Kirkland, Gibson Dunn, V&E, Drinker: Business of Law

Kirkland & Ellis LLP partner Mark Filip and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Joseph Warin led the negotiations with the U.S. government for BP Plc (BP/), which reached a $4.5 billion settlement to end criminal charges against the company and resolve securities claims relating to the worst U.S. oil spill, according to court documents.

Europe’s second-biggest oil company announced a $4 billion settlement yesterday with the U.S. Justice Department that includes a record $1.26 billion criminal fine, which would be paid over five years. The London-based company agreed to five years’ probation and also will pay $525 million to settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two well-site managers were charged with involuntary manslaughter and a former executive was charged with obstruction and false statements.

On the government side, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and John Buretta, head of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force, led negotiations. They were joined by deputy director Derek Cohen.

Filip was formerly at the Justice Department, where he served as deputy attorney general from March 2008 to February 2009.

Warin is chairman of the litigation department at Gibson Dunn’s Washington office. He is also co-chairman of the firm’s white-collar defense and investigations practice group. He served as assistant U.S. attorney in Washington from 1976 to 1983.

BP’s roster of outside lawyers includes Thomas H. Milch, the chairman of Arnold & Porter LLP, and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP partner Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton, according to earlier reports and people familiar with the litigation.

BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships officers related to the 11 deaths aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act, one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and one felony count of obstruction of justice.

“All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf Coast region,” BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said yesterday in a statement.

Along with the criminal fine, the resolution with the Justice Department includes a total of $2.4 billion that will be paid to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation over a period of five years. Another $350 million will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences during that same period.

The government case is U.S. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., 2:10-cv-04536, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). The lawsuit is part of In Re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

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Deals

Targa to Buy Saddle Butte’s Williston Pipes for $950 Million

Vinson & Elkins LLP advised Targa Resources Partners LP (NGLS) in its agreement to buy Saddle Butte Pipeline LLC’s Williston Basin oil and natural gas pipeline and processing systems in North Dakota for $950 million in cash. Thompson & Knight LLP advised Saddle Butte.

V&E mergers and acquisitions partner Chris Collins led the acquisition team for Targa, with assistance from tax partner John Lynch.

Targa’s equity offering, announced at the same time as the acquisition, was led by V&E partners Collins and David Oelman.

Arthur J. Wright, Jeffrey A. Zlotky and R. David Wheat were the primary partners on the deal from Thompson & Knight advising Saddle Butte.

The purchase includes 155 miles of oil pipelines and storage capacity of 70,000 barrels, Houston-based Targa said in a statement. It also includes about 95 miles of gas gathering pipes and a gas processing plant that’s expected to double capacity.

“We are very excited to expand our geographic footprint into one of the most important oil producing basins in the country,” Joe Bob Perkins, chief executive officer of Targa’s general partner, said in the statement.

Evercore Partners advised Targa on the transaction, which is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter.

Firm News

Lewis Silkin Expanding With Third office in Cardiff

London law firm Lewis Silkin LLP announced that it will open an office in Cardiff on Nov. 19.

The office will initially focus on employment law issues and will be managed by a partner from the London employment team who will transfer to Cardiff, the firm said. It said the office is expected to expand to 10 staff by the end of 2013.

“The opening of our third office in Cardiff will ensure the continued delivery of exceptional service and hands-on support in response to ever-changing client needs,” Ian Jeffery, managing partner of Lewis Silkin, said in a statement,

Lewis Silkin is a 60-partner commercial law firm based in London, Oxford and Cardiff.

Barnes & Thornburg’s Re-Elects Atlanta Office Head

Stuart C. Johnson was re-elected Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Atlanta managing partner for the third time since the office opened in 2009.

Johnson also serves as a member of Barnes & Thornburg’s management committee, chairman of the firm’s private equity practice group, and a member of the firm’s corporate department.

Johnson is a corporate and transactional lawyer and has assisted clients with mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate financing transactions, and general business matters in a variety of industries, according to the firm.

Barnes & Thornburg has more than 600 lawyers in 12 offices.

Moves

Drinker Biddle Hires Delaware Governor’s Chief of Staff

Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s chief of staff, Tom McGonigle, will join Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and head the firm’s Wilmington office.

“I chose Drinker because of the quality of its lawyers and clients nationwide,” McGonigle said in a statement.

McGonigle will join the firm Dec. 10 and act as outside general counsel for a number of clients as well as handle litigation and administration law matters. He was a partner at WolfBlock LLP before joining Markell’s administration, the firm said.

As the governor’s chief of staff since the 2008 election, McGonigle helped Markell select his team and handle fiscal issues. During the past four years, he has helped to manage the governor’s office and the cabinet as the administration focused on jobs, schools and state government efficiency, the firm said.

In Wilmington, the firm’s roster of lawyers also includes William Quillen, a former Supreme Court justice and former chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court, and Joseph Schoell, the former chief legal counsel to ex-Governor Ruth Ann Minner.

“There are not many firms in Delaware that have such a depth of experience,” Andrew C. Kassner, Drinker Biddle’s executive partner and chairman of the corporate restructuring practice group, said in a statement.

Drinker Biddle has 650 lawyers in 11 U.S. offices.

Seyfarth Shaw Hires Real Estate Partner in New York

Seyfarth Shaw LLP announced that Miles Borden joined as a partner in the firm’s real estate department in New York. Borden was previously a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP.

Borden’s practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions and real estate-related matters in connection with corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Seyfarth’s real estate department has added more than 20 attorneys across the country in 2012, the firm said. Among its representations was Australia’s Dexus Property Group (DXS) in the $770 million sale of its U.S. central portfolio to affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII.

Seyfarth Shaw has more than 800 attorneys in 10 offices throughout the U.S.

Carter Ledyard Hires Litigator Greenblum in New York

Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP hired Justin A. Greenblum as a partner in its litigation department. Greenblum previously was with the New York office of K&L Gates LLP, the firm said.

Greenblum’s practice concentrates on complex commercial and business disputes in the financial services industry and the general representation of private investment funds. He has experience representing institutional lenders, hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternative investment funds and issuers of financial products in various breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty matters, the firm said.

Carter Ledyard has about 100 attorneys at two New York City locations.

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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