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Gibson Dunn, Latham, McDermott, Boies Schiller: Business of Law

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, bills as much as $1,800 an hour, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that the hourly fee came to light in bankruptcy filings for LightSquared Inc.

Olson’s fees are the highest on record, the Journal said, citing Washington consulting firm Velo Partners, which tracks the figure from court filings.

Gibson Dunn partner Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was listed as next highest in the billing pecking order, at $980 an hour, according to the bankruptcy papers.

Olson, an appellate lawyer, was hired by Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared in March in preparation for a possible legal battle with U.S. regulators. In February the FCC said it would withdraw preliminary approval for the company’s network after government tests found that the signals would interfere with global-positioning systems. LightSquared filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 14, with listed assets of $4.48 billion and debt of $2.29 billion as of Feb. 29.

Olson has handled many prominent cases. His firm biography says he has argued 58 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including acting as the lead counsel for President George Bush in the 2000 Supreme Court case that decided that year’s election. More recently, he joined with David Boies, the lead attorney for 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in that year’s battle for the White House, to legally challenge California’s 2008 ballot measure known as Proposition 8 that banned gay marriage.

A spokesperson from the firm declined to comment on his rate.

The case is In re LightSquared Inc., 12-12080, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).


Latham Advises Calumet in $335 million Royal Purple Purchase

Latham & Watkins LLP advised Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP in its agreement to acquire Royal Purple Inc. for approximately $335 million.

Latham Houston partner Michael Chambers and New York partner David Kurzweil handled the deal for Calumet.

Hallett & Perrin PC is acting as legal counsel for Royal Purple. Corporate lawyer Bruce Hallett in Dallas was the partner on the deal.

Calumet produces specialty hydrocarbon products by processing crude oil and other feedstocks into customized lubricating oils, solvents, waxes and asphalt used in consumer, industrial, and automotive products. The company also produces fuel products including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Royal Purple manufactures high-performance lubricants for automotive, industrial, marine, motorcycle and racing applications.

“Calumet is very excited to be adding the Royal Purple product line to our portfolio of specialty products,” Bill Grube, Calumet’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Royal Purple has an extensive specialty product line serving the industrial and consumer automotive markets.”

Calumet will acquire 100 percent of its membership interests at the closing, which the company expects to happen in the middle of July, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

Calumet will finance the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and borrowings under its senior secured revolving credit facility, as well as potentially other long-term debt financing, the company said in a statement.


McDermott Paris Office Expands with Seven New Lawyer Hires

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has hired seven new lawyers in its Paris office who will strengthen the firm’s corporate, tax and dispute resolution law practices. Three lawyers joining from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s Paris office will be partners. They include Bertrand Delafaye, Antoine Vergnat and Antony Martinez. They will be joined by four associates coming from Orrick Rambaud Martel, SJ Berwin LLP and Reed Smith LLP, the firm said.

Delafaye, previously a partner with Orrick Rambaud, will join the corporate advisory practice group. He advises private and listed companies on corporate, mergers and acquisitions and securities law matters.

Vergnat will be a partner in the U.S. and international tax practice group. He assists French and foreign investment funds, corporate groups and entrepreneurs operating in the industrial, service and real estate sectors.

Martinez, who is admitted to the Paris and New York bars, will join the trial practice group. He handles international disputes relating to complex commercial contracts involving multiple jurisdictions on behalf of French and foreign clients.

McDermott opened its Paris office in May last year, naming corporate and competition lawyer Jacques Buhart, formerly of Herbert Smith LLP, as the partner-in-charge of the Paris office,

“The expansion of the Paris office is key to achieving the McDermott’s strategy of being able to give high-quality advice to multinational corporate clients in all the major economies in which they conduct their business,” Buhart said in a statement.

The expansion of the Paris office follows McDermott’s growth in other parts of Europe. The firm opened a Frankfurt office last month. Two other partners have joined the Paris office this year. The firm also hired a pair of private equity partners in London, as well as a corporate partner in Milan and three other partners in Germany.

The firm has more than 1,000 lawyers at offices in the U.S., Europe and a strategic alliance in Shanghai.

Moves Round-Up

Morgan Lewis, Greenberg, Baker & McKenzie, Baker Hostetler

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP hired capital markets partner Allan Reiss to join its business and finance practice in the New York office. He was most recently a partner with Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he practiced corporate and securities law, the firm said.

Greenberg Traurig LLP has added cross-border mergers and acquisitions attorney David Gitlin to the Philadelphia office in the corporate and securities practice as a shareholder. He was previously a partner at Blank Rome, LLP.

Real estate lawyer Kent F. Beattie has joined Baker & McKenzie LLP as a partner in Toronto. He was previously a partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, the firm said.

Baker Hostetler LLP hired Edmund W. Searby, who joins the firm’s litigation group as partner in its Cleveland, Ohio, office. His practice will focus on white collar defense and corporate investigations, securities litigation, antitrust and commercial litigation. He was previously at McDonald Hopkins LLC, the firm said.

David Luce has joined DLA Piper LLP’s corporate and finance practice and insurance and reinsurance sector practice in New York. Luce is a former director in the Fixed Income Division of Credit Suisse, the firm said.

K&L Gates LLP hired broker-dealer lawyer K. Susan Grafton as a partner in the investment management practice. Grafton is a former vice president and associate general counsel for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and staff member at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets. She was previously at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, the firm said in a statement.

Business law and litigation firm Fasken Martineau LLP announced that Frank Mariage has joined the firm’s corporate/commercial, mergers and acquisitions and mining groups as a partner.

Blank Rome LLP announced that Debra P. Goldberg has joined the firm as a partner in the financial services group. She was previously of counsel at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, the firm said.


Barclays’s Battle With Lehman Brokerage Brings $5.5 Billion

Barclays Plc has won as much as $5.5 billion from the liquidator of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s brokerage since buying the defunct investment bank’s North American business more than three years ago.

A federal judge in Manhattan told the brokerage to pay Barclays what it owed, saying the final sale documents showed the parties’ true intent. James Giddens, of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, the brokerage trustee, originally demanded $7 billion from Barclays, saying he hadn’t read last-minute changes to the contract in the September 2008 chaos after the Lehman parent filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

“We are gratified by the court’s decision confirming that Barclays is entitled to the Lehman assets it purchased in September 2008,” the bank’s litigation lawyer, Jonathan Schiller of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, said in an e-mail.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ordered Giddens to pay London-based Barclays $1.1 billion and renounce his claim to $1.5 billion in margin assets backing trading operations that Barclays took over from Lehman. In confirming part of a lower-court decision, Forrest cost Giddens a total of $3.5 billion in margin and $2 billion in clearance-box assets, held to clear trades, the trustee said yesterday.

The dueling between the second-biggest U.K. bank and Giddens, who also is liquidating the MF Global Inc. brokerage, followed a 2010 court trial before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck in Manhattan. Both sides challenged Peck’s order on the disputed assets, and Giddens said he plans to appeal Forrest’s ruling.

“We strongly believe that the former customers of Lehman Brothers Inc. are entitled to these assets,” Giddens said in an e-mailed statement June 5. “Our duty to customers mandates that we continue to pursue all legal avenues to recover the assets.”

The Lehman parent is still buying and selling assets after exiting bankruptcy to pay creditors an average of about 18 cents on the dollar. The defunct firm had sought an $11 billion “windfall” it alleged Barclays made on the 2008 purchase. Peck rejected that demand and Lehman dropped its appeal of his ruling.

Lehman filed for bankruptcy with $613 billion in debt.

The district court case is Giddens v. Barclays Capital Inc., 11-cv-06052, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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