Jenner Adds Illinois Solicitor General: Business of Law

Illinois Solicitor General Michael A. Scodro will join Jenner & Block LLP on Jan. 27 as a partner in the appellate and supreme court practice in Chicago.

In 6 1/2 years as Illinois’s solicitor general, Scodro has overseen the civil and criminal appeals divisions of the Attorney General’s Office and argued on the state’s behalf in the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Illinois Appellate Court. He supervised more than 40 attorneys in appeals involving the state and advised the Illinois Attorney General on constitutional and other legal issues, the firm said.

“Michael’s experience in arguing cases before federal and state appellate courts is considerable and further enhances the firm’s capabilities in this area,” Susan C. Levy, Jenner & Block’s managing partner, said in a statement. 

Scodro, who was executive editor of the Yale Law Journal, was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and for Jose Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

Jenner & Block has about 480 attorneys at offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

Ex-Dorsey Private Equity Chairman Joins Cozen O’Connor

Christopher J. Bellini, former chairman of Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s private-equity group, joined Cozen O’Connor’s Minneapolis office as a member.

In addition to his private-equity role, Bellini also was a partner in Dorsey & Whitney’s corporate group and a member of the capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and venture capital and emerging companies practice groups.

“In just a few short months, Cozen O’Connor has made its mark in Minneapolis, and we are excited that Chris will be part of our team,” Thomas G. Wallrich, office managing partner, said in a statement. Bellini is the ninth attorney in the Minneapolis office, which Cozen O’Connor opened in June.

Bellini focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, helps clients with transactions involving public offerings and private placements, and works with private equity funds and start-up companies, the firm said. He also assists clients on corporate and securities law and corporate governance and compliance matters

Cozen O’Connor has 575 attorneys at 23 offices in the U.S., London and Toronto.

Jackson Lewis Adds Shareholders in Detroit and Minneapolis 

Jackson Lewis PC said Lee A. Lastovich and Matthew Scott Disbrow joined the firm as shareholders in Detroit and Minneapolis respectively. 

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Lastovich was chairman of the litigation department at Felhaber Larson PA. Disbrow comes to Jackson Lewis from Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP.

Lastovich defends employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation and harassment, as well as whistle-blower, trade secrets, non-compete and non-solicitation claims. He also represents clients in business litigation, including business and shareholder disputes, unfair competition and contract claims. 

Disbrow represents employers in federal and state administrative proceedings, trial courts and appellate courts on wage and overtime matters. He also counsels clients on contractual and other issues, the firm said.

Jackson Lewis has 765 attorneys in 54 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Jackson Walker Expands Dallas Real Estate Practice

Jackson Walker LLP added Steve Jenkins in the real-estate practice group in Dallas. He joins the firm from Haynes & Boone LLP.

Jenkins has experience in real estate ownership, leasing, financing and development, including municipal land use planning and economic development initiatives. He has been involved in forming real estate investment trusts and structuring private-equity investments, joint ventures and other ownership vehicles, as well as handling the acquisition or disposition of real-estate assets.

Jackson Walker has more than 350 lawyers at its Texas offices.

Dykema Adds Litigation and Labor and Employment Members

Dykema Gossett PLLC said Jeffrey Huron joined the firm in Los Angeles as a member of the litigation department. He came to Dykema from Huron Law Group.

Robert Boonin also joined Dykema, in the labor and employment group as a member in Detroit. He previously was a senior member of the labor and employment law and higher education law practice groups at Butzel Long.

Huron’s practice focuses on business, real estate and entertainment litigation and civil appeals. Boonin has more than 25 years of experience representing private and public sector employers in labor and employment law. 

Dykema has lawyers at 13 U.S. offices.

Baker Donelson Expands Real Estate Group by Three Members

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC’s Nashville, Tennesee, office added Matthew T. Harris, Richard L. Pensinger and Anne Marie Kempf, previously of the Waller law firm, as members of the real estate group.

Harris handles acquisitions, dispositions, development, financing and complex leasing of industrial and distribution center projects, health-care, multifamily, office and wireless communications properties. He has also worked on land use and zoning law matters. 

Pensinger represents clients in the wireless telecommunications, health-care and restaurant industries in the acquisition, sale and lease of commercial real estate. Kempf’s experience includes mediation training, handling multistate land acquisitions and financings, public-private partnership transactions, and real estate development initiatives.

Baker Donelson has more than 650 attorneys and public policy advisers at 19 offices in the U.S.

Attorney Darlene T. Marsh Joins Dickinson Wright as a Member

Dickinson Wright PLLC said Darlene T. Marsh, previously of Burr & Forman LLP, joined the firm’s Nashville, Tennessee, office as a member.  

Marsh focuses her practice primarily in commercial real estate with an emphasis on finance and environmental compliance. She has represented automotive suppliers and also coordinated the cleanup and remediation of an abandoned firing range attached to a closed U.S. Air Force base. In her banking practice, Marsh represents banks and insurance companies in connection with loans, foreclosures, workouts and collection matters.

Dickinson Wright has more than 350 lawyers in offices in the U.S. and Toronto, Canada.

Litigation

Apple E-Book Monitor Interviews Ruled Appropriate by U.S. Judge

Apple Inc. antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich may continue his court-ordered duties after a judge rejected a bid by the computer maker to stop him from seeking out interviews with top company officials.

Bromwich, a former U.S. Justice Department inspector general and a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, was appointed in October to oversee the company’s compliance with terms of an electronic books price-fixing ruling. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled Apple “played a central role” in the scheme and that it broke antitrust laws in its contracts with five of the six biggest book publishers.

Apple asked that Bromwich be replaced while it appeals the antitrust judgment, saying he inappropriately sought to interview Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and board member Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president. The company also claimed that his hourly rate of $1,100, paid by Apple, is too much.

“Apple is not in a position to define for the monitor the scope of the monitor’s duties or how the monitor carries out those duties,” Cote said yesterday at a hearing in Manhattan federal court, rejecting the company’s bid to block Bromwich from talking with Apple’s management.

Cote didn’t formally rule on the company’s motion to disqualify Bromwich. She said she would file a more detailed opinion on that issue and would grant Apple 48 hours from that filing to seek an emergency appeal. Lawyers for the company said they would probably appeal her final ruling.

Addressing the fee issue, Cote referenced a report in the National Law Journal, a legal newspaper, citing survey data that showed hourly rates of $1,000 or more at top law firms aren’t unusual. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a firm representing Apple in the case, topped the list of highest hourly billing rates at $1,800, Cote said, referencing the article.

In court Jan. 13, a lawyer for Apple, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, argued that Bromwich was engaging in a “non-judicial” and “roving” investigation.

Under the injunction, which bars Apple from entering into anticompetitive contracts with e-book publishers, the monitor may interview any of the company’s personnel and may request any documents, Cote said.

The case is U.S. v. Apple Inc. (AAPL), 12-cv-02826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Deals

Orrick, Goodwin on $3.2 Billion Google Acquisition of Nest

Google Inc. (GOOG) is buying digital thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion as the Internet search company moves deeper into Web-connected devices. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP advised Nest Labs.

Goodwin Procter attorneys advised a consortium of venture investors in Nest Labs on the deal. The investor group, which includes lead investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, owns a majority equity stake in Nest.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC is advising Google, according to the American Lawyer magazine. The firm didn’t immediately return an e-mail or call for comment on its role.

The Orrick team was co-led by Mitch Zuklie and Mark Seneca and included partner Dan Yost. Additional assistance was provided by compensation and benefits partner Nancy Chen, tax partner Steven Malvey and international trade and compliance partner Harry Clark.

The Goodwin Procter team advising on the deal was led by partner Larry Chu and included partners Jim Riley, Kelsey Lemaster and Steve Poss.

Nest’s founder Tony Fadell, who previously helped create Apple Inc.’s iPod and iPhone, will keep running the product under its own brand, Mountain View, California-based Google said on its website. The all-cash deal is subject to regulatory review and should be completed in the next few months, Google said.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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