Duane Morris, Lowenstein, Linklaters: Business of Law

Duane Morris LLP opened the first office of a U.S.-based law firm in Myanmar, slated to advise clients on investment and matters including tax, licensing, regulations, market entry, reporting requirements and U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.K. Bribery Act issues.

The Yangon-based office is a branch of Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, a joint law venture the Philadelphia-based firm formed with Singapore-based Selvam LLC in 2010.

Krishna Ramachandra, managing director of Duane Morris & Selvam in Singapore, will be the managing partner of the office. Benjamin Kheng, an associate director of Duane Morris & Selvam in Singapore, will serve as a resident partner. The office will be staffed with 10 additional lawyers.

“Our launch in Yangon, the country’s commercial center, is driven primarily by client interest, which has intensified significantly in recent years, as well as by the country’s projected long-term economic outlook,” Ramachandra said in a statement. “In addition, our team has built a strong relationship with Myanmar and its government, as a result of working closely with the attorney general’s office for many years.”

Myanmar President U Thein Sein signed a Foreign Investment Law in November, allowing overseas firms to fully own ventures and offering tax breaks. In the first quarter of 2013, Myanmar received a total of $810 million in foreign investment from 11 countries, Duane Morris said in the statement.

The alliance follows the firm’s 2011 partnership in Mexico City with law firm Miranda & Estavillo. In March, the firm started its first office in the Middle East through a joint venture with the Al Mashaikhi Law Firm, a multi-practice law firm in Muscat, Oman.

The new office gives Duane Morris, which has more than 700 attorneys, 26 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

News

Thomas Bach Elected to Head International Olympic Committee

German lawyer Thomas Bach was elected president of the International Olympic Committee, replacing Jacques Rogge as the head of one of sport’s most powerful groups.

Bach was elected in the second round of voting after international boxing association head Ching-Kuo Wu was eliminated in the opening voting, leaving five candidates for the final ballot. Bach got 49 votes, besting the closest candidate, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, by 20.

Rogge, a 71-year-old who stabilized the IOC for 12 years as it recovered from corruption scandals, is retiring, and a record number of candidates vied to replace him at the 125th annual meeting yesterday in Buenos Aires. The new head for the Lausanne, Switzerland-based body may influence decisions for events through 2040, according to Michael Payne, who oversaw the IOC’s marketing from 1983 to 2004.

“I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all my friends and colleagues who voted for me -- this is really an overwhelming sign of trust,” Bach said. “I will work with you in the coming years and repay your confidence. I know about the great responsibility of an IOC president.”

The potential power attracted the biggest field of candidates in the IOC’s history. Bach, an Olympic gold-medalist fencer, was labeled the frontrunner by some IOC members including Dick Pound of Canada.

For more, click here.

Moves

Former Health-Care Fraud Chief Rejoins Lowenstein Sandler

Lowenstein Sandler LLP announced that Maureen A. Ruane rejoined the firm to lead its new health-care litigation, investigations and compliance practice. Ruane most recently spent three years as chief of the health care and government fraud unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

Ruane was previously a partner at Lowenstein Sandler and co-chairwoman of the firm’s appellate litigation practice from 2006 to 2010. The new practice will help the firm’s health-care and life-science clients strengthen their regulatory and compliance programs, as well as defend corporate and individual clients who become the subjects or targets of government investigations or enforcement actions, the firm said.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman recruited Ruane in 2010 to create and lead the office’s first standalone health-care and government-fraud unit.

As chief, she directed and supervised the office’s criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses, as well as its criminal investigations and prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other statutes, the firm said.

She also supervised and directed the successful prosecution of more than 70 health-care fraud cases, and the conviction of more than 150 defendants for health-care fraud and other offenses. Since the creation of the unit, it has recovered more than $510 million in settlements, judgments, fines, restitution, and forfeitures, according to the firm.

“Maureen strengthens our core white collar and litigation practices and adds a valuable new dimension to the services Lowenstein Sandler can provide to its many clients in the life sciences,” Michael B. Himmel, chairman of Lowenstein Sandler’s litigation department and white collar criminal defense practice, said in a statement.

Lowenstein Sandler has close to 300 lawyers at offices in New York, New Jersey and California.

Former Goldman Banking Chairman and State Treasurer Joins Manatt

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP said Kathleen L. Brown joined the firm as a partner based in the Los Angeles office. She was most recently chairman for investment banking in the Midwest region at Goldman Sachs & Co.

Brown will focus her practice on business counseling, government and regulatory affairs -- particularly in relation to the health-care, energy and financial-services industries, the firm said in a statement.

“Her leadership for one of the world’s largest financial services firms and the country’s largest state gives her a deep understanding of business and government and the interplay of the two with the health-care, energy and banking sectors -- all areas where Manatt excels,” William T. Quicksilver, Manatt’s chief executive officer and managing partner, said in a statement.

At Goldman Sachs, from which she retired in June, Brown spent more than 12 years in senior leadership positions. Before her Midwest post, Brown was managing director and head of the firm’s Western region public sector and infrastructure group. From 1995 to 2001, she worked in senior positions with Bank of America Corp., including as president of the Private Bank.

She was California State Treasurer from 1991 through 1995, responsible for managing a $25 billion bond portfolio and overseeing a $32 billion cash-management fund, the firm said.

Manatt has nine offices in the U.S. and Mexico.

Haynes & Boone Adds Corporate Partner Rima Moawad

Rima Moawad, a corporate lawyer with a background in private equity and public M&A transactions, joined the New York office of Haynes & Boone LLP as a partner in the mergers and acquisitions practice group. She was previously at Proskauer Rose LLP.

“Rima’s arrival marks another significant hire as we continue growing our New York office,” Ken Bezozo, the firm’s New York managing partner, said in a statement. “Her experience and talent bolster the firm’s national corporate and M&A capabilities as we expand services for our clients’ more sophisticated transactions.”

Moawad’s practice focuses on representing public companies, private-equity firms and management groups in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, going-private and other corporate transactions.

Her representations included advising Neuberger Berman on its buyback of the equity stake in the firm owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. She also advised Grifols SA in its $4 billion acquisition of Talecris Biotherapeutics Inc.

Haynes & Boone has more than 525 lawyers at 12 offices in the Americas.

Powell Gilbert Bolsters Team With Two IP Solicitors

London boutique Powell Gilbert LLP hired Adam Gamsa and Dennis Waller as solicitors on its intellectual property team.

Gamsa joins from IP and media firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, where his experience included work on patent disputes in the pharmaceutical sector, anti-counterfeiting campaigns involving customs seizure, and advising on data protection issues.

Waller joins from Hogan Lovells LLP with experience in patent litigation, in particular within the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries.

These new hires bring the total number of fee-earners at Powell Gilbert to 38, representing almost a fourfold increase since its founding in 2007.

Linklaters Extends Asia Litigation Practice With Partner Hire

Linklaters LLP said Gavin Lewis will join the firm as a partner in the litigation practice in Hong Kong. He was previously at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Gavin “increases the senior capability of the team and will provide valuable support for clients in respect of their contentious issues,” Marc Harvey, global head of Linklaters’ litigation practice, said in a statement.

He joins a litigation team led by three partners in Linklaters’ Hong Kong office: Marc Harvey, Jelita Pandjaitan and Melvin Sng.

Linklaters has lawyers at 28 offices worldwide.

Corporate and Securities Lawyer Joins Baker & McKenzie

Michael A. Smith joined Baker & McKenzie LLP’s corporate and securities practice as a partner. Smith, who was most recently at Kaye Scholer LLP, will split his time between the Toronto and New York offices, advising clients in both jurisdictions.

Smith advises U.S., Canadian and other entities on U.S. securities and corporate law in connection with international financings, as well as cross-border M&A and unregistered fund formation, the firm said. He advises issuers and underwriters in both public and private-equity and debt offerings. He also advises boards of directors and senior management on U.S. corporate governance matters, including Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance issues.

“Few lawyers have Michael’s depth of experience in advising clients on matters involving the Toronto, New York and London stock exchanges,” Amar Budaparu, chairman of the firm’s North American corporate and securities practice and its global capital markets practice, said in a statement.

Baker & McKenzie has more than 4,100 lawyers in 74 offices in 46 countries.

Mintz Levin Expands New York Bankruptcy Practice with John Bae

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo PC expanded its bankruptcy, restructuring and commercial law practice in New York with the addition of John Bae, who joins as a member from Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Bae has represented multinational companies in financial restructuring, cross-border insolvencies, commercial litigation and product-liability matters. His clients have included debtors, creditors and other constituencies in bankruptcy cases.

“John brings a wealth of global experience handling major restructuring matters,” said Richard E. Mikels, chairman of Mintz Levin’s bankruptcy, restructuring and commercial law practice. “He will make a very important contribution to the growth of our New York practice and will be a welcome addition to our national team of bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys.”

Mintz Levin has 500 lawyers in eight offices in the U.S. and London.

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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