Feinberg, Skadden, Cooley, A&O, Kirkland: Business of Law

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, the defunct law firm, filed a list last night showing how much each of 444 former partners will pay in the proposed $71.5 million settlement. The hearing to approve the settlement began yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan and continues today.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn has more on his plate than deciding whether to approve the settlement that generated opposition from some former partners and the official committee representing ex-partners. Glenn will also rule on a request by some former partners to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee to take control of Dewey’s liquidation away from the firm.

The official partners’ committee wants Glenn to appoint an examiner before a settlement is approved. Glenn is also scheduled to rule on whether the firm’s exclusive right to propose a Chapter 11 plan should be extended.

The largest contribution toward the settlement, $3.5 million, would be made by Berge Setrakian. The second largest, $3.37 million, is from Ralph Ferrara. In third place is Jeffrey Kessler, at $1.99 million. The fourth spot is occupied by John Schwolsky $1.68 million, followed closely by Alexander Dye and Michael Gross, both at about $1.66 million.

Others offering to contribute more than $1 million are Richard Climan, Lejb Fogelman, Bruno Gattai, Lawrence Hill, and Morton Pierce. Partners contributing between $750,000 and $1 million are Camille Absousleiman, John Klauberg, Timothy Moran, Chris Sioufi, Stefano Speroni, Gordon Warnke, Gavin Watson, and James Woods.

The smallest contribution is $5,000.

If approved by the court, the partners may pay less. They all receive a 5 percent deduction if partners collectively contribute more than $70 million. They also stand to receive deductions for collecting client billings. For details on the settlements, click here for the Aug. 30 Bloomberg bankruptcy report.

Dewey has two official committees, one for unsecured creditors and the other for former partners. The firm once had 1,300 lawyers before liquidation began under Chapter 11 in May. There was secured debt of about $225 million and accounts receivable of $217.4 million at the outset of bankruptcy, the firm said. The petition listed assets of $193 million and liabilities of $245.4 million as of April 30.

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

Penn State to Bring in Law Firm Feinberg Rozen for Victims

Feinberg Rozen LLP, the law firm of Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw pay at seven bailout recipients for the U.S. Treasury and ran the Sept. 11 victim fund, was hired by Pennsylvania State University to settle personal-injury claims with victims of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, the Associated Press reported.

The firm declined to confirm the report when contacted by Bloomberg News.

In an interview Sept. 18 at Bloomberg LP’s headquarters in New York, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said that the university is working with outside lawyers and plans to announce a process that will result in the settlement of “ideally all” of the civil cases so that “victims will not have to be dragged through a long litigation process.” The money will come from insurance policies and funds set aside from interest on internal loans, Erickson said.

“We certainly haven’t forgotten about Mr. Sandusky’s victims,” Erickson said. “We want to make sure that we do the right thing in terms of providing a just outcome for them.”

The 157-year-old university has been under intense scrutiny since the November indictment of Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, for the sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky was convicted by a jury in June of 45 criminal counts. The scandal and coverup tarnished Penn State’s image, and a university-commissioned investigation concluded that fear of bad publicity and a “culture of reverence” for the football program steered the school’s handling of the allegations.

The $6.5 million university-commissioned probe by Louis Freeh, a former federal judge and director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found that school officials ignored numerous red flags involving Sandusky for more than a decade.

For more, click here.


BASF Buys Becker for $1 Billion to Boost Crop Protection

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Cooley LLP advised on BASF SE’s agreement to buy Becker Underwood Inc. for $1.02 billion.

The deal marks Kurt Bock’s first major acquisition as chief executive officer with a move into biological seed treatments. Skadden advised Becker, while Cooley represented BASF.

Cooley’s partners on the deal included Mike McGrail, Miguel Vega, Jon Rivinus, David Walsh, Erich Veitenheimer, Adam Ruttenberg, Francis Fryscak and Kevin King.

The Skadden team was led by New York mergers and acquisitions partners Ken Wolff and Eileen Nugent.

BASF will create a business unit called Functional Crop Care to encompass the Ames, Iowa-based business, which is forecast to generate $240 million in sales in the year through September, the German chemical maker said yesterday in a statement. Norwest Equity Partners is exiting the asset after eight years.

Becker will feed BASF’s plans to grow in biological crop care as well as animal nutrition as the Ludwigshafen-based company moves away from commoditized products such as plastics. Demand for seed treatment is “rapidly growing” as farmers look to science to improve yields and fight pests, BASF said.

“This will strengthen BASF’s own seed treatment activities and create a global leader,” Laurent Favre, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a note. The “valuation is punchy, but in line with previous deals.”

For more, click here.

Simpson Thacher Advises on Japan Airlines’ $8.4 Billion IPO

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advised the international managers for Japan Airlines Co.’s 663 billion-yen ($8.4 billion) initial public offering.

The Simpson Thacher team for the transaction included Tokyo corporate partners Alan Cannon and David Sneider. In New York, partner Robert Holo assisted on tax matters. Daiwa Capital Markets Europe, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were lead managers for the international offering, the firm said in a statement.

The airline was priced at five times forecast earnings in the IPO, less than half the level that larger rival All Nippon Airways Co. trades at.

It plans to expand international capacity by 25 percent over five years as it introduces 45 new Boeing Co. 787 aircraft. The planes may be used to open new routes in Southeast Asia, President Yoshiharu Ueki said in an interview before the re-listing.

“We’ve totally restructured and we’ve changed our mentality” Ueki said. “That will allow us to keep on making profits.”

The airline is predicting a profit of 130 billion yen this fiscal year, compared with 40 billion yen at ANA. It has benefited from tax credits against past writedowns, which have prompted complaints from opposition lawmakers.

For more, click here.


New Lawyers in New York Required to Provide 50 Hours of Pro Bono

Aspiring lawyers in New York will be required to provide 50 hours of pro bono work a year, according to a new requirement handed down by New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

The rule affects every applicant to the New York bar as of January 2015, which means it includes current first- and second-year students.

This requirement is the first of its kind in the country, said the New York Law Journal, which cited Lippman as saying he hoped the rule will spread to other states.

For the New York Law Journal article, click here.


Allen & Overy Strengthens U.S. Energy and Infrastructure Team

Allen & Overy LLP hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP partners Kent Rowey and Dolly Mirchandani, who will join the global energy and infrastructure practice in New York.

Rowey was the head of energy and infrastructure for the Americas at Freshfields, Allen & Overy said. Both lawyers represent infrastructure investors, developers, operators and financiers.

With their addition, Allen & Overy’s U.S. based energy and infrastructure team has more than 30 lawyers, including nine partners.

“This high profile addition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to both our clients and the U.S. market,” Gareth Price, global co-head for energy, said in a statement.

Allen & Overy has about 2,800 attorneys in 42 offices worldwide.

Katten Hires Former Federal Prosecutor Rosensaft in New York

Michael M. Rosensaft, a former federal prosecutor joined Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s litigation practice as a partner.

Rosensaft represents businesses and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, corporate internal investigations, and complex civil litigation with an emphasis on insurance and health-care fraud litigation.

Rosensaft was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, where he investigated and prosecuted criminal cases involving terrorism, international money laundering, export violations, bribery of foreign officials, narcotics trafficking, RICO/organized crime, murder, bank and wire fraud and computer crimes, the firm said.

Katten has more than 600 attorneys in locations across the U.S. and in London and Shanghai.

Patent Litigator Joins Gibson Dunn’s Dallas Office

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP hired litigator Tracey Davies who joined the firm’s Dallas office as a partner. She was previously at Vinson & Elkins LLP, the firm said.

Davies focuses her practice on patent litigation and strategic IP counseling, including strategic patent portfolio development and management, licensing and strategic partnerships, branded versus generic pharmaceutical matters, and other transactions that maximize IP value.

Gibson Dunn has more than 1,000 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America.

McKenna Long Hires Real Estate Attorney from Alston & Bird

Christina Braisted Rogers joined McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP’s Atlanta office as a partner in its real estate practice. She was previously with Alston & Bird LLP.

Rogers’s practice focuses on the representation of institutional real estate investors, including pension fund advisers, real estate investment trusts and construction lenders and borrowers. She also has experience in acquisition, disposition, joint venture, financing and leasing transactions.

McKenna Long has more than 575 attorneys and public policy advisers in 13 offices in the U.S. and Brussels.

Aletheia General Counsel Rejoins O’Melveny in Los Angeles

O’Melveny & Myers LLP said that Jorge deNeve is rejoining the firm from Aletheia Research & Management Inc., where he was senior vice president and general counsel.

DeNeve will be in O’Melveny’s Los Angeles office as counsel and will be a member of the white-collar defense and corporate investigations practice.

DeNeve has experience in SEC compliance and enforcement, having previously served as a staff attorney in the enforcement division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Los Angeles regional office.

At Aletheia, an investment adviser, deNeve was responsible for advising the firm’s management on its legal matters and supervising outside litigation counsel on pending legal proceedings.

O’Melveny has about 800 lawyers in 15 offices worldwide.

SEC Enforcement Lawyer Rejoins Shearman & Sterling in Washington

Shearman & Sterling LLP said Mark Lanpher will rejoin the firm as counsel in the securities and white-collar enforcement practices in Washington on Sept. 24.

Lanpher worked as assistant chief litigation counsel in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in Washington, where he played a leadership role in major SEC enforcement cases and settlements, the firm said.

Before joining the SEC, Lanpher was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in New York. He began his career at Shearman & Sterling as a capital markets associate in Toronto before going into government work.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has about 900 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide.


UBS Ignored Limits on Profitable Trades, Adoboli Lawyer Says

Kweku Adoboli’s lawyers said UBS AG had a culture that overlooked trading limits and other rules as long as employees made money.

Adoboli lawyer Charles Sherrard said the bank became “more aggressive in terms of its desire to make profits” in 2011, while cross-examining one of Adoboli’s former bosses at a fraud trial in London yesterday.

“The culture, practice at the bank you were working for, didn’t matter as long as you were making money,” Sherrard said to Ron Greenidge, who oversaw UBS’s exchange-traded-funds desk until April of last year.

Adoboli, 32, is on trial charged with fraud and false accounting over unauthorized trades that lost $2.3 billion. Adoboli admitted he risked $5 billion on Standard & Poor’s 500 futures and a further $3.75 billion in the German futures market, Greenidge said in testimony yesterday.

Risk limits for the bank’s ETF desk were agreed on orally and could be exceeded, Greenidge said. The only written risk limits were “at a very high level,” Greenidge testified.

Greenidge, who worked at UBS for 19 years, said yesterday he was dismissed for gross misconduct because of Adoboli’s trades. He said he felt the bank was making him a scapegoat.

Adoboli has denied the charges against him and the former trader’s lawyers have said he is looking forward to providing the jury with his own account of what happened.

Sherrard read out Adoboli’s performance reviews from 2009 written by Greenidge, which said the trader needed a better balance between work and other activities. Greenidge said Adoboli was a “great ambassador for the ETF product” and had outstanding performance that year.

Adoboli was arrested on Sept. 15, 2011, after confessing in an e-mail to accruing losses during “the aggressive sell-off” in July and early August resulting from the “escalation of the euro-zone crisis,” prosecutors have said.

Greenidge said that from 2008 until April 2011, he never received a flag in his daily risk report for the ETF desk for any of Adoboli’s trades.

For more, click here.

Facebook Asks Panel to Consolidate IPO Suits in New York

A lawyer for Facebook Inc. asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate lawsuits by investors over the company’s initial public offering.

“We’re glad to be in New York and we’d like to stay here,” Andrew Clubok, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, told a seven-judge panel meeting yesterday in Manhattan.

The judges, on the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, heard arguments on Facebook’s request to move more than 40 suits by investors who claim they lost money on Facebook’s IPO to a single judge in New York. They didn’t say when they will rule on the request.

In addition to Facebook, investors sued Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the exchange on which Facebook’s shares are traded; Morgan Stanley & Co., the lead underwriter; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Some investors blame trading errors by Nasdaq for their losses. Others claim Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, failed to disclose revised revenue projections in the days leading up to the first day of public trading on May 18.

The case is In re Facebook Inc. IPO Securities and Derivative Litigation, MDL 2389, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (Washington).

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