Wake Up Call: Seyfarth Shaw Lays off 40 Lawyers and Staff

• Labor and employment law firm Seyfarth Shaw made a big round of layoffs, cutting about 40 lawyers, including associates, as well as a number of staff members. The cuts affect the firm’s New York City office and possibly other offices, according to a source. (BLB)

• A federal appeals court rejected the argument that “Google” has become so popular as a verb that the company should lose its status as a protected trademark. (Bloomberg)

• Can U.S. companies use the federal racketeering law to fend off costly foreign court judgments? For Chevron Corp., the answer was yes — and that saved the oil and gas giant $9.5 billion. Now the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear an appeal by Chevron antagonists, who argue that the company pulled a fast one. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Philadelphia filed a lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo of violating the Fair Housing Act by targeting minority borrowers with high-risk and high-interest loans. (Legal Intelligencer)

• The conservative lawyers of the Federalist Society are aghast at President Donald Trump’s “values,” but they’re willing to hold their noses and work with him, in particular to pack the court system with conservatives. (Washington Post)

• The widening of a U.S. ban on carrying electronic devices aboard aircraft to include flights from Europe would cost travelers more than $1 billion, the industry’s global lobby group said. (Bloomberg)

 

Law Firm Business

• Partners at Venable and Bracewell, which recently moved into new premises, said their new offices are changing the way they do business. (BIZNOW)

• London-based firm Ashurst extended for six years its strategic alliance with Beijing, China-based Guantao, whose 500-plus lawyers include about 100 partners. (Asian Lawyer)

• Despite two decades of efforts, gender and other diversity at the partner and general counsel level hasn’t changed much. But if law firms faced increasing market pressure to invest in diversity, that change could come. (Above The Law)

• A new crop of immigration lawyers has emerged in New York who are experts in both immigration and startup law. (Forbes)

 

Legal Market

• The move by New York authorities to investigate the activities of Paul Manafort, a onetime campaign manager for Trump, has an important distinction from any parallel federal probes: Neither Trump nor the Justice Department nor the FBI has any control over them. (Bloomberg)

 

 

The Trump Administration

• Trump asked FBI Director James Comey in February to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a person who was given a copy of a memo Comey wrote following his Oval Office conversation with Trump. (Bloomberg) The revelation could take Trump into deeper legal trouble. (Bloomberg)

• Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates questioned the timing and motivation behind Trump’s firing of Comey last week and she disputed statements made by White House officials regarding the conduct of ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. (Bloomberg)

• The New Yorker scored an interview with Sally Yates, who said she never heard about Trump’s order restricting travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries until it became public, and much more about her investigation of Michael Flynn. (New Yorker)

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump should choose an “apolitical” FBI director, and suggested federal appeals judge Merrick Garland for the job. McConnell was key to keeping the Senate from considering Garland as President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee last year. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Volkswagen AG asked Germany’s highest court to issue an interim order blocking Munich prosecutors from using material seized during a raid of the offices of its law firm, Jones Day. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Gun manufacturers Remington and Bushmaster are asking the Connecticut Supreme Court to throw out a suit that seeks to hold them liable for the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. (Connecticut Law Tribune)

• A California federal judge rejected a textile company’s lawsuit alleging that Amazon, Bloomingdale and other retailers infringed on its copyright for a fabric design used in a blouse they sold. A lawyer for the blouse’s manufacturer, Sanctuary Clothing, also cited in the case, called the decision “an important victory” for the fashion industry. (WWD)

• In another California appeals case, a court found that an insurer may rescind a workers’ compensation insurance policy even after a claim has been filed under the policy. (FC&S Legal via The Recorder)

• The American Bar Association, 18 state attorneys general and 56 companies including Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, filed amicus briefs in support of a Virginia transgender teenager fighting a school board policy denying him the use of bathrooms associated with his gender identity. (National Law Journal)

• Two firms, Pomerantz & Co. and The Rosen Law Firm, are fueling a surge in class actions targeting biotech and pharmaceutical companies, accounting for more than half of the 67 cases filed last year, according to a survey. (New York Law Journal)

• Even before lawyers for three former Nomura Holdings Inc. mortgage-bond traders call the first defense witness, their strategy for winning an acquittal at a fraud trial has started to emerge. (Bloomberg)

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• New “quality of life” benefits that Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft introduced in its London office include a hike in maternity pay. (The Lawyer)

• Richard Hsu has left Shearman & Sterling, where he was a Silicon Valley intellectual property partner, to become a managing director at legal recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa in San Francisco. (The Recorder)

• H&R Block Inc. said Tom Gerke, its general counsel and chief administrative officer, will take over as interim chief executive officer to replace Bill Cobb, who plans to step down in July. (Bloomberg)

• A civil rights lawyer won the Democratic primary to replace former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who goes on trial next month in a federal bribery case. (New York Times)

 

 

Technology

• EDiscovery professionals probably know that important rule changes on data transfers are coming under the EU’s comprehensive General Data Protection Regulation in 2018. But similar changes are coming under new data protection and transfer laws about to take effect in China and Japan. (Legaltech News)

• Facebook would have to enable users to delete all photos, messages and information they posted before turning 18, under legislation the U.K. government plans to introduce. (Global Legal Post)

• Achieving “perfect” cybersecurity is almost impossible, but having a culture of awareness of the risks is half the battle for companies in the modern world, said Bob Cattanach of Dorsey & Whitney LLP. Cattanach talked to Bloomberg BNA recently in a video interview. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• The federal government should “curb or monitor” use of social media by gang members as part of comprehensive fight against violent crime, a Chicago U.S. Attorney forced out by Trump wrote in his resignation letter that included several other recommendations. “Don’t send in the National Guard; send in the tech geeks,” wrote Zachary Fardon. (ABA Journal)

• As danger from the “WannaCry” ransomeware attack that hit some 150 nations recedes, analysts are starting to assess the damage. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

• LawGeex, an AI contract review platform for businesses, released a legal tech buyer’s guide for in-house lawyers, which you can download from its website after you provide some contact info. (LawGeex)

• While several states are passing laws to allow autonomous robots used for deliveries, San Francisco is considering a ban on the technology. (Recode)

 

 

Legal Education

• The struggling for-profit Charlotte School of Law is blocking students from applying for federal loan forgiveness as the school lobbies to get its access to federal student aid restored, former government officials and law school watchdogs said. (Inside Higher Ed)

 

Miscellaneous

• Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier convicted of giving classified government materials to WikiLeaks, is due to be released from a Kansas military prison on Wednesday after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence. (AP via Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Gabe Friedman.

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