Bloomberg News

Shaw Gussis, Kirkland, DLA Piper: Business of Law

July 16, 2012

Clifford Chance LLP, Ropes & Gray LLP and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP received approval to open law offices in South Korea.

The three firms will receive final approval today to their applications to operate in the country as foreign legal consultants, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice said in an e- mailed statement July 14.

Clifford Chance, based in London, has worked with clients in South Korea for more than 30 years. The firm has 3,200 lawyers in 34 offices in 24 countries.

“Our strategy here is for long-term sustained growth, in common with our other international offices,” Brian Cassidy, who will lead Clifford Chance’s office, said in a statement. “The Republic of Korea is home to some of the most recognised businesses in the world, and our team looks forward to working with these Korean companies, particularly using our international expertise to assist their overseas activities.”

Hyun Kim, head of Clifford Chance’s Korean practice, will continue to be based in Hong Kong and travel throughout the region on behalf of Korean clients. He is applying for foreign registered lawyer status in the Republic of Korea and will transfer to Seoul upon approval, the firm said.

Ropes & Gray, of the U.S., employs more than 1,000 lawyers and professionals in office locations including Boston, Chicago, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong, according to its website.

Sheppard Mullin, also based in the U.S., has more than 550 attorneys practicing in 14 offices, including New York, London, Beijing and Brussels, its website shows.

News

Peregrine Bankruptcy Judge Lets Firm Run Through Sept. 13

Peregrine Financial Group Inc.’s Chapter 7 liquidation trustee can operate the firm until at least Sept. 13, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge said after Robert Fishman, a lawyer for Trustee Ira Bodenstein, of Shaw Gussis Fishman Glantz Wolfson & Towbin LLC, said his client needed time and a number of critical employees to complete work that was in progress when the firm filed for bankruptcy on July 10.

There were “numerous transactions in the middle of being executed” at the time of filing, Fishman, also of Shaw Gussis, said. Without the requested time and retained staff it would be “simply impossible” to accurately assess the firm’s holdings and figure out who they belong to, he said.

Peregrine, based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with offices in Chicago, filed for bankruptcy a day after the National Futures Association said it identified a shortfall of about $200 million in customer funds on deposit.

Its petition lists more than $500 million in assets and more than $100 million in liabilities. The broker estimates it has more than 10,000 creditors, according to the filing.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in Chicago appointed attorney Michael Eidelman, of Vedder Price PC, as receiver for the business and its founder, Russell Wasendorf Sr.

Wasendorf, 64, is in custody, charged by U.S. prosecutors with making false statements to federal regulators. He confessed to a 20-year fraud in a signed statement linked to his suicide attempt, according to a federal complaint unsealed July 13.

The bankruptcy case is Peregrine Financial Group Inc., 12-27488, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The regulatory case is U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Peregrine Financial Group Inc., 12-cv-5383, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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Kirkland, DLA Piper, Sidley, Skadden Top Campaign Donors

Lawyers and law firms, including Kirkland & Ellis LLP and DLA Piper LLP, were among the top donors to presidential candidates’ campaigns, the Washington Post reported.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party raised $106 million last month, more than the $71 million raised by President Barack Obama and his allied Democratic committees.

Lawyers and firms were Romney’s third highest donor by industry, with Kirkland the only firm with a spot among his top 20 contributors, the Post said. The firm’s employees and their families contributed $264,302.

Lawyers and firms ranked second for Obama, with six of his top 20 contributors major law firms the Washington Post said. They were: DLA Piper with $306,727; Sidley Austin LLP, $257,296; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP , $169,753; Morgan & Morgan, $135,145; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, $117,661; and Kirkland, $113,770, according to the Post.

The Post also reported that lawyers acting as bundlers, people who help obtain contributions from family and friends, were at the top by industry among Obama’s fundraisers, with $22.4 million. One in four bundlers are lawyers at firms including Blank Rome LLP, Winston & Strawn LLP, Greenberg Traurig LLP, and O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Romeny does not disclose his bundler list but out of 25 registered lobbyists who are bundling for Romney, five are at big firms including Barnes & Thornburg LLP, DLA Piper, Dow Lohnes PLLC and Fagre Baker Daniels the Post said.

It was the second straight month that Romney and Republican Party committees raised more money than Obama and the Democrats.

Romney’s campaign and his allied Republican committees said they raised $77 million in May, compared with $60 million raised by Obama, 50, and the Democratic Party. The Romney campaign committee itself raised $23.4 million, while Obama’s campaign brought in $39.1 million, FEC reports showed.

Deals

Black’s Apollo Increases Insurance Bet With $415 Million Deal

Athene Holding Ltd., the reinsurer backed by Apollo Global Management LLC (APO:US), agreed to buy Presidential Life Corp. (PLFE:US) for about $415 million.

Proskauer Rose LLP and Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP advised Presidential Life on the transaction, and Sidley Austin LLP advised Athene. The deal is expected to close late this year.

The deal was led by Proskauer partners Julie Allen, corporate, Michael Album, employee benefits & executive compensation and Andrea Rattner, tax and associates Charley Lozada, Daniel Cocca, corporate and Stephen Brecher, tax.

Sidley Austin didn’t respond to requests for information about the partners involved.

Athene Annuity & Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Bermuda-based Athene Holding, will pay $14 a share for Nyack, New York-based Presidential Life, the companies said July 13 in a statement. The price is 38 percent higher than Presidential Life’s closing share price of $10.14 July 12.

Leon Black, who built Apollo into an $86 billion asset manager by investing in distressed debt and bank loans, has used Athene to tap a new source of capital, by reinsuring fixed annuities and investing the proceeds for a profit. Athene agreed in 2010 to buy Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. life insurance business for $628.1 million and last year acquired Scor SE’s Investors Insurance Corp. subsidiary for $55 million.

Moves

Mayer Brown JSM adds Two Corporate partners in Beijing

Mayer Brown JSM announced the arrival in mainland China of partners Henry Wang and Billy Au. They will expand the firm’s capability in the areas of mergers and acquisitions as well as public and private offerings of equity and debt securities.

Wang will be based in Beijing as a partner and the head of investments, China. He was formerly the managing partner of Dechert LLP’s Beijing office, the firm said. He has 20 years experience in advising tier one multinational companies and industry leaders on corporate matters, the firm said.

Au was an of counsel at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Hong Kong and Herbert Smith LLP in Beijing, respectively, prior to joining Mayer Brown, the firm said. He has experience in global offerings, inbound and outbound mergers and acquisitions and other corporate finance exercises of Chinese state-owned and privately-owned enterprises, according to the firm. He will be stationed in Beijing but also working out of the Hong Kong office.

Mayer Brown has 20 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

McDermott Expands State and Local Tax Practice Group

McDermott Will & Emery LLP hired Scott M. Susko as a partner in its state and local tax practice group, based in Boston. He was previously with Nixon Peabody LLP.

Susko advises clients on SALT controversies throughout the country. He assists clients with changes in their business that could affect their state and local tax posture, such as entry into new geographic or product markets, merger and acquisition activity or state legislative developments, the firm said. He has experience in multistate tax planning as well as assessing state and local tax risks for financial statement purposes.

McDermott has more than 1,000 lawyers with offices in the U.S., Europe and a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

Bingham Adds to New York Real Estate Practice

Bingham McCutchen LLP has added Fred Gallo as a partner in the firm’s real estate practice group. He joins from the New York office of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, the firm said.

Gallo concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate development, acquisitions, dispositions, preferred equity investments, joint ventures, and construction and mezzanine financing on behalf of both borrowers and lenders.

There are more than 75 lawyers in Bingham’s real estate group in New York. The firm has more than 1,000 lawyers in 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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

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


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