Dechert, Chadbourne, Jones Day, Hunton: Business of Law

Dechert LLP said energy attorney Kenneth E. Mack, who led Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s Kazakhstan office, joined the firm along with a team of 10 lawyers.

Mack, a partner in Almaty, the commercial capital of Kazakhstan, focuses his practice on transactions in the energy and natural resources sectors.

“Kazakhstan is of great strategic importance not only to our Russian client base, but also our Chinese and multinational corporate clients,” said Laura Brank, head of Dechert’s Russia practice.

Chadbourne “will continue to refer those clients who need counsel in Almaty to the office as the opportunities arise,” managing partner Andrew Giaccia said.

“The departure of the Almaty office is not inconsistent with our strategic vision for the firm,” he said. “In the last few years we began shifting our resources to our offices in other markets with greater potential for us and expanding into other high growth markets, as evidenced by our recent opening of offices in Brazil and Turkey.”

Three additional partners are joining Dechert: Victor Mokrousov who advises on corporate, finance and regulatory matters, particularly in energy and mining; Sergei Vataev, who focuses on arbitration disputes, as well as corporate and project finance; and Mukhit Yeleuov, who advises clients on litigation, energy and finance.

Seven associates also joined: banking and finance lawyers Ainur Abdalova, Yevgeniya Nossova and Benjamin Paine; litigator Abzal Kassymzhanov; and corporate lawyers Nadezhda Oparina, Elshat Seksembayeva and Asel Yermekova.


Minnesota Lawyer Fined $50,000 for Frivolous MERS Lawsuits

William B. Butler, of Minneapolis-based law firm Butler Liberty Law LLC, was fined $50,000 by a federal judge for filing lawsuits based upon frivolous “show-me-the-note” defenses designed to thwart foreclosure proceedings.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz in Minneapolis dismissed several cases filed by Butler and ordered him to pay unspecified attorneys’ fees to mortgage-registry operator Merscorp Holdings Inc. and its co-defendants. Schiltz also forwarded a copy of the court’s order to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, according to the opinion.

In filing frivolous lawsuits and using delaying tactics, Schiltz said, “Butler has been abusing, not using, the judicial system.”

“There is a steep price to be paid for lawyers who prey on consumers who are experiencing financial difficulty and waste the court’s valuable time with unsupportable attacks on the MERS system,” Janis L. Smith, a Merscorp spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Butler didn’t respond to two phone calls to his office seeking comment on the judge’s order.

The case is Welk v. GMAC, 011-cv-02676 U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).

Ruth Madoff’s Lawyers Can’t Collect Legal Fees, Judge Rules

Epstein, Becker & Green PC, the firm which represented Ruth Madoff in a partnership dispute in New Jersey federal court, can’t collect legal fees, a U.S. judge in New York ruled.

The New Jersey firm filed a third-party suit in federal court in New York, saying that it was entitled to legal fees totaling $24,790 from Madoff’s forfeited settlement funds.

Attorney Robert S. Gettinger sued Madoff in federal court in Newark in 2007 alleging that he and Madoff entered into a limited partnership in 1993 with Magnetic Services Inc. to buy a magnetic resonance imaging machine, lease offices in Hoboken, New Jersey, and provide space for physicians. Dr. Mark Berger, who ran Magnetic Services, is also a defendant.

Madoff and Gettinger, who each invested $150,000, said they were entitled to 25 percent of the partnership’s profits. Madoff and Gettinger filed a breach-of-contract complaint last year, claiming Berger and the partnership didn’t pay them all they were owed to end the arrangement in 2005. That lawsuit was settled in May 2009.

Madoff’s husband, Bernard Madoff, 73, pleaded guilty in 2009 to orchestrating what prosecutors called the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Denny Chin, the federal appeals court judge who is still presiding over the Madoff case, issued a criminal forfeiture judgment of $170.8 billion in June 2009, just before he sentenced Madoff to 150 years in a federal prison in North Carolina. Ruth Madoff agreed to be bound by the terms of the forfeiture order.

Chin said that Epstein Becker, which submitted the petition last year, wasn’t entitled to the funds because “it cannot assert a legal interest in the forfeited property.”

The case is U.S. v. Bernard L. Madoff, 09-cr-213, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).


Jones Day Expands Corporate and M&A Practice in Dusseldorf

Jones Day said added five corporate lawyers to the mergers and acquisitions practice at its office in Dusseldorf, which opened Feb. 1.

Ulrich Brauer from Simmons & Simmons and Kerstin Mast from Bird & Bird LLP will join as partners. Ralf Recknagel from GSK Stockmann + Kollegen is of counsel and Norman Kulpa and Zhaoxia Chen, both from Simmons & Simmons, are associates.

“We see tremendous opportunities in the region for sophisticated, global corporate counsel and are in contact with other well known transactional lawyers from Dusseldorf whom we expect to join us soon,” Ansgar Rempp, partner-in-charge of the Jones Day Dusseldorf office, said in a statement.

The Dusseldorf site is Jones Day’s third office in Germany. The firm has more than 2,500 lawyers worldwide.

U.S. Lawyer Stander Joins Hunton & Williams Litigation Team

Hunton & Williams LLP added David J. Stander to its complex commercial litigation practice as counsel in its Washington office. Stander came from the Justice Department’s criminal division, the firm said in a statement.

“Dave has an extensive background in labor matters that involve RICO and ERISA issues,” said Michael J. Mueller, co-head of the firm’s complex commercial litigation practice.

Hunton & Williams’ complex litigation team has more than 275 litigators with trial experience in federal, state and international courts, in class-action, multijurisdictional and complex litigation, and in arbitration and mediation. Hunton & Williams has more than 800 lawyers in 19 offices around the world.

McDermott Adds Partner Martin Milner to Washington Tax Team

McDermott Will & Emery LLP named Martin Milner as a partner in its U.S. and international tax practice group, based in the firm’s Washington office.

Milner, who joins from Mayer Brown LLP, will focus his practice on the U.S. federal tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and restructuring transactions.

McDermott has more than 1,000 lawyers with offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Rome, Washington and California’s Orange County and Silicon Valley.

Womble Carlyle Adds Corporate Partner From Paul Hastings

Walter Tinley Anderson III, a corporate and securities attorney in the Atlanta, joined Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP as a partner. He was previously at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker Ltd. in the Atlanta office.

Anderson focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, technology transfers and corporate finance. Womble Carlyle has more than 550 attorneys in 14 offices.

Stuart M. Glass Joins Choate, Hall & Stewart as a Partner

Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, a Boston-based firm with 175 attorneys, said Stuart M. Glass joined the firm as a partner in its securities litigation group. Glass was a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP in the firm’s litigation department and a member of its securities litigation and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement and business litigation practices.

Heninger Garrison Adds Patent Litigator Dara T. Jeffries

Heninger Garrison Davis LLC said Dara T. Jeffries joined the firm as an attorney in the Atlanta office focusing on intellectual property litigation.

Heninger Garrison, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has offices in Atlanta, New Jersey and New York and focuses on business litigation, class actions and mass torts, intellectual property and personal injury.

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