Skadden Opens Law Office in Seoul: Business of Law

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is opening a Seoul office, the firm’s 23rd worldwide and seventh in the Asia Pacific region.

“Skadden has a long history of advising a diverse range of Korean and international clients on Korea-related business matters and legal disputes,” executive partner Eric Friedman said in a statement. “The opening of our Seoul office enables us to deepen our ongoing commitment to the Korean market.”

Corporate lawyer H. Young Shin, a native Korean speaker who previously was in the firm’s New York office, will lead the Seoul office.

Shin’s transaction experience includes representation on behalf of Samsung SDS Co. and Samsung Networks Co. in the internal restructuring of their U.S. subsidiaries and Doosan Group in the 560 million-euro ($770 million) sale of its equity interest in OB Beer, according to his firm biography.

“Our Seoul office will provide seamless global legal services to clients by drawing upon the strength of the firm’s resources across the Asia Pacific region and around the world,” Shin said in a statment.

News

Christie Had No Advance Knowledge of Bridge Tie-Ups, Report Says

Chris Christie didn’t recall learning about bridge lane closings as they were occurring and, even if he was told, traffic jams aren’t “memorable” for New Jersey’s governor, according to lawyers working for his administration.

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein, a former Christie ally at the agency that runs the George Washington Bridge, were responsible for the closings in the town of a mayor who didn’t endorse him, according to a report by a team from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Christie, 51, “had no prior knowledge of this lane-closure idea,” Gibson Dunn attorney Randy Mastro told reporters yesterday in New York.

Mastro led a team from the law firm, which was hired by Christie’s administration in January to investigate why the governor’s aides and appointees ordered a shutdown of lanes leading to the bridge. The action snarled traffic in Fort Lee from Sept. 9 to 12. The firm is billing Christie’s administration $650 an hour.

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Securities Class-Action Settlement Dollars Increase in 2013

Securities class-action lawsuit settlements rose by 46 percent last year, according to a Cornerstone Research report.

“In 2013, total settlement dollars, at $4.8 billion, reached the highest level since 2007, driven by both the increase in the number of settlements overall, as well as the increase in extremely large settlements,” the report’s co-author, Laura Simmons, a senior adviser in Cornerstone Research’s Washington office, said in a statement. “The largest settlements in 2013 were associated either with pharmaceutical firms or financial institutions involved with subprime credit crisis allegations.”

There were 67 settlements in 2013, up from 57 in 2012. Six for $100 million or more accounted for 84 percent of the total.

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Moves

Bird & Bird Adds Competition Lawyer Bourtzalas in Brussels

Bird & Bird LLP appointed Efthymios Bourtzalas, previously of Ashurst LLP, as a partner in its European Union and competition group based in Brussels.

Bourtzalas has experience in cross-border work including merger control, restrictive agreements and cartels.

Real Estate Partner Joins Sheppard Mullin in Orange County

Scott Morehouse joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the real estate, land use and environmental practice group in the firm’s Orange County, California, office. He joins from Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Employment Lawyer Duffour Joins Cohen & Gresser in Paris

Cohen & Gresser LLP announced that Angeline Duffour, previously of Dentons, joined the firm as a partner in the Paris office. Duffour’s practice focuses on employment and labor law.

Litigation

Ex-Dewey Executive Cooperated With Vance Probe of Law Firm

Former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP finance director Frank Canellas cooperated with a probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. into a “blatant” $200 million fraud that spurred the largest law firm bankruptcy in history, according to a plea agreement unsealed yesterday.

Canellas said in the agreement that he decided, along with ex-Chief Financial Officer Joel Sanders, “which appropriate and inappropriate accounting adjustments to make” to help Dewey meet its financial obligations once it became apparent the firm was failing. The partly redacted agreement, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, called for Canellas to cooperate with the investigation. Sanders, ex-Chairman Steven Davis and Stephen DiCarmine, the former executive director, were accused this month in a 106-count indictment of using accounting gimmicks similar to those that sent top executives at WorldCom Inc. and Tyco International Ltd. to prison a decade ago. Vance’s office cited e-mails in which the men referred to “fake income,” “cooking the books” and “accounting tricks.”

Canellas, who wasn’t named in the indictment, agreed to plead guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, according to the agreement unsealed yesterday. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. He also has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

His lawyer, Brian E. Maas of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, declined to comment on the plea agreement in a phone interview. Lawyers for Sanders, Davis and DiCarmine have denied that their clients committed any crimes.

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

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

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