Wake Up Call: Get Ready for Gorsuch’s Confirmation Hearings

• Over a year after Republicans first refused to consider President Barack Obama’s pick to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia, confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch would give President Donald Trump his first big chance to put a long-lasting mark on the court. (Washington Post) What to expect from the Senate confirmation hearings, which start today. (National Law Journal)

• When Stewart Dolin, a 57-year-old former co-chair of Reed Smith’s corporate and securities practice, jumped in front of a Chicago “L” train in 2010, was it Big Law stress or an adverse reaction to a GlaxoSmithKline antidepressant drug that pushed him? Potentially $12 million in damages is at stake as a federal jury considers those questions in a trial running in Chicago. (Am Law Daily)

• In another “deep dive” BLB podcast, we focus on the law firm Jones Day. The firm has already seen at least 14 of their lawyers take roles in Donald Trump’s administration. Businessweek’s Paul Barrett and Above the Law’s David Lat join Josh Block to discuss. (BLB)

• Chicago law firm McDermott Will & Emery helped longtime client Caterpillar come up with the tax strategy that saved the company $2.4 billion in taxes. That plan has drawn scrutiny from federal lawmakers and might be a factor in federal prosecutors’ recent raid on the company’s headquarters. (Crain’s Chicago Business) As Caterpillar deals with that probe, it is said to have hired lawyer William Barr, a former U.S. attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. The company was reportedly instrumental in a return by Barr to Kirkland & Ellis as of counsel in Washington, D.C. (Am Law Daily)

• DLA Piper plans to shutter its Berlin office, after the office’s two lawyers left to launch Manchester firm DWF’s third office in Germany. (The Lawyer)

• Jackson Lewis and Baker McKenzie recently announced new alternative work arrangements for lawyers, making them the latest major firms to join a growing trend to offer such programs. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius announced its plan earlier in the month. (Am Law Daily)

 

 

 

Gorsuch Confirming Hearing

• Trump is betting that Gorsuch will be his tie-breaker on the now-split U.S. Supreme Court. But as lawmakers scrutinize Gorsuch’s decade-long tenure on a federal appeals court, his record shows that on immigration rights, he can’t be easily categorized. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• The good, the bad and the ugly from the most recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings. (National Law Journal)

 

 

Legal Market

 • China recently won a favorable decision by a three-person tribunal at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, D.C., in a dispute over a Korean developer’s golf course investment. Dentons and Zhong Lun Law Firm represented the Chinese government in the case, China’s first-ever investment treaty arbitration. (Asian Lawyer via Law.com)

• South Carolina firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has its first West Coast location, an office south of downtown Los Angeles to serve its auto-industry clients. Richard Otera, a former in-house lawyer at Honda North America Inc. and general counsel for Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., will be managing partner, among five lawyers the firm said it hired to staff the new office. (The Recorder)

• Jones Day’s internal investigation for U.S.-based precious metals company NTR Metals led to the firing of a salesman and his indictment on charges that he was involved in a smuggling network that allegedly netted billions of dollars for drug dealers and other criminals in South America. (Bloomberg)

• Chelsea Grayson, the lawyer-chief executive officer of American Apparel, knew she wanted to become a CEO as early as high school. In a recent profile on BLB, Grayson explained: “I see the world in a particular way and I like to impart that and it’s hard to do as effectively when you’re not running it.” (BLB)

• Anthem Inc.’s proposed $54 billion purchase of Cigna Corp. would be a kick in the gut to U.S. hospitals, a national organization representing nearly 5,000 hospitals and other health providers said in urging a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court decision blocking the deal. (National Law Journal)

• A former fightfighter’s effort to get a special prosecutor to steer a criminal complaint targeting Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the so-called Bridgegate lane-closing scandal may finally be dead. A New Jersey judge last week rejected the petition a third time. (Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report)

 

 

 

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• After international sanctions on Iran were relaxed last year, Iranian-Americans started looking to invest money in their homeland. But Donald Trump’s entry into the White House has brought new policy uncertainty, so many are now planning to pull it out, lawyers and others said. (Bloomberg)

• Preet Bharara was fired as he was investigating trading that Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price made in stocks of health-related companies while Price worked on legislation affecting the firms, according to a report. (Pro Publica)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Trump has moved his travel ban fight to a Virginia federal appeals court, hoping to get a more sympathetic hearing in his bid to overrule a Maryland judge who blocked his executive order imposing restrictions on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries. (Bloomberg)

• The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is set to hear for the second time an investment adviser’s argument that the SEC’s administrative law judges are unconstitutionally hired. The court’s decision in the case, for which oral argument is scheduled for May 24, could have profound implications for in-house courts at the SEC and other federal agencies. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• Trump’s administration told a U.S. appeals court that it wants the power to fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, but that doesn’t mean it wants the agency disbanded. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• A star witness in the retrial of two former Dewey & LeBoeuf executives testified that he never discussed improper accounting adjustments with former Dewey executive director Stephen DiCarmine. (New York Law Journal)

• The legal world is abuzz over a highly unusual dissent issued last week by a federal appellate judge in a Texas redistricting case. (Bloomberg View)

• Two recent cases show how deep the divergence is between liberal American ideas about freedom of speech and religion and European conceptions of equality. (Bloomberg View)

 

 

 

Technology

• Manufacturing companies have for years used project management tools to improve efficiency in their production lines and research labs. Initially hesitant, law firms dealing with cost-conscious clients have warmed up to legal project management to help them track progress and improve transparency. Here’s a look at such efforts by law firms in the Twin Cities in Minneapolis. (Star Tribune)

• As the hacking collective “Anonymous,” known for its activism against big corporations, security forces, and governments, takes aim at central banks, “the question is not if, but when,” a bank will be a victim of a cyber-attack, a DLA Piper cyber-security lawyer said. (Bloomberg)

• Uber Technologies Inc. President Jeff Jones is quitting after less than a year, amid multiple controversies engulfing the ride-hailing company. (Bloomberg)

• Tel Aviv-based LawGeex says it has developed an automated one-hour contract approval function that can okay most routine contracts like nondisclosure agreements, software licenses and purchase order agreements in that time, saving inhouse lawyers’ expertise for weightier work. (LawGeex)

 

 

Legal Education

• Opinion: The Law School Admissions Test is a “speed bump” that helps separate those who truly want to be lawyers from those who can’t figure out what else to do with their  lives. Harvard Law School’s move to drop the LSAT as a requirement to get in law school might expand the pool of applicants, but it won’t increase the number of people in law school who actually want to be lawyers, argues a former practicing lawyer. (New York Times)

 

Miscellaneous

• For St. Patrick’s Day, BLB talked to Michael Kelly, the New Jersey-based managing partner of McCarter & English. Kelly is possibly the most Irish chairman in Big Law, outside of Ireland anyway. (BLB)

• Film director Roman Polanski is seeking in court to resolve the sexual misconduct conviction that’s haunted him for 40 years and visit the Los Angeles grave of actress Sharon Tate, his wife murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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