Boies Opens in London With Bingham Hire: Business of Law

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP is opening its first overseas outpost with a London office headed by securities and finance litigator Natasha Harrison from Bingham McCutchen LLP.

“Natasha is a distinguished English lawyer, with a leading practice in finance litigation and arbitration, areas in which our firm’s work is increasing globally each year,” Boies co-founder Jonathan Schiller said in an e-mail.

Harrison, who acts on behalf of hedge funds and investment banks, has represented the bondholders of all three collapsed Icelandic banks, Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir, according to her firm biography.

Boies Schiller is among the law firms advising Barclays Plc over allegations that it manipulated the London interbank offered rate.

The firm declined to provide more details about the new office. Duane Loft, another Boies Schiller litigator, divides his time between New York and London, according to the firm website.

Deals

Solvay to Buy Chemlogics for $1.3 Billion for Oil Chemicals

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is advising Solvay SA (SOLB), which agreed to buy U.S. producer Chemlogics for $1.3 billion in cash to expand its offering of chemicals for the oil and gas industry. Latham & Watkins LLP advised Chemlogics.

The Davis Polk corporate team includes Jacques Naquet-Radiguet and William H. Aaronson. Additional partners include Jeffrey P. Crandall, executive compensation advice; and Neil Barr, tax.

Latham’s corporate team was led by David Allinson and Eli Hunt. Advice was also provided on environmental, intellectual property, real estate, employee benefits, tax, and antitrust matters.

The Belgian company is paying 10.7 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the business, which generated about $500 million in annual sales, Solvay said yesterday in a statement. The Brussels-based chemical maker will sell about 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in hybrid bonds to help support finances.

The purchase is part of Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Clamadieu’s transformation of Solvay as he expands its offering of more profitable materials. Profit from Chemlogics’s products, used to ease friction in drilling, is growing at more than 10 percent, said Solvay, which already makes some ingredients used in this area. That contrasts with a slowdown in sales at polyvinyl chloride operations that Clamadieu is seeking to exit via a joint venture with Ineos Group Holdings.

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Partner Moves

Goodwin Procter Adds Consumer Finance Partner in Washington

Goodwin Procter LLP added Benjamin P. Saul, a former partner at BuckleySandler LLP, to its Washington office in the consumer financial services litigation group.

Saul will concentrate on enforcement matters, while continuing his litigation and regulatory practice, the firm said.

“Ben has a national reputation in enforcement and in fair lending and discrimination matters,” Thomas M. Hefferon, chairman of the firm’s consumer financial services litigation group said, in a statement. “As we continue to expand Goodwin’s consumer financial enforcement practice in Washington and nationally, Ben’s experience enhances our capacity and capability to assist clients in meeting the challenges of increased government investigation and regulatory enforcement activity.”

Goodwin has lawyers at offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, California, and Washington.

IP Litigation Partners Wolfsohn and Goranin Join Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP said David J. Wolfsohn and Aleksander J. Goranin, formerly of the intellectual property boutique Woodcock Washburn LLP, joined the firm’s IP litigation practice group in Philadelphia.

Wolfsohn has represented defendants and plaintiffs in patent, copyright, licensing, trademark, unfair competition-Lanham Act and trade secret cases in jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations, the firm said. He led the Woodcock Washburn litigation practice from 2010 to 2011.

Goranin was chairman of his former firm’s litigation practice just prior to joining Duane Morris. He litigates patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret cases. Goranin recently was one of Microsoft Corp.’s lead lawyers in a multi-patent dispute with Barnes & Noble Inc. before the U.S. International Trade Commission over the Nook e-reader software platform, the firm said.

Duane Morris has more than 700 attorneys in offices in the U.S. and internationally.

IP Litigator Leisa Smith Lundy Joins Holland & Knight

Leisa Smith Lundy joined Holland & Knight LLP’s New York office in the intellectual property practice group. She was previously at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto.

Lundy’s focuses primarily on patent litigation, patent validity and freedom-to-operate opinions, IP due diligence investigations, and client counseling regarding patent portfolio management, the firm said.

“With more than 15 years’ experience in IP litigation, primarily representing major pharmaceutical corporations, Leisa brings a wealth of knowledge about pharmaceutical patent litigation,” Josh Krumholz, the firm’s IP practice group leader, said in a statement. “She is the fourth significant addition in the past year to our IP practice in New York.”

Holland & Knight has more than 1,000 lawyers in 18 U.S. offices as well as Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Bogota and Mexico City.

K&L Gates Adds Corporate Partner to Orange County Office

K&L Gates LLP said it added David C. Lee to the corporate/M&A practice in Orange County, California. He joins the firm from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Lee focuses on capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and equity and debt tender offers, the firm said. He also advises on securities regulation, corporate governance and general corporate matters.

“David’s extensive experience working with public companies on corporate transactions and securities regulatory matters further strengthens our existing public company practice in the Orange County office and firm-wide,” David J. Perry, administrative partner in K&L Gates’ Orange County office, said in a statement.

K&L Gates has lawyers at 48 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

IP Partner Joins Quarles & Brady’s Chicago Office

Quarles & Brady LLP announced that Eric T. Krischke joined the firm’s Chicago office in the intellectual property group. He was previously a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP.

Krischke’s practice spans IP law, though he has an emphasis on patent portfolio management, strategic client counseling with respect to patent validity and infringement issues, due diligence investigations, pre-litigation analysis and litigation.

He has particular experience preparing and prosecuting U.S. and counterpart foreign patent applications in the mechanical and electrical arts, the firm said. He also participates in litigation involving disputes related to patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, as well as in U.S. patent re-examination proceedings.

Quarles & Brady has more than 400 attorneys at offices in the U.S. and Shanghai.

Michelmores Hires Construction Lawyer in Exeter

Michelmores LLP added Brian Hitchcock, formerly of Trowers & Hamlins LLP, to its construction team in Exeter, England.

Hitchcock specializes in construction, engineering and procurement law. He focuses on transactional construction work for clients, contractors and professionals on various commercial, education, housing and civil projects, the firm said.

Michelmores now has 57 partners its U.K. offices.

Litigation

Chevron’s Ecuador Defendants Are Denied Jury Trial by Court

Chevron Corp. (CVX) won a request to have a judge rather than a jury decide its case over alleged fraud in an Ecuador pollution verdict.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled yesterday that the Ecuadoreans and their legal adviser, Steven Donziger, don’t have a constitutional right to a jury trial because the San Ramon, California-based company isn’t seeking damages.

“Defendants argue that they are entitled to a jury as a matter of fairness,” Kaplan said. “But that argument -- even if it had merit, which it does not -- is beside the point.”

Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil firm, alleges that Donziger and others, in a case over pollution in the Ecuador jungle, won a $19 billion verdict against the company by fraud. A trial in the lawsuit is scheduled for Oct. 15.

The trial was initially set to be held in two parts, with damages being sought only against Donziger and his firm and not the Ecuadorean plaintiffs in the environmental suit. Chevron dropped its damages claim against the legal adviser and said it no longer wanted a jury trial.

A jury in a civil case is guaranteed only if the plaintiff is seeking damages, Kaplan wrote. Otherwise, parties must agree to it, he said.

Residents of Ecuador’s Lago Agrio area near the Colombian border have sought damages for about 20 years for pollution in the Amazon rainforest that they allege was caused by Texaco before it was acquired by Chevron.

Chevron denies there was any wrongdoing by it in Ecuador and claims that Texaco cleaned up its share of the pollution at its former oil fields, which were taken over by state-owned PetroEcuador. The U.S. company also said it was released from future liability by an agreement between Texaco and Ecuador.

The company is seeking to bar the Ecuadoreans from enforcing the verdict and disgorgement of any gains they won as a result of the alleged fraud.

The racketeering case is Chevron v. Donziger, 11-cv-00691, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeals court case is In Re Naranjo, 13-00772, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).

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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