Bloomberg News

Dewey, Shearman, Goodwin Procter, Skadden: Business of Law

May 03, 2012

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, whose bank loans are partly secured with money due from clients, told partners (1151L:US) they can’t have their monthly pay until they send all the bills for their services, a person familiar with the matter said.

Dewey is under orders from bankers to collect as much money owed to the firm as possible after the departure of about 85 partners and the ouster of chairman Steven Davis, according to another person familiar with Dewey’s finances. The banks are reluctant to put the firm into bankruptcy as that might make it harder to collect the bills, that person said. Both people didn’t want to be identified because the matter wasn’t public.

By last month, the New York-based law firm had drawn about $75 million of a $100 million credit line from banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) and Citigroup Inc., the second person said.

Lenders were considering a 120-day extension of the credit line until a possible combination of the firm with Greenberg Traurig LLP fell through, the person said.

“The banks know that Chapter 11 will add another whole layer of huge expense and involve years of litigation with little gained,” said Anthony Sabino, a lawyer and professor at the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York.

Michael Sitrick, a spokesman for Dewey, didn’t immediately return an e-mail yesterday after regular business hours seeking comment on the firm’s financial situation.

Dewey was the 11th-largest U.S. law firm with 1,300 lawyers after a merger during the 2007 recession.

Merger discussions with law firm SNR Denton, where it would have taken on more than 1,000 remaining Dewey lawyers, fell apart yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal hinged on the combined law firm’s ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in financing, the newspaper said.

In the firm’s Manhattan offices, employees for outsourced services have gone and Dewey’s own support staff may be gradually dismissed as more lawyers leave for other firms, said the first person familiar with Dewey’s situation. Contrary to some online reports, the photocopiers are still there and the computers are working, the person said.

More than 85 partners have left the U.S. firm in recent weeks. Yesterday Jones Day announced that Ira White had joined the firm as a partner in the New York office. He was previously a partner in Dewey’s private equity practice and co-chairman of the private equity transactions group, the firm said in a statement.

Firm News

Shearman & Sterling Appoints Creighton Condon Senior Partner

Shearman & Sterling LLP announced that New York partner Creighton Condon has been elected senior partner for a six-year term, succeeding Rohan S. Weerasinghe, who was recently named general counsel at Citigroup Inc. (C:US)

M&A lawyer Condon, a 30-year veteran of the firm, will be the 15th senior partner in the firm’s 139-year history, the firm said in a statement.

New York partner David J. Beveridge has been appointed to a new global managing partner role. The leadership transition will take place tomorrow.

Condon, 56, is co-chairman of the global mergers and acquisitions practice. He recently served for three years as the European managing partner, based in London. He has served as a member of the firm’s policy committee and senior leadership team.

Condon represents multinational corporations in acquisitions and sales of public and private companies and in joint ventures. His clients have included Cadbury, Citigroup, Fenway Sports Group (owner of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club), Georgia-Pacific, Royal Bank of Scotland, Synthes, Viacom and WebMD, the firm said. Condon also represents a number of the firm’s investment banking clients.

Beveridge, 51, is the firm’s Americas managing partner. He has been with Shearman & Sterling for more than 25 years and has also served on the firm’s policy committee and senior leadership team. A capital markets lawyer, he specializes in advising on high-yield offerings. Beveridge represents both issuers and underwriters in the full spectrum of debt, equity and hybrid security offerings. He has experience with cross-border private equity, acquisition financing, and debt restructuring transactions, the firm said.

Shearman & Sterling has 20 offices in 12 countries.

Hopson Named Managing Partner of Sidley’s Washington Office

Sidley Austin LLP named Mark D. Hopson, a member of the firm’s management and executive committees, to the role of managing partner of the firm’s 275-lawyer Washington office.

Hopson succeeds Carter G. Phillips, who became co-chairman of Sidley’s executive committee, effective May 1.

Hopson is a co-head of the firm’s white-collar practice. He represents a range of white-collar criminal and complex civil litigation matters. He also represents clients in connection with a range of governmental and internal investigation matters. Hopson will continue to maintain an active litigation practice.

Sidley Austin has approximately 1,700 lawyers practicing in 18 U.S. and international cities, including Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

Moves

Top Drilling Regulator Bromwich Joins Goodwin Procter

Michael R. Bromwich, the country’s top offshore drilling regulator and a former inspector general for the U.S. Justice Department, has joined Goodwin Procter LLP as a partner in its litigation department, based in the Washington and New York offices.

As a member of Goodwin’s securities litigation and white- collar defense group, Bromwich will focus on corporate internal investigations, compliance, monitoring and white-collar criminal defense.

Most recently, Bromwich was director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement at the U.S. Interior Department, where he assumed leadership in the midst of the BP oil spill.

He led a reorganization of the agency, developed and implemented a new generation of drilling safety and environmental standards, and became the Obama administration’s chief spokesman on offshore drilling matters, Goodwin Procter said in a statement.

Prior to his most recent public service, he was a partner and chairman of the internal investigations, compliance and monitoring practice group at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP where he focused his practice on conducting internal investigations, according to his new firm.

As Inspector General from 1994 to 1999, he was responsible for conducting independent investigations, audits, inspections and special reviews of Justice Department personnel and programs.

Goodwin Procter has offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, California, and Washington.

Skadden Hires Betts From Paul Hastings for Hong Kong Share Sales

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP ranked third among legal advisers on global equity sales last year, hired Christopher Betts as a partner for its capital markets and mergers team in Hong Kong.

Betts, who had worked at Paul Hastings LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, is the fourth partner added in Asia in the past seven months as part of New York-based Skadden’s strategy to build its presence in the region for the next decade, according to Asia head Michael Gisser.

“The Hong Kong market is and will remain the preferred listing destination for quality Chinese companies,” Gisser said when asked about the increased scrutiny by regulators in the Chinese city on arrangers of initial public offerings. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said last month it may propose rules making IPO sponsors criminally liable for the accuracy of information in prospectuses.

At least 14 U.S. law firms have expanded in Hong Kong since 2010 and hired lawyers who can advise on domestic law. Skadden started the trend in 2005 by luring Dominic Tsun and Nick Norris from London-based firms. They were both hired by Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis LLP last year.

Betts, who also previously co-led the Asia-Pacific legal team at McKinsey & Co., said while tougher IPO rules in Hong Kong may deter smaller value listings, the pipeline of work remains strong including the listing in Hong Kong of overseas acquisitions by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

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Former Department of Justice Lawyer Returns to Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter LLP announced that Robert N. Weiner has rejoined the firm as a partner in the Washington office, after serving as associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department.

Weiner spent the last two years managing a broad docket of work, including overseeing the defense of the new health-care law. He also handled sensitive government-to-government negotiations on bank secrecy among other legal and policy issues.

Prior to his government position, Weiner led the firm’s litigation and business litigation practice. He has experience as a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in criminal and civil cases including in product liability and toxic tort cases.

Weiner also served as senior counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office during the Clinton administration from 1997 to 1998. He was president of the District of Columbia Bar from 1995 to 1996.

Arnold & Porter has more than 800 lawyers with offices in Brussels, Denver, London, Los Angeles, New York, Northern Virginia, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, California, and Washington.

Former FDA Counsel Tave Joins Gibson Dunn in Washington

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP announced that Steven J. Tave has joined the firm’s Washington office as of counsel. Tave was the associate chief counsel for enforcement in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Chief Counsel from 2007 to 2012.

At Gibson Dunn, Tave will focus his practice on FDA and health-care compliance, enforcement and litigation with regard to pharmaceutical and medical device issues.

In his former position, Tave worked closely with the FDA’s office of criminal investigations, the Justice Department and other federal and state agencies as the lead FDA attorney responsible for investigating, prosecuting and resolving criminal enforcement actions and related civil False Claims Act whistle-blower cases involving drugs, medical devices and biological products.

Gibson Dunn has more than 1,000 lawyers and 17 offices, including Brussels, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Washington and Century City, Palo Alto and Orange County, California.

McDermott Expands Paris Office With Regulatory Partner

Sabine Nauges joined McDermott Will & Emery LLP as a partner in the Paris office, where she will be in charge of the regulatory practice group. Nauges was previously at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP. Prior to that, she spent three years as an in- house counsel at France Telecom.

Nauges’s practice focuses on administrative and regulatory law, including in the sectors of telecommunications, health and energy.

The hire comes during a period of strategic growth in Europe for McDermott, the firm said in a statement. In recent months, McDermott has expanded its international transactional capabilities, with a focus on private equity, energy and cross- border mergers and acquisitions.

Recent McDermott hires have included private equity partners Mark Davis and Russell Van Praagh in London, corporate partner Giovanni Nicchiniello in Milan, international arbitration partner Jacob Grierson in Paris, intellectual property partner Alexander Harguth in Munich, corporate and real estate partner Holger Weiss in Dusseldorf, Germany, and energy partner Michael Ruoff in Munich. This week marks the one-year anniversary of McDermott’s Paris office.

McDermott has more than 1,000 lawyers with offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, Washington and Orange County and Silicon Valley, California, and a close strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

Cooley Hires Corporate and Securities Litigator Partners

Cooley LLP hired two new partners May 1, former Latham & Watkins LLP corporate and capital markets lawyer Andrew S. “Drew” Williamson and former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP securities litigator Lyle Roberts.

Williamson joined Cooley as a partner in the San Francisco office, after six years as a partner at Latham. His corporate practice focuses on representing investment banks and issuers in the technology, clean technology and life sciences sectors, for capital markets and mergers and acquisitions work.

Roberts joined the firm’s Washington office as a partner in its securities litigation practice group. His practice focuses on the defense of public corporations and individuals in class actions, derivative cases, M&A litigation and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions.

Cooley has 650 attorneys in Palo Alto, California; New York; San Diego; San Francisco; Reston, Virginia; Broomfield, Colorado; Washington; Boston and Seattle. The firm also has an office in Shanghai.

Mayer Brown Expands Houston Corporate and Securities Practice

Mayer Brown LLP has added Kirk Tucker to the firm’s Houston office as a partner in the corporate and securities practice. He was previously a partner with Thompson & Knight LLP in Houston.

Tucker concentrates his practice on corporate and securities matters, with a particular focus on the upstream oil and gas sector. He represents clients on mergers, acquisitions and dispositions of businesses; venture capital and subsequent financings; public offerings and private placements of equity and debt securities; and SEC reporting, corporate governance, and compliance with securities laws and exchange rules.

Mayer Brown LLP has 20 offices worldwide in the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Litigation

Yoo Entitled to Immunity From Padilla Lawsuit, Court Rules

John Yoo, an ex-U.S. Justice Department attorney who wrote memos justifying harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists, is entitled to qualified immunity from a lawsuit brought by an ex-detainee, a federal appeals court ruled.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Miguel Estrada represented Yoo, a former George W. Bush administration lawyer, who was sued in 2008 by Jose Padilla. Padilla was detained for three years in the U.S. as an enemy combatant and convicted of supporting terrorists and conspiring to commit murder. Padilla, who claims he was subjected to physical abuse, said Yoo was responsible for violating his constitutional rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said yesterday that it wasn’t clear at the time Yoo acted that Padilla was entitled to the same constitutional protections as an ordinary convicted prisoner. It also “was not clearly established in 2001-03” that Padilla’s alleged treatment was torture, the court said.

The ruling “confirms that this litigation has been baseless from the outset,” said Estrada. “For several years, Padilla and his attorneys have been harassing the government officials he believes to have been responsible for his detention and ultimately conviction as a terrorist. He has now lost before two separate courts of appeals, and will need to find a new hobby for his remaining time in prison.”

The lower-court case is Padilla v. Yoo, 08-00035, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Accretive Health Lawyer Says Minnesota Report Got ‘Facts’ Wrong

An Accretive Health Inc. (AH:US) lawyer claimed Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson negotiated in bad faith before suing the company in January and disclosed its confidential data in an April 24 report.

“The AG’s office ignored its responsibility to get the facts straight,” outside counsel Andrew B. Clubok, a partner in the Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP said in his seven-page letter yesterday.

Accretive shares fell almost 42 percent one day after Swanson issued her six-part report critical of the Chicago-based company’s collections practices. Her federal lawsuit accused Accretive of breaching patient privacy laws.

The company on April 30 asked U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle in St. Paul, Minnesota, to dismiss the case, calling it “factually baseless and legally indefensible.”

Clubok alleged that his client only provided data he said was relied upon by Swanson in her April 24 report, “in order to explore a good-faith resolution” to the lawsuit.

In her initial and amended federal court complaints, Swanson challenged the company’s work for Minnesota-based Fairview Health Services and North Memorial Health Care.

In her subsequent report, she alleged that Accretive improperly posted debt collectors in hospital emergency rooms and patient bedsides.

Clubok said his client rejected Swanson’s insinuation that it was an “uber debt collector,” using a German word that translates to “super,” when individual collections comprise less than 10 percent of Accretive’s business.

He also accused Swanson of pressuring Accretive and Fairview to end it their “revenue cycle agreement.” Accretive said on April 27 that the seven-hospital chain did.

Ryan Davenport, a Fairview spokesman, said company officials hadn’t yet seen the Accretive attorney’s letter and couldn’t comment on it. Fairview’s headquarters are in Minneapolis.

Benjamin Wogsland, a spokesman for Swanson, said in a statement that the attorney general’s report -- formally called a compliance review -- is “accurate and documented by the facts.” Accretive’s emergency room and bedside collections practices were related by hospital patients, he said.

“There is an old saying among lawyers,” Wogsland said, “‘If the facts aren’t on your side, talk about the law. If the law’s not on your side, talk about the facts. And if you don’t have either on your side, pound the table and blame someone else.’ That’s what’s going on here.”

The attorney general’s case is State of Minnesota v. Accretive Health Inc., 12-cv-00145, U.S. District Court for Minnesota (St. Paul).

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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