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Dewey, Arnold & Porter, Latham, Goodwin: Business of Law

Charles Landgraf, the last of four partners who was managing Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP after the firm created a new five-member chairman’s office in March, left for Arnold & Porter LLP yesterday.

The failing New York-based law firm was roiled by issues over partner compensation that led to the departure of more than two-thirds of its partners over the last couple of months and the firing of 553 employees at its Manhattan building, according to a notice on the U.S. Labor Department website.

At least 11 partners in the U.S. have recently left, including two big moves yesterday: insurance lobbyist Landgraf and the former white-collar practice head Christopher J. Clark, to Latham & Watkins LLP. Large groups of lawyers in Italy and Poland left Dewey this week as well. Nine other partners’ departures were reported May 15 in the Business of Law column.

While at Dewey, Landgraf represented Lloyd’s of London, the Association of Dutch Insurers, NAREIT, California Earthquake Authority, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the Financial Services Roundtable, and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., the firm said in a statement.

Clark, Dewey’s former white-collar practice head, joined Latham’s New York office as a partner in the litigation department, Latham said yesterday. He has expertise in defending criminal and regulatory investigations, and in providing advice to public companies, hedge funds and investment advisers. His practice focuses on securities law and foreign and domestic anti-corruption law.

Clark is a member of the team of attorneys representing Mark Cuban in a Securities and Exchange Commission matter. He has also represented hedge fund clients, including a landmark ruling against the SEC in one of the first enforcement actions brought by the commission concerning the use of short-selling strategies in advance of PIPE offerings, the firm said.

Additional Dewey departures this week include a team of 11 real estate and private equity attorneys to Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York. SRZ hired Joseph A. Smith and Marshall S. Brozost as partners, along with nine additional lawyers.

Smith, who served as the global chairman for Dewey’s private-equity practice group, joins the investment management group at SRZ. Experienced in private equity and investment fund formation, Smith focuses his practice on the representation of fund sponsors, asset managers and institutional investors in connection with the formation of private investment funds, the acquisition of portfolio investments and the implementation of exit strategies, the firm said in a statement.

Brozost joins the real estate group. He focuses his practice on all aspects of commercial real estate, including purchases and sales, formation of joint ventures, real estate fund formation, mortgage and mezzanine financing, workouts and leasing.

The additional lawyers joining include two in the real estate section and seven in the investment management group.

Sidley Austin LLP announced yesterday that Andrew Holland and Kirk Lipsey joined the firm’s New York office as partners in the insurance and financial services group. Both were previously partners at Dewey.

Holland’s practice will focus on insurance regulatory and corporate matters. Lipsey will focus on insurance industry transactions, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions.

Hogan Lovells LLP announced that Dean Hansell joined its Los Angeles office as a partner in the litigation, arbitration and employment practice.

Hansell’s practice encompasses consumer, unfair competition, and labor and employment class actions; complex business litigation; government enforcement actions; environmental claims; insurance and reinsurance litigation and insolvency matters; international litigation and arbitration; and appeals, the firm said.

Proskauer Rose LLP has added mergers and acquisitions partner Lorenzo Borgogni to the New York office.

Borgogni represents both public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and corporate governance matters. His practice focuses on cash and stock-for-stock mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, tender offers, leveraged buyouts and going-private transactions, auctions, spinoffs and divestitures, takeover defenses and proxy contests, the firm said.

Boston energy lawyers Scott Mueller and Meabh Purcell have joined Holland & Knight LLP’s energy and clean technology team as partners. Mueller was co-chairman of Dewey’s energy regulatory department.

Joseph Lavelle joined DLA Piper LLP’s intellectual property and technology practice and patent litigation group as a partner in the Washington office.

For more, click here.

Linklaters Real Estate Group Head Moves to Goodwin Procter

Joe Conder, former Linklaters LLP’ co-global head of Linklater’s real estate sector group, will join Goodwin Procter LLP as a partner in the London office.

At Goodwin, Conder will be a member of the firm’s real estate capital markets practice, focusing on commercial real estate transactions, including sales, purchases, development funding and leasing in Europe.

Conder’s practice covers all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including sales and purchases of high-value investment properties, real estate development “forward” funding, real estate leasing, and real estate outsourcing transactions. He has served as real estate relationship partner for international investors, including German, Middle Eastern and Asian funds. At Linklaters he also headed the U.K. investment team in the real estate practice.

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

K&L Gates Hires Commercial Disputes Partner in Portland

The Portland, Oregon, office of K&L Gates LLP has added B. John Casey as a partner in the commercial disputes practice. Casey joins the firm from Latham & Watkins LLP in Chicago.

With a focus on securities and professional liability litigation, Casey advises clients in the accounting, financial services, private equity, and consumer goods sectors on complex commercial litigation, securities class actions, SEC investigations, mergers and acquisitions litigation, professional malpractice actions, and fiduciary duty disputes, the firm said. He also counsels on employment and consumer class actions as well as complex contract disputes.

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


Emerging Market Trends Now Majority Opinions, Survey Shows

Law firm leaders have shifted their attitudes toward legal market trends like staffing and fees, consulting firm Altman Weil said after the most recent results from a law firm survey that the firm has done since 2009, shortly after the start of the economic downturn.

“Emerging legal market trends that were viewed with considerable skepticism in 2009 have become majority opinions in 2012,” said Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger in a statement. “These are striking changes.”

Firm leaders foresee a decrease in equity partners and expect smaller first-year classes. Sixty-eight percent of firm leaders believe that there will be fewer equity partners, an increase from 23 percent three years ago, the firm said.

The survey also found that more than twice the number of law firm leaders, 92 percent, believe that increased price competition will be a permanent fixture of the post-recession legal marketplace.

Compared to 2009 when only 26 percent thought more commoditization of legal work would be a permanent change, 84 percent expect that in the latest survey.

Altman Weil conducted the survey in March and April. The survey polled managing partners and chairmen at 792 U.S. law firms with 50 or more lawyers. The firm received completed forms from 238 firms, including 40 percent of the 250 largest U.S. law firms.

For more, click here.

BGC Executive Verrier Banned in U.K. Over Broker Poaching

Anthony Verrier, the executive managing director of the inter-dealer brokerage BGC Partners Inc., was banned by the U.K. financial regulator because of his involvement in poaching brokers from a competitor.

Tony Woodcock, a lawyer for Verrier, said the matter is “an internal administrative decision by the FSA, which hasn’t been the subject of independent judicial inquiry.”

“We are referring the case to an external tribunal, so that proper consideration can be taken as to what action the FSA should properly take, if any, against Mr. Verrier,” Woodcock said.

Verrier isn’t fit to work in the finance industry in Britain because of a court’s finding that he induced brokers at Tullett Prebon Plc to breach their employment contracts, the Financial Services Authority said in a statement yesterday.

Tullett sued BGC in 2009, claiming Verrier spent millions of pounds to convince the heads of various Tullett trading desks to breach their contracts by getting colleagues to defect to BGC. A U.K. court in 2010 ruled against New York-based BGC and ordered a second trial on damages, which was later settled.

“In light of the High Court’s findings about Verrier’s conduct, we have concluded that he is not fit and proper to be in the U.K. financial services industry,” said Tracey McDermott, the FSA’s acting head of enforcement.

BGC Partners, a unit of the New York-based investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., specializes in trading over-the-counter financial instruments and related derivative products. A spokesman for Cantor Fitzgerald, Robert Hubbell, referred requests for comment to Verrier’s lawyers.

During the litigation, which featured allegations about lost BlackBerrys and threatening phone calls, BGC was blocked by London’s High Court from hiring anyone from Tullett. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling last year.

Tullett claimed during the trial that Verrier, its former global chief operating officer, induced the heads of Tullett trading desks to act as “recruiting sergeants.” He and others lost numerous BlackBerry phones that might have stored incriminating messages, London-based Tullett alleged.

Judge Raymond Jack said he was “satisfied” that it was Verrier’s “gambit” to lose the devices. He also said that in his testimony, Verrier “stuck to the truth where he was able to, but departed from it with equanimity and adroitness where the truth was inconvenient.”


AIG Declines to Reveal Legal Costs After Sole Investor Request

American International Group Inc., the insurer majority owned by the U.S. Treasury Department after a 2008 bailout, declined to reveal legal costs in response to the only investor who asked a question at its annual meeting.

“I don’t believe we go through and identify that as a number that we go public with,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 67, told the man who identified himself as an AIG shareholder at the meeting yesterday in New York. “We are working very hard to work that list down and we also do very strong competitive bidding on legal costs, so it’s not a free-for-all. You may think it’s a feeding frenzy on this company. It is not.”

The investor cited the 17-page summary of litigation and investigations in AIG’s quarterly filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including regulatory probes and disputes with shareholders, competitors, ex-executives and a former subsidiary. Benmosche has worked to resolve lawsuits as the Treasury winds down its stake.

“I can tell you that our legal expenses are coming down dramatically,” Benmosche said.

Firm News

McDermott Names Partner-in-Charge in Silicon Valley Office

McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced that it has named litigation partner Daniel E. Alberti as partner-in-charge of the firm’s Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park, California.

With more than 30 years of trial experience, Alberti has litigated patent and trade secret cases, as well as business disputes in arbitration forums across the country, the firm said in a statement.

“We believe Dan’s style both in the courtroom and as a manager aligns very well with the creative, entrepreneurial style of our clients in the Valley,” Jeffrey E. Stone, co-chairman of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, said in a statement.

Partner Anthony de Alcuaz will step down as partner-in-charge for the Silicon Valley office. De Alcuaz will turn his focus toward strengthening McDermott’s Silicon Valley trial capabilities by taking on a greater role in more intellectual property litigation matters, the firm said.

McDermott has hired seven intellectual property lawyers in its Silicon Valley office since February. The firm has more than 1,000 lawyers in offices in the U.S. and Europe, as well as a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

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