragedy cast light on issues of mental health on the bench. Although bar associations devote resources to helping attorneys battle mental health and addiction, not nearly as many resources go to judges, possibly because many jurists don’t want to talk about those problems. (National Law Journal)

• Morgan Stanley has faced a number of SEC compliance issues recently and now it has hired its second chief compliance officer in as many years, with Raul Yanes to replace the departing Billy Fenrich. Yanes is leaving Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he headed its Washington, D.C. office and white collar practice. Fenrich, also a former Davis Polk partner, is said to be headed to join Greenwich-based hedge fund AQR Capital. (BLB)

• Amazon has hired a former Obama administration lawyer as its new vice president and associate general counsel, getting Katie Thomson, from Morrison & Foerster, where she was a partner. Thomson is leaving MOFO less than a year after she came from the government, where she was general counsel at the Department of Transportation and former chief counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration. (The Recorder,  DC Velocity)

• Debevoise & Plimpton said it hired Winston M. Paes, a former federal Brooklyn prosecutor focused on financial fraud, to join its New York office where he will specialize in white collar and regulatory defense work. (BLB) Why is the revolving door between Debevoise and the government spinning so fast lately? One big reason is Debevoise’s lockstep compensation system, which is a draw for former government officials looking to focus on clients and cases rather than getting credit as individual lawyers. (New York Times DealBook)

 

 

 

Law Firm Business

• Several Big Law firms are waiting to get paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal work after the bankruptcies this week of two medical device makers and global information technology consultancy Ciber Inc. (Am Law Daily)

• A federal case in California illustrates the risks of partners in limbo, as law firm partnerships get more complicated.  Even though former Heller Ehrman partner K. William Neuman had left the firm’s partnership in 2008 and was getting paid a salary, he was still technically a shareholder when the firm went bust and so is not entitled to backpay, the court ruled. (The Recorder)

 

 

United Airlines

• The passenger dragged off a United Continental Holdings Inc. flight suffered a concussion, a broken nose and two lost teeth, one of his lawyers said Thursday. The injured man’s legal team is investigating possible legal claims against the airline and will “probably” file a lawsuit, attorney Thomas Demetrio said. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• A close reading of the fine print of the contract included in every ticket purchased from United Continental Holdings Inc. strongly suggests that United breached its contract with passenger David Dao. But there’s nothing illegal about breaking a contract. (Bloomberg View)

 

Legal Market

• The University of Florida’s top legal official Jamie Keith is facing an internal investigation stemming from an outside lawyer’s complaints about her, while a state attorney said he had received worrying information about her. (Daily Business Review)

• Barclays CEO Jes Staley did not try to hide his attempts to unmask a whistle-blower, people with knowledge of the situation said. Barclays announced Monday that U.K. regulators had opened investigations into Staley’s conduct and the bank’s controls. (Bloomberg)

• A Florida appeals court ordered two cigarette companies to pay $35 million to a man who had to have two lung transplants after smoking cigarettes for nearly 40 years. (The Ledger)

• A Trump company fighting a Florida paint subcontractor’s $32,500 bill got shellacked for more than 10 times that much in litigation costs. (Miami Herald.com) Florida health inspectors cited the restaurant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club for 13 “high-priority” violations, including undercooled meat and dangerous fish. (Miami Herald)

 

 

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• A federal lawsuit filed by environmental group the Center for Biological Diversity and an Arizona congressman seeks to block President Donald Trump’s Mexico border wall, claiming that the administration has failed to study the wall’s environmental impact. (New York Times)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A significant roster of major Big Law attorneys and other big wigs have chimed in as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a petition to review an appeals court’s rejection of a $655 million jury award to victims of Middle East terrorism and their estates. (National Law Journal)

• A federal appeals court put the brakes on the trade secrets lawsuit by Google’s driverless car unit Waymo against Uber Technologies Inc., but those brakes could come off as soon as this weekend. Or maybe not. (The Recorder)

• The United Airlines case shows that airlines should do more to compensate inconvenienced flyers. But what about the miserable compensation that jurors get, asks a writer. (Am Law Daily)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Partners at London-based Simmons & Simmons reelected Colin Passmore to his third term as the firm’s senior partner. (The Lawyer)

 

 

Technology

• Companies that suspect that an employee has ripped off data should consult a computer forensics expert who has special tools to find and preserve electronic data that can provide a basis for legal action. (Law Journal Newsletters)

• Facebook Inc. published full-page ads in Germany’s biggest newspapers advising readers on how to detect fake news, after Angela Merkel’s government pressured the company to do more to combat such content on its network. (Bloomberg)

• Far-flung New Zealand used to have a hard time selling itself as a tech hub, but all the political upheaval in the United States and Europe has now made that isolation part of its appeal for tech workers looking for a new place to settle. (New York Times DealBook)

• The Trump campaign applauded when WikiLeaks leaked damaging information about Hilary Clinton last year, but now Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo is saying the group walks and talks like “a hostile intelligence service.” (Tech Crunch) Pompeo dismissed as “fanciful notions” recent suggestions that intelligence officials can spy on people through microwaves. He didn’t mention White House staffer Kellyanne Conway, who made such a suggestion last month. (Politico)

 

 

Legal Education

• The interim dean of embattled Charlotte School of Law, D. Scott Broyles, abruptly resigned Thursday after less than a month on the job, amidst signs that the school is headed for a “derailment.” (Above The Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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