Wake Up Call: Mueller Exits WilmerHale, Has Wide Latitude for Probe

• The Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller special counsel to lead the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election. The appointment comes as the White House is reeling from President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on May 9. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• In order to take the new appointment, Mueller is resigning from his partner role at WilmerHale. (BLB) The investigation by Mueller, a “legendary” by-the-book former Marine, homicide squad supervisor and veteran FBI director, will be “finished when he says it’s finished,” whatever pushback he might get from Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his friends and fans both said. (Politico) The letter appointing Mueller gives him exceedingly broad authority to follow his investigation wherever it leads. Think of Ken Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton, which began with the dud lead of the Whitewater scandal and ended with Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. (Bloomberg View)

• Trump on Wednesday interviewed four potential candidates for his new FBI director, including Joseph I. Lieberman, the former Democratic turned independent senator from Connecticut, in hopes of making a nomination before he leaves on a long foreign trip on Friday. (New York Times) Alice Fisher, a prominent white collar lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., withdrew her name from the pool of contenders. (National Law Journal)

• The University of California’s Berkeley School of Law on Wednesday named Constitutional Law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as its next dean, opening a new chapter after its last permanent dean exited in March 2016 amid sexual harassment allegations. (BLB)

• Big Law firms are stealing from the playbook of technology and private equity companies by adding chief talent officers — a mashup position that combines human resources, recruiting and some aspects of den mothering. BLB talked recently to two recently hired CTOs about challenges and goals of the job: legal consultant Jennifer Queen in Bracewell LLP’s Dallas office, and author and recruiting expert Susan Manch at Winston & Strawn LLP  in Washington, D.C. (BLB)

 

 

The Trump Administration

• A schematic look at the minefield navigated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who made the decision to appoint Mueller. (Bloomberg)

• Some former federal prosecutors working for Big Law firms have already made their opinions known about Trump’s dismissal of Comey. But others, considering risks that crossing Trump and the Justice Department could have for their practices, are not yet willing to stick their necks out. (Am Law Daily)

• Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is reportedly set to take a job in the Department of Homeland Security. (Vox.com)

 

 

Law Firm Business

• The Proskauer Rose partner suing her firm for gender discrimination filed the suit as “Jane Doe” because she feared a public suit could damage her career, said her lawyer, David Sanford. (BLB)

• DLA Piper said it has added a Nigerian firm to its network in Africa. (Legal Week) It also said it has cancelled its planned linkup with an Algerian firm. (The Lawyer)

•  A former Snap Inc. employee’s federal whistle-blower lawsuit against the company is getting bankrolled by litigation funder Pravati Capital. That makes it the first publicly announced litigation funding arrangement, a lawyer for the finance company said. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• A dispute in a U.S. forex case between Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and two plaintiffs firms, Hausfeld and Scott + Scott, could have implications for the three firms’ ambitions to score roles in foreign exchange rate manipulation litigation in the U.K. and Europe. (Am Law Daily)

 

 

Legal Market

• The European Union’s executive body fined Facebook Inc. 110 million euros ($122 million) for misleading regulators during a 2014 review of the WhatsApp messaging service takeover, but it won’t overturn approval for the $22 billion purchase. (Bloomberg)

• Qualcomm Inc.’s battle with Apple Inc. is heating up as the chip company hauls assemblers of the iPhone into a U.S. court on claims they are failing to pay patent royalties. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Prescription drug company Omnicare Inc. agreed to pay $8 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged it falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid in 28 states for a different drug than actually dispensed. (New Jersey Law Journal)

• The Justice Department is said to be preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV if talks fail to resolve differences over the automaker’s alleged violations of U.S. clean-air rules with its diesel vehicles. (Bloomberg)

• The DOJ’s pilot program for corporations to self-report violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act garnered 22 voluntary disclosures in its first year, the department said. (National Law Journal)

• Frontier Airlines is facing discrimination complaints by pregnant or breast-feeding pilots and flight attendants, filed by the ACLU and New York litigation boutique Holwell Shuster & Goldberg. (Corporate Counsel)

• With more FIFA watchdogs quitting in protest of the recent firing of two ethics investigators, corruption is casting a pall on the future of the World Cup soccer tournament. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• The 210-plus Missouri-based law firm Spencer Lane has opened a branch in Las Vegas, with key help from its new lead partner in the city, John Mowbray. Mowbray, who as former president of Nevada’s State Bar led rule modernization that made it easier for out-of-state law firms to set up in the state, is a second-generation Nevada lawyer whose former firm once represented musician Liberace and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes Jr. (Am Law Daily)

• U.K. firm Addleshaw Goddard promoted deputy general counsel Sarah O’Neill to replace Simon Callander as general counsel. Callander left to become GC at SuperGroup PLc, a fashion retailer. (The Lawyer)

• Thompson Hine hired three lawyers from Cooley for a new government contracts practice in Washington, D.C. Partner Thomas Mason will head the practice, while Francis “Chip” Purcell, who was a special counsel at Cooley, becomes a Thompson Hine partner, and Ray McCann joins as counsel. (Am Law Daily)

• Cozen O’Connor said six more attorneys have joined from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: employee benefit/ERISA attorneys John H. Wilson, Lynn Brehm and Matthew Clyde, labor and employment attorney Brian A. Casal, and commercial litigators William J. Moorhead and Gabrielle Lee. The firm added 17 lawyers from Buchanan earlier this month. (Cozen)

 

 

 

Technology

• U.S. anti-terrorism officials met for four hours Wednesday in Brussels with their European counterparts who are resisting a proposed expansion of a laptop ban in airline passenger cabins. U.S. officials called the threat critical but stopped short of any new action. (Bloomberg)

• Days after the global cyber attack, U.K. police are trying to figure out whether it was an established network of criminals, state-backed hackers or bored teenagers that crippled the country’s health service. (Bloomberg)

• Google said it is rethinking all its products for an “AI-first world.” (Financial Times)

• The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced a new lab aimed at giving financial technology companies to get guidance on CFTC regulations, and for the commission to get information on new technology that can help it keep up with markets. (Waterstechnology)

 

 

 

Legal Education

• The Law School Admissions Test discriminates against the blind, a Michigan man’s lawsuit against the body that administers the test charges. (Mlive)

• If you want to have the best chances of landing a “real” legal job soon after graduating law school, attending one of these five schools gives you the highest chance of doing that, according to new ABA data. (Above The Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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