Dewey, MoFo, Pillsbury, Cleary, Davis Wright: Business of Law

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, which has lost more than a third of its partners in recent weeks, saw its merger and acquisition chief and a team of London litigators depart as the price of its bonds slumped in private trades.

M&A chief Morton Pierce left yesterday with seven other partners to join White & Case LLP in New York, he said in a telephone interview. London managing partner Peter Sharp, Nick Greenwood and David Waldron are joining Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in London, Morgan Lewis said in a statement.

Dewey’s privately placed bonds, sold in 2010 to insurance companies to refinance older bank loans, have fallen as low as 45 cents to 55 cents on the dollar, from a trade in the 60s on April 27, said Kevin Starke, an analyst at CRT Capital Group LLC, in a report.

Dewey, based in New York, is in “an apparent death spiral,” Starke wrote.

Dewey, whose bank loans are partly secured with money due from clients, told partners they can’t have their monthly pay until they send all the bills for their services, a person familiar with the matter said.

Dewey is under orders from bankers to collect as much money owed to the firm as possible after the departure of about 90 partners and the ouster of chairman Steven Davis, according to another person familiar with Dewey’s finances. The banks are reluctant to put the firm into bankruptcy as that might make it harder to collect the bills, that person said. Both people didn’t want to be identified because the matter wasn’t public.

Pierce is joining White & Case along with seven other partners, he said. He’s leaving because of the turmoil at Dewey, he said.

“Everyone knows what’s going on at Dewey,” he said.

Pierce and Denise Cerasani will be joining with six partners who can’t be identified for legal reasons, White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier said in an internal memo sent to all staff and seen by Bloomberg.

“Two of our strategic priorities have been to strengthen our global M&A practice and expand our New York office,” Verrier wrote in the memo. “These new partners will help us achieve both of these priorities.”

The London departures follow those of London project finance lawyer Nabil Khodadad to Vinson & Elkins LLP, tax lawyer Julio Castro to KPMG LLP and Stephen Walters, who resigned, a spokesman for Dewey said.

The law firm is preparing to liquidate its U.K. office, two people familiar with the situation said. The London office appointed a committee including restructuring lawyer Mark Fennessy and banking lawyer Bruce Johnston to review its options to wind down or close the business, said the people, who declined to be named because the matter is private.

Dewey was still talking with SNR Denton LLP and other law firms about a possible transaction, Mike Sitrick, a spokesman for Dewey, said yesterday. He declined to specify the type of deal the firms were willing to do.

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Ex-Finra Enforcement Director Nathan Joins Morrison & Foerster

Daniel A. Nathan, the former vice president and regional enforcement director for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, joined Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Washington office as a partner.

During his five years at Finra, Nathan oversaw a 70-lawyer team across 15 offices responsible for bringing as many as 900 disciplinary actions, the firm said in a statement. Previously, Nathan served at the Securities and Exchange Commission as assistant director in the Division of Enforcement and at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as deputy director of enforcement.

Nathan is “a triple threat,” because of his experience at the three agencies, according to Jordan Eth, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s 140-lawyer securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar defense group.

In 12 years at the SEC, Nathan supervised federal investigations of insider trading, market manipulation, financial fraud and accounting misconduct. In nine years at the CFTC, he oversaw the agency’s Enforcement Division and created the CFTC’s Office of Cooperative Enforcement, which expanded joint enforcement efforts between the CFTC, the U.S. Justice Department, the SEC and state authorities.

Morrison & Foerster has more than 1,000 lawyers and 15 offices in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Finance Lawyer Joins Pillsbury, Will Head Asia Practice

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP added Henry Liu, a U.S. and Chinese-qualified corporate and finance lawyer, to the firm’s finance practice. Liu was formerly a partner in DLA Piper LLP’s corporate and finance practice.

He will primarily work in Pillsbury’s New York office and will spend a significant amount of time in the Shanghai office, according to the firm. He will also lead Pillsbury’s financial institutions and infrastructure teams for Greater China and Asia.

Liu has represented companies on Asia-related cross-border corporate, financing and regulatory matters in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, capital markets, private equity and investment funds, foreign direct investments, real estate, technology transfers and international trade, the firm said.

From 1995 to 2000, he was general counsel and director general at the China Securities Regulatory Commission, where he headed up the working group drafting and enacting China’s first securities law, according to the firm.

Pillsbury has 15 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Arbitration Specialist Joins Quinn Emanuel From Arnold & Porter

David Orta will join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP’s Washington office as a partner and will head the Washington international arbitration practice. He was previously a partner in the Washington office of Arnold & Porter LLP.

Orta, an experienced trial lawyer and arbitration advocate, devotes most of his time to representing clients in international disputes, Quinn Emanuel said. He has represented clients in arbitrations in forums including the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, UNCITRAL, the ICC and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.

“Within the coming months we will be adding well known international arbitration specialists in other major arbitration centers, including London,” managing partner John Quinn said in a statement.

Quinn Emanuel’s Washington office opened in September and has expanded to 22 lawyers. Quinn Emanuel has more than 600 lawyers with offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Washington, Chicago, Tokyo, London, Mannheim and Moscow.

K&L Gates Adds Partners in Doha and Charleston

The Doha office of K&L Gates LLP added Amjad Hussain as a partner in its corporate and finance practices. He joined the firm from Eversheds LLP, where he was a partner in the Doha office.

Hussain advises clients on corporate and financing transactions, focusing on Shariah-compliant matters including corporate, real estate, asset and project financings.

Richard A. Farrier Jr. also joined the firm as a partner in its commercial disputes practice in Charleston, South Carolina. He was previously at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, where he was managing partner of the Charleston office. Michael T. Cole took over as acting managing partner in Charleston at Nelson Mullins.

Farrier, a trial lawyer, represents companies in complex litigation involving claims of financial and securities fraud, breach of contract, partnership and shareholder breaches, deceptive trade and business practices, trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and defective products.

K&L Gates has more than 40 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East.

Restructuring Partner Joins Chadbourne in London

Chadbourne & Parke LLP said John Verrill joined the firm’s London office as a partner in the insolvency and financial restructuring group.

Verrill comes to Chadbourne from Dundas & Wilson LLP, where he was co-head of the insolvency and restructuring team, Chadbourne said in a statement.

Verrill has more than 25 years of experience in the corporate recovery sector. He has advised on restructuring and insolvency issues for both debtors and creditors, with a focus on complex cross-border insolvency matters and company voluntary arrangements.

“Having John join us in London is strategically important for Chadbourne’s insolvency and financial restructuring group,” said Claude Serfilippi, managing partner of the firm’s London office. “He will be well placed to drive and support matters handled by our integrated insolvency practice in our New York, Mexico City, Warsaw and Moscow offices.”

Chadbourne has offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, London, Moscow, Warsaw, Kiev, Istanbul, Dubai and Beijing.

Linklaters Partner Joins Allen & Overy as German IP Head

Allen & Overy LLP appointed partner Jens Matthes to head the German IP team in the firm’s Dusseldorf office.

Matthes joins Allen & Overy from Linklaters LLP, where he was responsible for establishing and managing the German intellectual property practice group since 2008.

Matthes specializes in trademark, design and patent law, unfair competition law, licensing and research and development agreements, as well as employee inventions, counterfeiting and the transfer and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

Matthes replaces Nadine Herrmann, the former head of Allen & Overy’s German intellectual property group, who left for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP with a team of Allen & Overy lawyers on May 1.

Allen & Overy has about 4,750 staff, including 480 partners, working in 39 offices worldwide.

Bird & Bird Adds Partners in London and Stockholm

Bird & Bird LLP added Geraint Lloyd to the firm’s international corporate practice group as a partner in London. He was previously at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, where he headed the venture capital team, Bird & Bird said in a statement.

Lloyd focuses on private equity, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and funds formations. He has experience in the technology, clean technology and health-care areas. Lloyd will help develop Bird & Bird’s venture capital and wider corporate offerings, the firm said.

Gabriel Lidman, an international media sector group partner in the Stockholm office, joined Bird & Bird from Swedish law firm Hamilton, where he headed the technology, media and telecommunications and intellectual property group.

Lidman has a background in the media sector, including traditional media and online. His areas of expertise include outsourcing, intellectual property and information technology, as well as general commercial practice.

Bird & Bird has more than 900 lawyers in 23 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


DSM to Buy U.S.-Based Biomedical Business for $360 Million

Royal DSM NA agreed to buy U.S.-based Kensey Nash Corp. for $360 million in cash to drive expansion in the market for medical devices and materials engineered from proteins and synthetic polymers.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provided legal counsel to DSM, which was advised by Citigroup Inc. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP advised Kensey Nash, with Jefferies Group Inc. serving as financial adviser.

Cleary’s team included New York partners William Groll and partner David Gelfand on antitrust matters in Washington.

Katten’s legal team was led by Chicago partners Mark D. Wood and David R. Shevitz. Partners Daniel Lange contributed on employee benefits and Matthew Hinderman on tax. They are both in the Chicago office.

Kensey Nash’s board is recommending the $38.50-a-share offer, which is 33 percent higher than the Exton, Pennsylvania-based company’s close on May 2, Heerlen, the Netherlands-based DSM said.

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Firm News

Davis Wright Names Schneier to Executive Committee

Sharon L. Schneier, a commercial litigation partner in the New York office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, was named chair of the executive committee. Schneier, who was previously New York partner-in-charge, focus her practice on complex matters.

“She has been a tremendous leader in the firm for many years, and her vision and focus will serve us well as we execute on our strategic plan,” Dave Baca, Davis Wright’s managing partner, said in a statement.

Mark Berry, partner-in-charge of Davis Wright’s Bellevue, Washington, office, was named vice-chair of the executive committee.

Davis Wright has about 500 lawyers worldwide.

On The Docket

Bard Faces Vaginal Mesh Trial; Plaintiffs Lawyers Appointed

C.R. Bard Inc. will face its first federal-court trial next year over claims that the company’s vaginal-mesh implants injured women.

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in Charleston, West Virginia, set a Feb. 5 trial date for the first of about 600 federal cases contending that Bard’s Avaulta device caused organ damage. Goodwin is overseeing a consolidation of cases filed in federal courts across the U.S. against Bard, Johnson & Johnson and other makers of vaginal-mesh inserts.

Goodwin appointed Bryan Aylstock, Fred Thompson III and Henry G. Garrard III to lead a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers who will oversee the progress of pretrial information exchanges over the consolidated federal cases.

The order of trials for the first federal cases over Avaulta “will be determined after completion” of the information exchanges, Goodwin said in his order May 1.

Aylstock, a Pensacola, Florida-based lawyer, said he was pleased Goodwin set the first trial over Bard’s mesh product for early next year.

“We have a lot of women who have suffered devastating consequences from the Avaulta product and they deserve their day in court,” Aylstock said in a telephone interview.

Bard, based in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and a unit of New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J also face litigation in U.S. state courts over their mesh products. More than 75,000 women a year have the devices inserted vaginally to treat pelvic organs that bulge, or prolapse, or to deal with incontinence.

Scott Lowry, a Bard spokesman, didn’t return a call for comment on the judge’s decision to set the trial date.

The Bard consolidated cases are In re C.R. Bard Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, 2:10-MD-02187, U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).

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