Dewey, Dorsey & Whitney, Dechert, Sidley: Business of Law

Bankrupt Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP asked a judge to approve payments at customary rates of as much as $935 an hour for partners of its lead law firm, Togut Segal & Segal LLP.

Dewey, which failed on May 28, owing more than $225 million to secured lenders, is seeking to hire at least nine firms to assist with the liquidation, according to federal court filings in Manhattan.

Billing rates for top officers at Zolfo Cooper Management LLC, its restructuring firm, are as much as $825 an hour. The press advisory firm Sitrick & Co. charges as much as $895 hourly for its top people, according to June 15 filings.

Fees charged by firms that failed because they can’t pay their lenders are attracting attention from the U.S. Justice Department. Clifford J. White, director of the department’s U.S. Trustee, which oversees bankruptcies, has said the “eye-catching” fees are “difficult to explain in the current economic environment,” according to an article by White on the DOJ’s website.

Thomas Mulligan, an executive at Sitrick, declined to comment on the fees that will be billed to Dewey.

Dewey guaranteed about 100 partners about $100 million, according to people familiar with the firm’s finances. Steven Davis, the former chairman, was ousted on April 29 after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. started a probe into possible wrongdoing at Dewey, according to an internal Dewey memo to partners that day. He has denied wrongdoing.

The case is In re Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, 12-12321, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).


Three Trial Partners Join Dorsey in Salt Lake City

Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced that it has added a trio of trial attorney as partners in the firm’s Salt Lake City office. Bryon Benevento, Dan Larsen and Kimberly Neville were previously partners with Snell & Wilmer LLP.

Benevento’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation and products liability defense. Larsen’s practice focuses on product liability defense, medical malpractice, commercial litigation and government law. Neville’s practice focuses on product liability, health care and commercial litigation.

Dorsey & Whitney has 19 locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Dechert Adds London Finance Partner From White & Case

Jeremy Trinder, formerly at White & Case LLP, joined Dechert LLP as a partner in the finance and real estate practice and will be resident in the firm’s London office.

“We are expanding our global finance footprint and he will make a huge contribution,” Richard D. Jones, co-chairman of Dechert’s finance and real estate group, said of Trinder in a statement.

Trinder has worked on commercial real estate business including loan origination, securitization, and workout and restructuring work. He also has experience in the distressed debt arena and represents a major international rating company.

Dechert’s 26 offices are located in the U.S. and 11 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Federal Prosecutor Joshua Hill Joins Sidley in San Francisco

Sidley Austin LLP hired Joshua Hill as a litigation partner in the San Francisco office. He joins the white-collar, securities litigation and complex commercial litigation practice groups.

For the past four years, Hill was an assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California. As a federal prosecutor, Hill investigated and prosecuted a range of offenses, including wire and mail frauds, bank fraud, criminal tax, child exploitation, human trafficking, firearms and narcotics, and immigration crimes, the firm said.

Hill “is a great addition to our litigation practice and continues our ongoing expansion in Northern California,” Anne E. Rea, the member of Sidley’s Management Committee responsible for its West Coast offices, said in a statement.

The white-collar practice group in Sidley’s San Francisco office includes David Anderson, the former first assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California, who joined the firm in 2010.

Sidley Austin LLP has approximately 1,700 lawyers in 18 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Drugmakers Don’t Owe Sales Force Overtime, High Court Says

Drugmakers don’t have to pay overtime to their sales representatives, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a decision that saves the industry billions of dollars and marks a defeat for the Obama administration.

The justices, voting 5-4 in a case involving a GlaxoSmithKline Plc unit, said pharmaceutical salespeople are exempt from a federal wage-and-hour law.

Paul Clement, of Bancroft PLLC, argued the case for Glaxo. Tom Goldstein, of Goldstein & Russell PC, argued the case for the workers. Malcolm Stewart, a Justice Department lawyer, also made oral arguments

More than a dozen wage-and-hour cases had been filed against drugmakers -- including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and units of Novartis AG and Merck & Co. -- by workers charged with persuading doctors to prescribe the company’s products. Business groups said billions of dollars were at stake.

“This closely watched case shuts the door for high-stakes wage-and-hour cases in the pharmaceutical field,” said Diane Sullivan, a trial lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and head of the firm’s New Jersey office.

The Obama administration threw its support behind the sales representatives in a 2009 court filing. The administration said the exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act for “outside salesmen” doesn’t apply to drug-industry representatives.

The court yesterday said that position wasn’t entitled to any special deference because the Labor Department laid out its views in court papers rather than through a formal rulemaking proceeding.

The case split the court along ideological lines. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

The justices focused their ruling on the particular characteristics of the pharmaceutical industry, limiting the impact of the decision on other businesses.

The case is Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham, 11-204, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

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Roger Clemens Acquitted of Federal Charges Over Steroid Use

Former New York Yankee Roger Clemens, a pitcher who won more than 350 games and struck out more than 4,600 batters in a 24-year Major League Baseball career, was found not guilty of lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens thanked his legal team, whom he said “from day one listened to what I had to say.”

One of his lawyers, Rusty Hardin, said after court yesterday that “it’s a day of celebration. Justice won out.”

“Hopefully when a man says ‘I didn’t do it,’ let’s at least give him the benefit of the doubt,” Hardin said. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about anybody today.”

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. thanked the jury for its service.

“We respect the judicial process and the jury’s verdict, Machen said in a statement. ‘‘The U.S. Attorney’s Office also wishes to thank the investigators and prosecutors, who pursued this case with tremendous dedication and professionalism after its referral to us from Congress.”

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in his league, was charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes.

He was also charged with three counts of making false statements and of perjury stemming from his testimony to a House panel. If convicted, he faced as long as 21 months in prison.

Lawyers for Roger Clemens rested their defense June 11 after calling 23 witnesses during the trial in Washington, ending with Jerry Laveroni, former head of player security for the Yankees. Laveroni said Clemens’s chief accuser, Brian McNamee, has “zero” credibility.

The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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