Wake Up Call: Trump Said to Hire Hogan Lovells Lawyer

• President Donald Trump is said to have hired longtime Hogan Lovells white collar partner Ty Cobb to bring some order into the White House’s so-far chaotic legal and media response to FBI and congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. (Bloomberg) Cobb, a relative of the legendary baseball player of the same name, joins Trump’s legal line-up as the president is said to plan a shake-up that includes easing his besieged long-time attorney Marc Kasowitz into a less prominent role. (Bloomberg) Kasowitz’s firm Kasowitz Benson Torres has been representing Trump for more than 15 years. Podcast. (BLB)

• The NFL’s recent concussion settlement with former players who sued the league for lying to them about the dangers of concussions from football has set off a “feeding frenzy” of lawyers, lenders and would-be advisers looking to grab a share of potential payouts that could top $1 billion. (New York Times)

• A lawsuit against Trump for blocking certain people from access to his Twitter feed could succeed, because Trump uses the account to make statements to his 33 million-plus followers about public policy, said Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment attorney at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. Abrams talked to BLB recently about the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University lawsuit against the president, and why it’s different from other First Amendment cases. (BLB)

• Thomas McHenry, who spent two decades as an environmental lawyer in Los Angeles with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, started his dream job this month as president and dean of Vermont Law School. (BLB)

 

 

The Trump Administration/Trump’s Evolving Legal Team

• Trump named Jones Day energy co-head Kevin McIntyre as his pick for chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, paving the way for the agency to regain its authority to rule on natural gas pipelines and contested utility mergers. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Trump’s campaign committee paid $50,000 in late June to the law firm now representing Donald Trump Jr. in the matter of a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer while seeking damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton, almost two weeks before news of the meeting was reported. (Bloomberg)

• Wilmer Hale partner Jamie Gorelick said she is no longer representing Trump son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on Russia-related inquiries, and only handling Kushner’s ethics compliance, security clearance and other federal disclosures. She said that’s a necessary move after Robert Mueller left the firm with three Wilmer Hale partners to form the DOJ Special Counsel’s Office to investigate Trump associates’ Russia connections. (National Law Journal)

• The U.S. Secret Service rejected an assertion by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow that the agency could have prevented Russians from meeting last year with Trump Jr. (ABC News)

• The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, called for more investigation into the digital activities of Trump’s campaign. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Market

• Business is booming at British law firms: Profits per partner at U.K. law firms rose 8.5 percent to an average of just under 136,000 pounds ($178,000) in 2016 to the highest level in seven years, according to a recent survey of accountants. (Bloomberg)

• A family owned Kentucky real estate law firm won in court in its legal fight against accusations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that its attorneys set up a kickback scheme for referrals. (National Law Journal)

• If investors into “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s hedge funds didn’t lose money, why is the former drug company CEO on trial for criminal fraud? A Q&A. (Bloomberg)

• Toshiba Corp., whose sale of its chip unit is being challenged in court by manufacturing partner Western Digital Corp., agreed to hold off closing the deal until a hearing on July 28. (Bloomberg)

• The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union wants regulators to block Amazon.com’s proposed $13.7 billion acquisition of upscale supermarkert chain Whole Foods, on grounds that it would undermine competition in the sector and hurt employment. (Washington Post)

 

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Taiwan prosecutors are investigating a criminal complaint against directors appointed by Carlyle Group LP to the board of one of the island’s biggest broadcasters over an alleged breach of their duties during efforts to offload the private equity firm’s stake. (Bloomberg)

• Women’s groups fear Britain’s planned departure from the European Union could roll back decades of advances for working women. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• After a federal trial judge put up a new road block to the Trump temporary travel ban, the administration took the dispute to the Supreme Court again. (Bloomberg)

• A federal appeals court’s recent overturning of the criminal conviction of former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for corruption is the latest example of the Supreme Court reining in federal prosecutors who make expansive readings of oftenly broadly worded criminal laws. (National Law Journal)

• Elected officials in North Carolina violated the Constitution by opening meetings with Christian prayers and inviting audience members to join, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a closely watched case likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bloomberg)

• A single racial slur can be enough to state a claim for workplace harassment, a federal appeals court ruled. (Legal Intelligencer)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Winston & Strawn expanded its office in Dubai, hiring Eversheds Sutherland partner Ben Bruton and counsel Nich Sharratt. (The Lawyer)

• Philadelophia-based Blank Rome hired a new chief information officer, getting Andrea Markstrom from Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels, where she was director of information technology. Markstrom, based in New York, replaces the retiring Laurence Liss after two decades. (Legal Intelligencer)

 

 

Technology

• A California federal appeals court ruled that a judge’s retweets did not show bias in a case he was handling and thus did not warrant his recusal or throwing out a settlement in the case. (Recorder) Nevertheless, judges said the case illustrates the pitfalls of tweeting from the bench. (Recorder)

• Hiring managers’ use of social media to research job candidates raises legal risks, some employment lawyers are warning their corporate clients. (Am Law Daily)

• Lawyers have access to an increasing number of artificial intelligence tools that can help them analyze large numbers of court documents to prepare for judges and lawyers they will face. (San Francisco Chronicle)

• A look at Microsoft Assistant General Counsel Dennis Garcia, through 10 of his tweets. (Above The Law)

• The automated chatbot DoNotPay, which started out a free service producing form letters for contesting London and New York City parking tickets, can now be used in all 50 U.S. states and help with other basic legal problems, its founder said. (Ars Technica UK) Though often touted as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” DoNotPay does not do what lawyers do, argues a human lawyer/writer. (Quartz)

• India is said to be considering tracking digital currencies like bitcoin through the central bank and capital markets regulator along with intelligence agencies to monitor money laundering and terrorist financing. (Bloomberg)

• Uber Technologies Inc. shareholders and its board, led by early backer Benchmark, have discussed selling some of their shares to SoftBank Group Corp. and other potential investors, people familiar with the matter said. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Education

• Two California law schools are confronting the racist pasts of their namesakes. (The Recorder)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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