Bloomberg News

Washington Litigator New Hogan Lovells CEO: Business of Law

December 12, 2013

Hogan Lovells LLP’s global co-head of litigation, Washington-based partner Steve Immelt, will take over as the sole chief executive officer of the firm in July.

Immelt, who was unanimously recommended for the post by the firm’s board, will succeed current co-CEOs Warren Gorrell and David Harris, after being approved by the firm’s partnership in a vote. London finance partner David Hudd, who currently heads the global finance practice and helped develop the firm’s structured finance practice, will be the deputy CEO. 

Gorrell and Harris were the key forces behind the merger in May 2010 of mainly U.S.-based Hogan & Hartson and mainly Europe-based Lovells, which together created Hogan Lovells in what the firm called a “merger of equals.” Harris will be retiring from the firm while Gorrell will continue to focus on corporate practice.

“Our partners were clear that now is the right time to move to a single CEO,” Nicholas Cheffings, Hogan Lovells’s chairman said in a statement. “Steve is the obvious and clear choice. He is a clear and strategic thinker with a wide knowledge of the firm.”

Immelt is currently a member of the firm’s international management committee and global co-head of its litigation, arbitration and employment practice with London partner Michael Davison. He was previously head of Hogan & Hartson’s international offices and managing partner of the firm’s Baltimore office. He was also a key participant in the firms’ combination.

“We’ve done the hard work of putting the firms together, with that behind us we’re in the position to put all of our focus on clients and the marketplace,” Immelt said in a telephone interview.

Hogan Lovells, which has a Swiss verein structure, which means the members share a name but have separate financial pools, had revenue of $1.6 billion (1.03 billion pounds) in financial year 2012 and has about 1,700 lawyers at 45 offices in 25 countries around the world, the firm said.

The firm’s recent major client work includes representing BTA Bank on a $10 billion fraud claim; Apple on a corporate bond offerings; the sale of Russia’s largest mobile phone company; and Equity Residential on its $16 billion acquisition of Archstone along with AvalonBay, the firm said. 

Hogan Lovells has recently expanded its presence in Brazil, Indonesia, Mongolia, Luxembourg and South Africa. 

Immelt said that while he sees his leadership as largely “staying the course because I think we’re on a terrific course” he does expect to further expand in Africa and Latin America as well as strengthen the New York, Washington and London offices. “Our approach for expansion is that it’s got to be strategic and client driven,” he said.

Firm News

Volcker Seen as Bonanza for $1,000-an-Hour Wall Street Lawyers

The Volcker rule means that the work is just beginning for Wall Street law firms including Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, whose senior partners have billed clients more than $1,000 an hour in the past, as well as Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. The final Volcker rule offers an opportunity for new business and additional fees. Hundreds of lawyers will be needed to interpret the rule, establish models for compliance and find new strategies for securities firms with $44 billion at stake from market-making activities.

“The Volcker rule is going to keep a lot of people at this firm occupied for a long time,” said Joshua Sterling, a partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, which held a Volcker rule “boot camp” for attorneys last week. Securities firms spinning off units and non-banking companies looking to enter the field as others are forced to exit will create significant opportunities for new business, he said.

Jones Day has 200 lawyers around the world reviewing the Volcker rule this week, said Lisa Ledbetter, a Washington-based partner at the law firm. Ledbetter, who now spends about 75 percent of her time on issues related to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, said clients have been calling with questions about how to distinguish proprietary trading from market-making and hedging.

“We’ll be working longer hours to make sure we have our arms around the content of the rule,” Ledbetter said. The firm will send a summary of the regulations to clients as soon as its lawyers digest the details, she said.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and three other agencies issued a final ruling banning proprietary trading and outlining what kinds of market-making -- the business of using a firm’s capital to buy and sell securities with customers -- is allowed. Clients will be looking for quick analysis of key topics, including the scope of market-making exemptions, cross-border challenges and which metrics must be compiled and reported, according to Lanny Schwartz, a partner at Davis Polk.

For more, click here.

Moves

Bracewell Adds Corporate Partner Roxanne Almaraz in Houston

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced that Roxanne T. Almaraz, formerly of Vinson & Elkins LLP, has joined the firm as a partner in its Houston office.

Almaraz counsels clients in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other business transactions, as well as handling project development and general corporate matters. She has represented clients in the power/utilities, renewables, and midstream and upstream oil and gas sectors, according to the firm.

“Her experience and knowledge will greatly enhance the firm’s capability to serve our energy clients in Houston and beyond,” Bracewell managing partner Mark C. Evans said in a statement.

Bracewell & Giuliani has 485 lawyers in Texas, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Seattle, Dubai, and London.

Withers Bergman Hires Partner to Head Italian Desk in New York

Law firm Withers Bergman LLP, known as Withers outside of the U.S., announced that Corrado Manuali has joined the firm as head of its Italian desk in the U.S. Manuali, who will be based in the firm’s New York office, was previously at Kranjac Tripodi & Partners LLP.

“Corrado’s experience with U.S. and Italian-based business fits in perfectly with our goal of providing seamless cross-border representation to our clients,” David Guin, partner and New York office managing director at Withers Bergman said in a statement.

Manuali focuses his practice on general corporate, M&A, commercial real estate and securities law, and has experience advising Italian companies operating in the U.S. as well as U.S. companies looking to expand into Italy. He also advises private equity funds with interests both in the U.S. and internationally, the firm said.

“As the third largest economy and second largest exporter in the Eurozone, Italy remains a significant source of new business for law firms and Withers Bergman in particular,” Manuali said in a statement.

Manuali’s clients include the gourmet Italian marketplace Eataly and the Bastianich family. 

Withers Bergman has offices in New York, New Haven, Greenwich, London, BVI, Geneva, Hong Kong, Milan, Padua, Zurich and Singapore.

IP Litigator Joins Kaufman & Company in New York

Cleveland litigation law firm Kaufman & Company LLC said Jeffrey L. Loop joined the firm as a member in the New York office. He was previously with Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP.

Loop has experience as a commercial litigator focusing on intellectual property, real estate, and media-related litigation and counsel. He has experience in copyright and trademark matters representing clients as both plaintiff and defendant, the firm said.

Kaufman & Company opened its New York office in September. The Cleveland firm has 11 lawyers between the two offices.

Litigation

Plant in Supreme Court Case to Comply With EPA Law It Fought

As lawyers argued in the U.S. Supreme Court over forcing power companies to install pollution scrubbers on power plants, the facility at the center of the case was busy doing something else: installing scrubbers.

When it was run by a unit of Edison International (EIX:US) in 2011, the Homer City Generating Station in Pennsylvania led the charge to get the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called transport rule tossed out, a case that ended up at the high court yesterday.

Since the case was filed, Edison transferred control of the plant back to its majority owner, General Electric Co. (GE:US), which said it would spend $700 million to $750 million comply with the transport rule and related EPA regulations.

Attorneys general from 14 states, led by Texas, are challenging the transport rule alongside Edison, Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s Luminant, Entergy Corp. (ETR:US), Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU:US), Southern Co. (SO:US) and the United Mine Workers of America. They say the EPA improperly focused on the cost of emission reductions, rather than basing its rule solely on the amount of pollutants created in each state.

“What this means is that states here which are making only a very slight contribution to air-quality problems in downwind states are nonetheless required to make very substantial reductions,” said Peter Keisler, a lawyer representing the companies and miners, told the justices.

The issues before the Supreme Court go well beyond the plant even if GE does bring it up to compliance. The government’s lawyer said the case could affect how future rules are crafted governing pollution that crosses state lines.

“This court’s decision would affect the way in which both the states and EPA went about the business of determining how good-neighbor obligations should be carried out” in the future, Malcolm Stewart, the deputy solicitor general, told the justices.

Edison is still pushing back against the EPA, because of the precedent set by the way the agency crafted this rule, said Claudia O’Brien, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP who represents the company.

The Supreme Court cases are Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, 12-1182, and American Lung Association v. EME Homer City, 12-1183.

For more, click here.

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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    (Edison International)
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  • GE
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