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K&L Gates, Greenberg Traurig, Kirkland: Business of Law

December 04, 2012

K&L Gates LLP and Australian firm Middletons agreed to combine as of Jan. 1. Middletons’ 300 lawyers in four Australian offices will bring the firm, which will continue to be known as K&L Gates, to 2,000 lawyers in 46 offices on five continents.

“By their resoundingly affirmative votes, our partners have boldly seized the future by aligning our business with the businesses of clients in an era of intense consolidation and globalization,” K&L Gates chairman and global managing partner, Peter J. Kalis, and Middletons national managing partner, Nick Nichola, said in a joint statement.

The new offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane will expand K&L Gates’s Asia-Pacific coverage by giving the firm more than 400 lawyers across 11 offices in the Asia-Pacific region, including in China. The firm will have more depth in a number of practice areas including corporate, energy, banking and real estate.

The combination marks the first time a global firm has combined with an Australian firm and fully integrated financially, according to the statement.

Middletons lawyers will be part of K&L Gates’ global governance and partner compensation scheme.

Firm News

Ex-Greenberg Traurig Lawyer Files $200 Million Sex-Bias Suit

Greenberg Traurig LLP was sued for $200 million by a former partner who claims that women at the law firm are paid less and given fewer opportunities for advancement than their male counterparts.

Francine Griesing, who worked as a Greenberg Traurig partner in Philadelphia from April 2007 to January 2010, filed a complaint in federal court in Manhattan yesterday, seeking to represent a class of current and former women partners at the firm.

“GT, in short, pays women less, promotes them at lower rates than men and virtually freezes them out from high-level managerial positions,” Griesing said in her complaint.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June found “reasonable cause to believe” that the firm violated federal law by underpaying women partners in the Philadelphia office and retaliated against Griesing when she complained about it.

In a statement, Hilarie Bass, a member of Greenberg Traurig’s executive committee, called the suit “a financially motivated publicity stunt” and said it lacks merit.

“Greenberg Traurig has an exemplary record of fairness and advancement irrespective or gender, race or creed,” Bass said. “Our history of recruiting, retaining, and promoting women and our law firm reflects that.”

Bass said the firm yesterday filed a petition in federal court in Philadelphia to force Griesing’s complaint to arbitration.

Greenberg Traurig has about 1,750 lawyers in 35 offices throughout the world, according to the firm’s website.

The case is Griesing v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, 12-CV-8734, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Quinn Emanuel to Open Paris Office With Shearman Partner

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP will open an office in Paris in January, which will be headed by Philippe Pinsolle, currently a partner in the international arbitration group of the Paris office of Shearman & Sterling LLP, the firm said.

The office, which will handle only litigation and arbitration work, will be the firm’s fourth European office.

“Paris is one of the global centers of international arbitration, and Philippe Pinsolle is one of the leaders of that bar,” Quinn Emanuel managing partner John Quinn said in a statement. “To achieve our goal of having a world-class international arbitration practice, we had to have an office in Paris and we had to have a civil law expert.”

Pinsolle is admitted to practice in both Paris and England. He has handled more than 180 international arbitrations in both commercial and investor-state disputes, the firm said.

The firm has hired eight international arbitration specialists since last December.

Quinn Emanuel has 650 lawyers devoted to business litigation at 11 offices in the U.S., Europe and Tokyo.

Jackson Lewis Names Vincent Cino as Chairman to Succeed Vaccaro

Jackson Lewis LLP, a law firm specializing in workplace issues, named Vincent Cino as chairman, succeeding Patrick Vaccaro.

The appointment is effective Jan. 1, the White Plains, New York-based firm said yesterday in a statement. Vaccaro, who has served as chairman since 2006, will continue his legal practice as a partner at the 735-attorney firm.

“Under Pat Vaccaro’s leadership, Jackson Lewis has achieved substantial growth and success, including significant expansion of our geographic footprint both domestically and internationally,” Cino said in the statement. “I look forward to following Pat’s path and expanding upon his many accomplishments.”

Cino, a partner in Jackson Lewis’s office in Morristown, New Jersey, has been the firm’s national director of litigation since 2006, supervising more than 5,000 litigation issues the firm handles each year, according to the statement. He also serves on the firm’s management committee.

“Vincent has been tirelessly by my side helping to elevate our firm to substantially new heights,” Vaccaro said in the statement. “The partners believe Vincent is uniquely suited to lead Jackson Lewis.”

Since Vaccaro’s election in July 2006, the firm has doubled attorney headcount and increased its office locations to 49. The firm generated $326.5 million in gross revenue last year, up about 11 percent from the year before. It ranked 85th last year on the American Lawyer’s AmLaw 100, an industry listing of the largest law firms in the U.S. by revenue.


Kirkland & Ellis Top Market Value, Legal Trade Publication Says

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, valued at $3,953,500,000, has the greatest market value of any law firm in the world, according to a survey by the American Lawyer magazine.

The American Lawyer used a formula developed after consultations with investment professionals and consultants that takes firms’ net profit and adjusts that according to lawyer salaries, firm size and growth as well as brand strength, according to the magazine.

Thirty-three firms exceed the average $1 billion value, among the magazine’s chart of the 100 highest earning global law firms. Latham & Watkins LLP at $3,796,500,000 and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP at $3,337,000,000, were ranked second and third in valuation, according to the survey.

The intent of the survey was to look at the value of law firms the way an investor might, given the changes in the U.K., allowing investment in law firms by non-lawyers, the magazine said.

London Whale, Adoboli-Type Losses Drive Shares Most, Report Says

Rogue traders, corruption, money laundering and tax fraud can have the greatest short-term negative impact on companies’ shares, according to a review of how crises affect listed firms and their board make-up.

So-called behavioral crises “spook markets the most,” with shares at times falling by more than 50 percent on news breaking of company or employee misconduct, according to the report by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

“Executives at firms affected by a behavioral issues should typically prepare for an up-front hit on their share prices, whereas those dealing with an operational matter are probably going to be in repair mode for the long term,” Chris Pugh, global head of dispute resolution at Freshfields, said in a statement that accompanied the report.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) fell as much as 24 percent in the month after it disclosed a multibillion-dollar trading loss at its chief investment office where Bruno Iksil, the so-called London Whale, worked. UBS AG (UBSN) tumbled almost 11 percent on Sept. 15, 2011, after announcing it may be unprofitable after a loss from unauthorized trading by Kweku Adoboli.

The report published by London-based Freshfields analyzed 78 significant corporate events since August 2007 at companies listed across 16 stock markets worldwide including the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the New York Stock Exchange. (NYX:US)

More than a quarter of companies affected by corporate crises, including litigation or the announcement of a hostile bid, see an initial drop in value on the first day but tend to recover the fastest, with just one-in-seven companies suffering six months later, according to the law firm’s report.

For more, click here.


Skadden, Dechert Advise Dean in $1.45 Billion Deal with Saputo

Saputo Inc. (SAP), Canada’s largest dairy processor, agreed to buy Dean Foods Co.’s (DF:US) Morningstar Foods unit for $1.45 billion to expand in the U.S.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Dechert LLP served as legal advisers to Dean Foods. Jones Day and Stikeman Elliott LLP advised Saputo.

The Skadden mergers-and-acquisitions team includes partner Stephen Arcano in New York. Dechert’s lawyers includes Washington antitrust partner Paul Denis.

Jones Day’s team was led by Chicago mergers and acquisitions partner Phil Stamatakos and associate Adam Schaeffer.

Stikeman’s partners on the legal team included Steeve Robitaille and Pierre-Yves Leduc.

The acquisition will be financed through a newly committed bank loan and is expected to close by the end of the month, Montreal-based Saputo said yesterday in a statement.

Saputo, which got about 53 percent of its revenue in Canada in its most recent fiscal year, is gaining a maker of creams, ice-cream mixes, sour cream and cheese to add to its namesake, Armstrong, Dairyland and Rondeau products. Morningstar had C$1.6 billion ($1.6 billion) in revenue in the 12 months through Sept. 30, Saputo said.

Dean has been focusing more on its WhiteWave Foods Co. (WWAV:US) business, which makes Silk soy milk and International Delight coffee cream, and said in September that it was considering selling Morningstar. The unit made up about $1.3 billion, or 10 percent, of Dean’s $13 billion in sales last year and 15 percent of operating income, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

WhiteWave conducted an initial public offering in October, raising about $391 million, 22 percent more than it had sought. Dean still owns about 88 percent of WhiteWave.

For more, click here.


Arbitration Lawyer Michaelson Joins Fried Frank in London

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP hired Justin Michaelson, formerly head of SJ Berwin LLP’s international arbitration group in London, the firm said. He joins the international disputes group in London.

Michaelson handles high-value international arbitration and other multijurisdictional commercial disputes. His practice also includes Commercial Court litigation with an international component. Fried Frank has lawyers at seven offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

International Trade Attorney Joins Dechert in Washington.

Dechert LLP announced that Jeremy B. Zucker, formerly a partner at Hogan Lovells LLP, has joined the firm as a partner in the international trade practice in Washington.

Zucker focuses his practice on international trade regulatory compliance matters. He advises clients on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, matters concerning the Export Administration Regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the anti-money laundering provisions of the USA Patriot Act, and economic sanctions programs under the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

He has advised clients on transactions undergoing national security review under the Exon-Florio Amendment by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and he represents clients before the U.S. Departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Treasury, State and Homeland Security.

Dechert has lawyers at 26 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


BP Argues for Access to Transocean Gulf Oil-Spill Insurance

BP Plc should have access to $750 million in Transocean Ltd.’s insurance to pay costs from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a lawyer for the British company told an appeals court.

The oil company yesterday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans to reverse a decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier barring it from using the policies. Barbier ruled last year that the drilling contract between the companies for the doomed Macondo well precluded BP from seeking coverage under the Transocean policies for pollution-related liabilities.

“BP’s position is that it has unlimited coverage for the accident,” its attorney David B. Goodwin (RIG:US), a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, told the court. “BP does not seek anything more.”

The company contends it should be considered an additional insured, with access to Transocean’s policies. The drilling contract didn’t limit access to coverage, BP argues.

Transocean and the insurance companies asked the appeals court to uphold Barbier’s decision.

The judge ruled that BP can be considered an “additional insured” under certain circumstances. The judge and the insurance companies agreed that BP can be an additional insured only if the policies and the drilling contract are construed together. Excess coverage would be used after the primary policy limits are surpassed by the costs of the event.

“If BP’s misinterpretation of the policies prevails, Transocean stands to lose $750 million in coverage that it secured for its own Macondo liabilities to a party -- BP --whose chief executive has candidly admitted is self-insured and who has never expected its contractors to bear those self-insured risks,” attorneys George Hall and Richard Dicharry, of Phelps Dunbar LLP, and lawyers for the insurers, told the appeals court in court papers.

The insurance disputes by Lloyd’s and Ranger are combined with other spill-related lawsuits in In Re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, 2:10-md-02179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans); the appeal is In re Deepwater Horizon, 12-30230, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

For more, click here.

Hadden’s CME Inquiry Focuses on 1-Minute Period, Lawyer Says

A futures-market investigation of Glenn Hadden, Morgan Stanley’s global head of interest rates trading, focuses on a one-minute period in 2008 during which he acted properly, Hadden’s lawyer, James Benjamin of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (MS:US), said.

CME Group Inc. (CME:US), which owns the world’s largest futures market, is examining “Treasury futures orders placed on the expiration date in December 2008,” during Hadden’s tenure at New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to his broker record with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

“The CME matter concerns technical risk-management activity in a one-minute period four years ago during which Mr. Hadden acted properly and followed established market practice,” Benjamin said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “There is no legal or factual basis for any suggestion of market manipulation.”

Regulators at the CME are looking at whether Hadden’s Treasury-futures orders late in the trading day manipulated closing prices in the market, benefiting his other positions, the New York Times reported Dec. 2 (CME:US), citing unidentified people briefed on the probe. Morgan Stanley hired Hadden last year to turn around its lagging rates trading business.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for New York-based Morgan Stanley, said Hadden remains head of global rates and declined to comment further on his behalf. Hadden didn’t respond to a message seeking comment. Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, and Kim Taylor at Chicago-based CME Group declined to comment.

For more, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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