Wake Up Call: Senate to Grill Trump’s King & Spalding Pick for FBI Chief

• President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the fired James Comey as FBI chief, Christoper Wray, will get two questions repeatedly from senators at his confirmation hearing tomorrow: did Trump demand loyalty in exchange for his nomination, and can he stand up to the White House when the job requires it? (Bloomberg) Wray, who reported earning $9.2 million as a King & Spalding white-collar partner from 2016 through this year, most recently represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the Bridgegate lane closing scandal. (National Law Journal)

• Trump plans to nominate former Davis Polk partner Randal Quarles to be the Federal Reserve’s chief banking regulator. Quarles, a senior Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration, would be expected to have a big role in making good on Trump’s pledge to ease some regulatory constraints banks have faced since the 2008 financial crisis. (Bloomberg)

• Nixon Peabody said it is opening in Raleigh, North Carolina, after getting four corporate life sciences partners — John Erwin, Brian Brown, Angela Cottrell and Isabelle De Smedt — away from K&L Gates. (Am Law Daily)

• The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is making it easier for customers to sue banks, a move sure to rile Wall Street and congressional Republicans. (Bloomberg via BLB) And companies will hate the CFPB’s idea to create an arbitration database, which bureau director Richard Cordray said will “promote transparency” on how arbitration works. (National Law Journal)

• “The best protection from privacy and cyber-security risks is not to have the information at all,” says Jim Koenig, co-chairman of Fenwick & West’s cyber practice. Koenig, known for representing start-ups to tech giants like Facebook and Buzzfeed, talked recently to BLB about the fast-changing cyber security field and how to keep up with it. (BLB)

 

 

 

Legal Market

• U.K. elite firm Clifford Chance aims to grow its U.S. revenues to above 20 percent of its total fee income in the medium term, said its managing partner, Matthew Layton. Layton said lateral hires, especially in New York and Washington, D.C., will play a big part in that expansion. (Global Lawyer News via The American Lawyer)

• Volkswagen AG’s Porsche brand faces a formal probe by German prosecutors as the diesel-emissions scandal spreads to VW’s iconic sports-car maker. (Bloomberg)

• The court fight over trade secrets between Google’s driverless car division Waymo and ride-hailing giant Uber has turned into a legal showdown between two quasi-former leaders of the two companies. (Bloomberg)

• Petroleos Mexicanos hired Hogan Lovells US, which for the past two years has been leading an internal audit of Brazilian state-owned utility Eletrobras related to the Carwash graft probe in that country. The Mexican company hired the law firm to do an internal investigation of its contracts with Odebrecht SA and affiliate Braskem SA, both of which are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Federal prosecutors’ probe into a land deal led by Jane Sanders, the wife and political adviser of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is gaining speed. (Washington Post)

• In an increasingly nasty lawsuit in Delaware, private-equity firm Crestview Partners LP is accusing billionaire William Koch of mismanaging funds from his company Oxbow Carbon LLC, while Koch accuses Crestview of a “smear campaign.” (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

The Trump Administration

• The Trump administration said it plans to rescind an Obama-era program that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the U.S. to live in the country, in the president’s latest effort to constrict immigration flows. Tech and industry group leaders called the move a big mistake. (Bloomberg)

• Donald Trump Jr.’s white collar defense lawyer Alan Futerfas acknowledged that his client received an email last year offering a meeting with someone who had potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton. That meeting could suck Trump Jr. into special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. (Bloomberg) Who is the new Trump lawyer, Alan Futerfas? (Newsweek)

• The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against Trump’s voter fraud commission, accusing the body of not following federal law that requires it to be open to the public. The suit is the latest of several targetting the controverisal body in recent days. (NPR)

• Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Neomi Rao, Trump’s pick for the office that vets regulations. Rao, an associate law professor at George Mason University, clerked for the conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, but is known for being able to work with liberals. For example, Rao helped win backing from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the court’s most liberal justices, for the renaming of George Mason’s law school after the late Antonin Scalia, one of its most conservative members. (New York Times) (The Hill)

 

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Although Trump’s been thwarted so far on his legislative agenda before Congress, most notably on health care, he has a big opportunity to reshape another branch of government outside his control: the federal judiciary. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Buffalo, New York, is experimenting with the nation’s first opioid crisis court, for which the main goal is just keeping defendants alive. (Associated Press via Christian Science Monitor)

• Silicon Valley social media calling company Telesocial Inc. has Quinn Emanuel partner Edward DeFranco in its corner for its trade secrets and computer hacking case against French telecom giant Orange SA, which is represented by Durie Tangri and Foley Hoag. (The Recorder)

• The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is the latest federal court to rule that recording of police officers in public is protected by the First Amendment. (Legal Intelligencer)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Colette Honorable, who left the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month, has joined Reed Smith to help start up a FERC-focused regulatory team, the firm said. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• Holland & Knight said it hired finance attorney Danielle V. Garcia as a Los Angeles-based partner for its financial services practice group, representing lenders in secured finance transactions. She was previously a partner at Blank Rome in Los Angeles. (Hklaw.com)

• Morgan, Lewis & Bockius hired veteran litigator Wendy West Feinstein for its Pittsburgh office’s life sciences group, bringing her on board from Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, where she was co-chair of the products liability group and led the life sciences practice. (Legal Intelligencer)

• Sidley Austin hired Paul Hastings partner Robert Carlson as a partner in its corporate practice in Palo Alto, California, among other things to handle M&A deals. (The Recorder)

 

 

 

Technology

• A trade group of over 2,000 newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, is asking Congress for a pass on antitrust rules to allow them to team up in negotiations on ad-sharing deals with Facebook and Google. (Mashable)

• A report commissioned by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to call for workers in the so-called gig economy to get more legal protections, with massive implications for employers and the tax authority. (Bloomberg)

• China is cracking down on virtual private networks, targeting the most popular way for people in the country to access the global web and avoid restrictions. A Q&A on what that means. (Bloomberg)

• After two years of mostly behind-the-scenes bitcoin bickering, rival factions of computer whizzes who play key roles in bitcoin’s upkeep are poised to adopt two competing software updates. That raises the possibility that bitcoin will split in two, sending shockwaves through the $41 billion market. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Education

• Howard University set off a debate about political correctness by concluding that a professor in its law school, Reginald Robinson, was guilty of sexual harassment through his 2015 test question involving Brazilian waxing. (Inside Higher Education)

 

Miscellaneous

• Another Pennsylvania judge is in trouble for viewing pornography on the job. (Legal Intelligencer)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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