Bark & Co., Latham, Jones, Nelson Levine: Business of Law

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Ex-UBS Trader Kweku Adoboli
Ex-UBS Trader Kweku Adoboli, center right, is escorted to a prison van as he leaves the City of London magistrates court in London on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Kweku Adoboli, accused of unauthorized trades that cost UBS AG $2.3 billion, will go on trial Sept. 14, charged with fraud and false accounting in one of the highest-profile banking cases ever heard in London.

Arguments, which had been scheduled to start today in London, were delayed until the end of the week at a hearing.

Since being released on bail three months ago, Adoboli, 32, has worked on his defense at the office of his law firm, Bark & Co. He is facing an eight-week trial in criminal court to decide whether he caused the largest unauthorized trading loss in British history at UBS’s investment bank a year ago.

He is charged with falsifying records on exchange-traded fund transactions and other documents needed for accounting purposes as early as October 2008, according to his indictment. Prosecutors also charged him with fraud for abusing his senior trader position “by causing or exposing UBS Bank to losses intending thereby to make a gain for himself.”

In the U.K., fraud charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, and seven years for false accounting. Adoboli is facing two counts of each.

Tim Harris, Adoboli’s lawyer, said he was unable to comment on the case before trial.

“The U.K. criminal process is ongoing and will run its course,” UBS spokesman Richard Morton said in an e-mailed statement. “UBS is not a party to the case and therefore has no further comment.”

Adoboli worked for the Zurich-based investment bank’s Delta One desk, which handles trades for clients -- or risks the bank’s own money -- typically by speculating on a basket of securities. The loss, which came from trading in Standard & Poor’s 500, DAX and EuroStoxx index futures, didn’t affect any client positions, according to UBS.

Held in Wandsworth prison in southwest London after his arrest on Sept. 15, Adoboli was granted bail and released June 13. He is staying with a friend in the British capital, Harris has said. As part of his bail conditions, he has a curfew and has surrendered his Ghanaian passport.

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Carlyle to Buy Cogentrix Energy Assets From Goldman Sachs

Vinson & Elkins LLP advised Carlyle Group, which agreed to buy energy assets from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-backed Cogentrix, expanding its power-asset management and operating expertise. Latham & Watkins LLP is advising Goldman Sachs.

V&E mergers and acquisitions partners Maritza Okata and Keith Fullenweider led the deal for Carlyle Group, with assistance from partners John Lynch on tax and John Decker on energy regulatory matters.

Latham’s corporate deal team was led by New York corporate partners David Allinson and Eli Hunt. Advice was also provided by New York finance partner Warren Lilien, New York benefits and compensation partner Bradd Williamson, New York environment, land and resources partner David Langer and Orange County real estate partner David Meckler, according to Latham.

The assets include five coal and solar power projects in Florida, Virginia, Colorado and California, according to a statement Sept. 7. The transaction includes Charlotte, North Carolina-based Cogentrix staff.

The value of the purchase wasn’t disclosed. The transaction, which requires regulatory approval, is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter.

Firm News

Jones Day Hires Five U.S. Supreme Court Clerks This Fall

Jones Day announced that five U.S. Supreme Court clerks will join its issues & appeals practice this fall.

The firm hired two who clerked for Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: Anthony Dick and Ryan D. Newman. Both join the Washington office of Jones Day. Two others will join them in that office: Jeffrey R. Johnson, who clerked for Justice Elena Kagan and Christopher DiPompeo, who clerked for Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Brian C. Lea, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, joins Jones Day’s Atlanta office.

“We usually manage to recruit a goodly number of clerks, but we’re thrilled this year to have attracted so many of these outstanding young appellate lawyers,” said Glen Nager, the Washington-based partner who chairs Jones Day’s issues & appeals practice. He said that the likely reason the firm attracts so many former clerks “has something to do with our strategy of deploying appellate lawyers outside of, as well as within, the Beltway in all applicable matters, at early stages of litigation.”

Jones Day has 2,400 lawyers in 35 offices worldwide.

Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton Opening North Carolina Office

Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton LLC announced that the firm will open a Greensboro, North Carolina, office, expanding the insurance law firm’s footprint into the Southeast region. The office will be led by David L. Brown, an insurance coverage litigator joins Nelson Levine from Greensboro-based Pinto Coates Kyre & Brown PLLC.

Other partners joining the firm from Pinto Coates are Martha P. Brown, John I. Malone Jr. and Brady A. Yntema. The office will open on Nov. 1.

Nelson Levine intends to continue to recruit experienced insurance law attorneys this year and next, the firm said.

“This strategic expansion allows us to further assist leading insurers in the U.S. and London markets in a key geographic region -- the Atlantic Coast -- for the insurance industry,” Mike Nelson, chairman of Nelson Levine said in a statement. “We are excited about the additions of four respected partners,” Nelson said.

David Brown focuses on complex insurance coverage disputes and bad faith claims throughout North Carolina and the southeastern U.S., particularly emerging coverage issues related to DNA identification as well as matters involving allocation, property coverage, and directors and officers liability.

Martha Brown represents insurers in appellate and employment practices liability issues. Malone represents insurance carriers in disputes arising from construction claims and product liability. Yntema concentrates on complex insurance coverage and liability issues arising out of intellectual property claims, construction defect and environmental matters.

Nelson Levine has five offices in the U.S. and one in London.


Nelson Mullins Expands Atlanta Office With Six New Attorneys

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP hired six new attorneys, partner Patricia Britton, as well as one of counsel, and four associates, to its Atlanta office.

Britton, who was most recently general counsel and corporate secretary for Porsche Cars North America, Inc., focuses on business litigation, with an emphasis on automobile franchise litigation and counseling. She has worked in the automobile industry for almost 30 years. Before to Porsche, she spent 11 years as managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Nelson Mullins opened its Atlanta office in 1992. The new attorneys come from various in-house and law firm positions. They are joining the litigation, health care, and corporate teams and bring the office’s total to 93 attorneys.

Nelson Mullins has more than 430 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Nashville, Tallahassee, West Virginia, Washington and throughout the Carolinas.

Littler Mendelson Hires Philadelphia Litigator Harris

Employment and labor law firm Littler Mendelson PC has added Richard R. Harris as a shareholder to its Philadelphia office.

Harris, who joins Littler from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC, represents management in a variety of employment litigation matters, including wrongful termination and promotion cases, discrimination claims, racial and sexual harassment claims and trade secret litigation.

Littler has more than 900 attorneys at 56 offices.

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