Kirkland, Kaye Scholer, Cravath: Business of Law

(Corrects Littler headline and shareholder attribution in Moves section of column published yesterday.)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP partner and former federal judge Mark Filip was selected to be co-chairman of a panel to find a successor to Chicago’s former U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald. Retired U.S. District Judge David Coar will be the other co-chairman of the committee.

Dick Durbin, a Democrat, Mark Kirk, a Republican, both U.S. senators from Illinois, announced the six-person screening committee July 20 in a statement.

Additional members include Kaye Scholer LLP partner Zaldwanaka “Z” Scott, a former assistant U.S. attorney; McGuireWoods LLP partner Christina Egan, also a former federal prosecutor; Terence MacCarthy, former executive director of the Federal Defender Program; and former prosecutor Lawrence Oliver II, who now works as chief counsel, investigations at Boeing Co.

Filip previously was the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, after being confirmed by the Senate in 2008. He served as Acting Attorney General for the new administration in January 2009, until Attorney General Eric Holder was confirmed. He spent four years as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

At Kaye Scholer, Scott is the Chicago co-head of the firm’s white-collar litigation and internal investigations practice. From 1987 to 2003, she worked as a federal criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, serving in various management positions including chief of the General Crimes Section.

Egan is in McGuireWoods’s government regulatory and criminal investigations department. She spent 10 years as a federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illinois, from 2002 to 2012, where she served as a deputy chief of the Narcotics and Gangs Section for the last four years.

The committee will screen and recommend candidates for Illinois’ senators to review. The senators will submit a list of names to the president, who will make a nomination to the U.S. Senate, which needs to approve the candidate.

Gary Shapiro will serve as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Inside Traders Face Longer Prison Terms as Judges Get Tougher

Inside traders have more to fear when they stand before Manhattan federal judges for sentencing.

Since Jan. 1, 2011, the judges have sent the average violator to prison for more than 22 months, according to an analysis of sentencing data by Bloomberg News. That was a 20 percent increase from the average term of 18.4 months during the previous eight years.

The harsher sentences come three years into a federal crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street. Since August 2009, federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged 71 people with insider trading and won 65 convictions, with six cases still pending. Some of those convicted, including former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) director Rajat Gupta, are awaiting sentencing.

“There are different insider-trading cases now,” Ellen Podgor, a professor at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, said. “You look at the individuals they’re going after now -- it’s a higher level.”

Judges in Manhattan federal court are also slightly more likely to send offenders to prison. Twenty-one of 36 defendants sentenced for insider trading since the start of 2011 -- or 58 percent -- were jailed. By comparison, 24 of the 43 defendants sentenced from 2003 through 2010, or 56 percent, lost their freedom. Of late, most of those who avoided prison cooperated with the government.

The longer terms for insider trading are consistent with lengthier terms nationally for all forms of fraud. According to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics, the average sentence in fraud cases in fiscal 2011 rose to 23 months from 14.4 months eight years earlier, a 60 percent increase.

The records confirm what defense attorneys have been telling clients in recent years: It’s risky to take a case to a jury. All of the seven defendants who have gone to trial in Manhattan since Jan. 1, 2011, were found guilty. The average sentence after trial was 58 months, compared with 22 months during the same time for 18 who pleaded guilty.

For more, click here.

Dewey & LeBoeuf Partner Deal Decision Deadline Postponed

The chief restructuring officer for bankrupt law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, Joff Mitchell, told former partners that the deadline for a proposed $103.6 million settlement has been extended two weeks, the American Lawyer magazine reported July 20. He also said there would be suggested revisions to the plan, which has been criticized by the partners, the magazine said.

The team winding down the firm offered former partners a chance to avoid clawback litigation if they give the firm between $25,000 and $3 million apiece. That would bring the total to $103.6 million from the more than 700 former firm lawyers, including 371 who retired or left before January 2011 and received capital or pension benefits since then.

The revisions to the plan will be detailed at a meeting in New York tentatively set for July 26, the magazine said.

Dewey, which at one time had more than 1,300 attorneys in 12 countries, suffered a flood of partner defections in April and May amid concerns about the firm’s finances. The firm filed for bankruptcy on May 28 owing more than $225 million to secured lenders.

Ex-Progress Directors on Duke Board Hired Lawyer, McKee Says

Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) directors who used to serve on Progress Energy Inc.’s board have hired outside counsel to consider their options.

The law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has been retained, E. Marie McKee told the North Carolina Utilities Commission at a hearing July 19.

McKee said she has given “a lot of consideration” to resigning from the board after Progress Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson was replaced hours after Duke’s $17.8 billion takeover closed.

The board met on July 2 and voted 10-5 to replace Johnson with Duke CEO James Rogers. All of the former Progress members voted against the change.

Firm News

Foley Names Myles Berman Chicago Office Managing Partner

Myles D. Berman was named managing partner of Foley & Lardner LLP’s Chicago office, effective Aug. 1. Berman succeeds Mark L. Prager, who has held the role since 2004 and will now focus on his bankruptcy and business reorganizations practice.

In his new role, Berman will be responsible for the professional development and management of 300 attorneys and staff. He will help formulate and implement strategy and recruiting efforts while continuing to expand the firm’s presence in the market.

Under Berman’s leadership, the Chicago office expects to build its core practices in corporate transactional and securities work, private equity, bankruptcy and business reorganizations, energy, intellectual property and real estate, the firm said in a statement.

Berman will also co-head the firm’s national government relations practice, and will continue to be a member of the government and public policy and environmental practice groups and the energy industry team. He also serves as a director of the firm’s federal political action committee and is a member of the firm’s national pro bono committee.

Foley & Lardner has approximately 900 attorneys in 21 offices.

Moves

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joins Steptoe’s White-Collar Practice

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner, a deputy chief in the Financial Crimes and Special Prosecution section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, will be joining Steptoe & Johnson LLP as a partner in the white-collar criminal defense practice in the Chicago office.

As an assistant U.S. Attorney for the past 12 years, Niewoehner has investigated and litigated high-profile corruption cases including U.S. v. Rod Blagojevich, which resulted in the July 2011 conviction of the former governor of Illinois.

Niewoehner also served as the lead prosecutor in the two- month trial and conviction of Tony Rezko, a top adviser to Blagojevich charged with nine separate fraud schemes. He also led the prosecution of Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak, a Chicago businessman and politician convicted of defrauding a medical school in a multimillion dollar real estate deal, the firm said.

Steptoe & Johnson has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Washington and Century City, California.

King & Spalding Hires Patent Litigator in California

King & Spalding LLP has recruited patent litigator William F. Abrams, Bingham McCutchen LLP’s former co-chairman of the intellectual property practice, to the firm’s Silicon Valley office, the firm said in a statement.

Abrams has 30 years’ experience as an intellectual property lawyer. He focuses on patent litigation and trade secrets disputes.

King & Spalding has 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Seyfarth Shaw Hires General Counsel From RNK Capital

Seyfarth Shaw LLP announced that A. Donald Lepore has joined the firm’s corporate department as a partner in New York. Lepore joins from RNK Capital LLC, a private investment firm specializing in the environmental, clean technology and renewable energy sectors, where he served as general counsel for the past four years, the firm said in a statement.

At RNK Capital, Lepore oversaw transactions and investments and was also responsible for investment fund formation, regulation and compliance. His practice focuses on public and private mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures and financing transactions, as well as private investment fund formation and regulation.

Seyfarth Shaw has over 800 attorneys located in 10 offices throughout the U.S.

Jones Day’s Silicon Valley Office Hires Two Partners

Jones Day announced that Neal Stephens and Greg Chin have joined the firm as partners in the Silicon Valley, California, office.

Stephens comes to Jones Day from the Palo Alto, California, office of Cooley LLP, where he was a partner in the litigation department, the firm said. He is now a member of Jones Day’s corporate criminal investigations practice.

Chin joins the firm from the Menlo Park, California, office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where he was a partner in the emerging companies practice, the firm said. He is now a member of Jones Day’s capital markets practice.

With these hires, Jones Day’s Silicon Valley office now has 53 lawyers including 20 partners. In California, Jones Day has more than 320 lawyers in five offices. Worldwide, the firm has more than 2,400 lawyers.

Haynes and Boone Hires Corporate Partner in Houston

George Y. Gonzalez, an attorney with experience counseling U.S. and Latin American businesses in general corporate, energy and mergers and acquisition law, has joined the Haynes and Boone LLP’s Houston office as a partner in the international practice group. He was previously at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Gonzalez’s practice centers on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate control matters, securities, privately held companies and international legal issues.

Haynes and Boone has more than 525 attorneys in 12 offices.

Littler Hires Venable Litigator in Washington

Littler Mendelson PC hired Linda Jackson, who was previously a partner with Venable LLP and a former member of its executive committee, as a shareholder in its Washington office, the firm said.

Jackson will focus her litigation practice on a variety of areas, with a particular emphasis on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, whistle-blower investigations, non-competition agreements and litigation, trade secret disputes and related business competition issues, the firm said.

Littler Mendelson has more than 900 attorneys and 56 offices.

Cozen O’Connor Adds Howard Grossman to Real Estate Practice

Howard Grossman joined Cozen O’Connor’s business law department as a member in the firm’s real estate practice group. He was most recently chief operating officer of Resource Investments Limited, L.L.C, the firm said.

Grossman has more than 30 years in the real estate industry and will work out of Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office.

Cozen O’Connor has 575 attorneys at 21 offices.

Estate, Tax Lawyer Carole Sheffield Joins Anderson Kill

Anderson Kill & Olick PC announced that Carole B. Sheffield has joined Anderson Kill as a shareholder in the firm’s Philadelphia office. She was previously a partner at Reed Smith LLP, the firm said.

Sheffield concentrates her practice in estate and tax planning and trust and estate administration, including real estate matters. Sheffield is on the Adjunct Faculty at Temple University Beasley School of Law and serves as an ongoing wealth planning instructor and author for continuing legal education programs at the National Business Institute and Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

Based in New York City, Anderson Kill has offices in Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Stamford, Connecticut; Ventura, California; and Washington.

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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