Wake Up Call: Microsoft and Cisco Test AI in Law Departments

• Microsoft and Cisco are using pilot projects to test artificial intelligence technology that could help their inhouse legal teams with contract management, before committing significant resources. (Legaltech News)

• Climate scientists have hooked up with lawyers on legal and other actions to fight back at what they say is a campaign by Trump administration and Republican officials to undermine and discredit their work. (New York Times)

• SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reached inside and outside the commission to appoint his legal staff. He hired Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP partner Robert Stebbins as the commission’s general counsel, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP associate Sean Memon for his deputy chief of staff. Jaime Klima, who was co-chief of staff under former acting Chairman Michael Piwowar, will be Clayton’s chief counsel, the commission said. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• A settlement that Sullivan & Cromwell agreed to 40 years ago in a federal gender discrimination suit serves as a measuring stick for how far Big Law has come in the fight for gender equality. (BLB)

• Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said hackers claim to have stolen an unreleased film and are threatening to distribute it online if they aren’t paid a ransom. He said the company refused to pay. (Bloomberg)

• Was Foley & Lardner obligated to warn Bradley Arant Boult Cummings that their lateral hire — former Foley partner Walter “Chet” Little — was under investigation for insider trading? Professional liability and ethics lawyers say “no.” But they wondered about the thoroughness of Bradley Arant’s background check of Little, a real estate and banking lawyer who now faces criminal and civil charges in the case. (Am Law Daily)

• Last weekend Saturday Night Live lampooned law firm Morgan Lewis for its letter vouching that Donald Trump’s income tax returns do not show income from Russian sources or debt owed to Russians with a few “exceptions.” (BLB) Does that kind of spotlight hurt, or help, a firm? (Legal Intelligencer)

 

 

Legal Market

• France’s data protection watchdog, the CNIL, slammed Facebook Tuesday with an announcement that it fined the social media network a maximum 150,000 ($165,697) euros for six “serious” violations of the country’s data protection law. The CNIL said onsite audits coordinated with other member states’ authorities showed that Facebook “massively” combines its 33 million French users’ personal data to use for targeted advertising and uses cookies to track users’ browsing habits on other websites without their knowledge. A CNIL spokeswoman told BLB the investigation of Facebook began before France’s new digital economy law took effect, allowing fines of up to 3 million euros ($3.31 million). (CNIL) Authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Hamburg, and Germany also reported outcomes of their own Facebook investigations. (CNIL)

• A California federal judge ordered Uber Technologies Inc. to quarantine engineer Anthony Levandowski from key work on its driverless-car program and to return the 14,000 files he is accused of stealing from its rival Waymo, where he worked previously. The ruling may bolster Alphabet Inc. unit Waymo’s trade-secrets suit against Uber, although it does not bring Uber’s work to a standstill. (Bloomberg)

• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-1 that states may not impose rules that single out, overtly or otherwise, arbitration agreements for negative treatment. The decision in a closely watched Kentucky nursing home case continues the court’s run of pro-arbitration rulings. (National Law Journal)

• The U.K. Serious Fraud Office sought documents from Societe Generale SA amid probes into a dispute between the French bank and the Libyan Investment Authority, days after the lender agreed to pay 963 million euros ($1.06 billion) to resolve a related civil-bribery lawsuit. The U.K. prosecutor is seeking the files on behalf of the United States, the bank’s lawyer said. (Bloomberg)

• A former Bank of America Corp. senior vice president and her husband were charged with embezzling more than $2.7 million by making charitable donations on behalf of the lender before using intimidation and threats to get much of the money back for their own use. (Bloomberg)

• European Union governments tightened their Brexit negotiation position as they prepare for talks with the U.K. over its departure from the bloc. (Bloomberg)

• FIFA officials doing background checks on the soccer body’s new chief investigator and ethics judge didn’t have enough time to complete their probes, after the organization abruptly dismissed the previous investigator and judge. (Bloomberg)

• A Russian billionaire with ties to Vladimir Putin sued The Associated Press for defamation over a story about his connections to a former Trump campaign chairman. (AP via Bloomberg)

 

 

 

The Trump Administration

• Opinion: Trump’s reported disclosure of Islamic State plans to two Russian officials during an Oval Office visit last week wasn’t illegal. If anyone else in the government, except possibly the vice president, had revealed such classified information that person would be going to prison. (Bloomberg)

• A journalist whom Trump unsuccessfully sued for libel said Trump “repeatedly” told him he had recorded their conversations but then changed his story when he testified under oath. (Bloomberg)

• What do researchers say about Trump’s new voter fraud commission? (Chronicle of Higher Education)

 

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The Supreme Court dealt an unexpected setback to the voter-identification movement, refusing to reinstate North Carolina ballot restrictions that a lower court said target blacks “with almost surgical precision.” (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department will try again to convince a federal appeals court to okay Trump’s order banning travel from six mostly Muslim nations. A key question in the case is whether Trump’s comments as a candidate can be used as evidence that his travel order was founded on religious bias, in violation of the First Amendment. (Bloomberg)

• A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that debt collectors can use bankruptcy proceedings to try to collect liabilities that are so old the statute of limitations has expired. (Bloomberg)

• A California federal judge picked three lawyers to represent plaintiffs in multidistrict antitrust litigation against Qualcomm Inc. over its patent licensing policies. (The Recorder)

• Hong Kong authorities have rejected asylum requests from a group of refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden four years ago, in what their lawyer said is retaliation for helping the former NSA contractor. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• U.K. firm Irwin Mitchell has hired Pinsent Masons’ former real estate practice head Adrian Barlow, to lead its own national real estate group. (The Lawyer)

• A former assistant general counsel at a New Jersey bank said she left her job under pressure after a Republican congressman notified the bank board that she was a “ringleader” for anti-Trump activity. (NJ.com)

 

 

 

Technology

• The “WannaCry” ransomware cyberattack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide Friday and over the weekend apparently did not breach many U.S. law firms, cyber security professionals said. However, they added that the recent case of a Rhode Island law firm hit by ransomeware illustrates the need to prepare for such a breach. (Am Law Daily)

• Expect chaos: The trans-Atlantic flight could soon become a gadget-free zone if U.S. officials press forward with a security ban on laptop computers and other larger electronic devices on airline flights from Europe. (Bloomberg)

• Cyber espionage attacks against foreign companies operating in Vietnam have been traced to a group of hackers “aligned with Vietnamese state interests,” according to a report from cyber-security provider FireEye. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Legal Education

• The American Bar Association put the for-profit Arizona Summit Law School on probation last year for a bar passage rate below 25 percent for first-time takers. The school improved in February’s latest exam, but it is still below 30 percent. Arizona State University and University of Arizona both had 74 percent passage rates. (AZCentral)

• Law schools, like law firms, need to “restructure” to take account of the changing legal profession. That’s not not going to be easy. (Forbes)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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