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Reed Smith, Freshfields, Edwards Wildman: Business of Law

Reed Smith LLP and Athens-based law firm Papapolitis & Papapolitis, which have worked together for the last two years, announced they have made their relationship official with a strategic alliance.

The firms expect to work together on the large projects and transactions anticipated in Greece as a result of the economic situation and ongoing structural reforms, Reed Smith said in a statement.

Reed Smith has an office in Piraeus, Greece, that focuses on shipping, life sciences, commercial disputes and corporate matters. P&P, which lists 15 lawyers on its website, is known for advising on banking, finance, capital markets, corporate and mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution and real estate, Reed Smith said.

“With this new alliance, we have an even stronger platform in the Greek legal market and an ability to deal with even larger and more complex projects serving our clients’ growing needs,” said John Reece, Reed Smith’s office managing partner in Greece. “Our newly formalized strategic alliance will ensure both firms are in an exceptional position to provide clients with seamless expertise both locally in Greece and internationally across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.”

John Papapolitis, managing partner of Papapolitis & Papapolitis, said in a statement, “We have worked closely with Reed Smith on a number of global finance and corporate matters, as our clients increasingly look for legal advice regarding their outbound investments. We are very pleased to now formalize this relationship and look forward to further enhancing our unique offering within the Greek market to both firms’ clients through this alliance.”

Reed Smith has almost 1,700 lawyers in 23 offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.


U.K. Law Firm Partners Decline in Number, Financial Times Says

The U.K.’s economic troubles have brought a reduction in the number of law firm partners for the first time since the recession of 2008-09, the Financial Times reports, citing a survey by Wilkins Kennedy, an accounting and advisory firm.

The number of partners fell by 153 to 33,662, in the year to June 30. Younger lawyers find it harder to gain promotion by bringing in new business, and older lawyers are putting off retirement, the newspaper said.

If firms reduced the head count by 5 percent, in addition to the 15 percent by which firms have already slimmed, they might reach the same profitability they had before the recession, according to the article.

For more, click here.


Freshfields Adds to U.S. Litigation Team With Ex-S&C partner

Michael Lacovara, who represented Microsoft in its antitrust case with the U.S., has joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP as a partner in the U.S. litigation practice. He returns to private practice after working in the financial services field, most recently as chief executive officer and president of securities trading and investment banking firm Courview Capital, a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus.

Lacovara was a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where he helped establish the firm’s Silicon Valley litigation practice. He left to become a partner, general counsel, and co-chief operating officer of investment bank Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP in 2004. He also worked as chief executive officer of Rodman and Renshaw.

“Michael is a highly respected trial lawyer and litigator, with a stellar reputation for steering clients through complex and highly publicized cases,” Julian Pritchard, Freshfields’ U.S. managing partner, said in a statement. “His experience representing major clients in antitrust, tax, and commercial litigation is a strong complement to the talent and capabilities of our thriving U.S. practice, and will provide our clients with yet another asset to help them navigate the current challenges in their respective markets.”

Lacovara has litigation experience with complex commercial, antitrust, tax and tort matters. His clients have included financial services and technology firms such as Philips Electronics Corp., Elf Aquitaine and UBS AG.

Freshfields’ U.S. litigation practice now has 13 partners, among 77 lawyers. Freshfields Bruckhaus has more than 2,500 lawyers in 28 offices around the world.

Morgan Stanley’s Tuvi Keinan Joins Brown Rudnick in London

Brown Rudnick LLP hired Tuvi Keinan as a partner in the real estate and restructuring practices in the firm’s London office. He was previously at Morgan Stanley where he was the Head of European Real Estate Restructuring, and prior to that the Chief Financial Officer responsible for cross jurisdiction related financing, restructurings and hedging, as well as acting as the U.K. Chief Investment Officer, the firm said.

Keinan’s practice includes cross border restructuring and finance matters. His clients include private and public companies as well as developers, high net worth individuals, private equity and hedge funds, the firm said. His focus in the last few years has been on origination of off market opportunities associated with financial distress both equity and debt.

“Tuvi is a highly regarded practitioner with a wide range of experience in complex and sophisticated finance and restructuring matters,” said Brown Rudnick Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph F. Ryan. “With his global expertise extending to such places as the U.S., Europe, and emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia, Tuvi brings to the firm a unique skill-set in cross-border transactions.”

Brown Rudnick has 200 lawyers in seven offices in the U.S. and the U.K.

Former DOJ Official Joins Edwards Wildman in Boston

The law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP announced that Mark L. Josephs is a new partner in the firm’s white collar and government enforcement practice group in Boston. He was most recently at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was the assistant director of the Consumer Protection Branch.

Josephs will focus on complex health care and financial-fraud criminal and civil enforcement cases. As a litigator, he has experience in the health care industry, including the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Medicare, and other health care statutes and regulations, the firm said. He also has experience in litigation involving government contracts and the False Claims Act.

Edwards Wildman has 650 lawyers at 14 offices in the U.S., Tokyo and an associated office in Hong Kong.


Attorney Nadel Discusses SEC Scrutiny of Private Equity

Steven Nadel, a partner at the law firm of Seward & Kissel LLP in New York, talked about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s review of the private-equity industry.

The SEC is seeking to determine whether some private-equity firms are taking more profits from investments than they should under agreements with fund clients, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Nadel spoke with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves.”

For the video, click here.


Rajaratnam Case Cooperator Goel Gets Two Years of Probation

Rajiv Goel, the former Wharton classmate who testified against Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam, was sentenced to probation for his role in the biggest hedge fund insider-trading scandal in U.S. history.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones declined to impose a prison term on Goel, 54, yesterday in Manhattan federal court. Goel, who faced as long as 25 years in prison, was crucial to the prosecution of Rajaratnam, now serving an 11-year prison term following his conviction last year, government and defense lawyers said. Two other key witnesses against Rajaratnam received sentences of two years of probation.

“Goel substantially helped the government secure a conviction in one of the most significant and high-profile insider-trading cases in U.S. history,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reed Brodsky said in a memo this month to Jones.

Goel, a former Intel Corp. treasury group managing director who was arrested with Rajaratnam in October 2009, pleaded guilty in February 2010 to conspiracy and securities fraud. Goel testified over four days at Rajaratnam’s trial about their 25-year friendship, which began when they attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He said he conspired with Rajaratnam from 2007 to 2009 and passed him illegal tips about Intel.

“Goel testified against one of his closest friends who had provided him with substantial financial assistance over many years,” Brodsky wrote. “Although Goel did not express it or complain about it, he had to overcome the emotional aspect of providing assistance and trial testimony that helped demonstrate his close friend was guilty of multiple counts of securities fraud.”

Goel’s lawyer, David Zornow, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, urged Jones to impose a term of probation, saying his client’s reputation was ruined as a result of his involvement in the case and that he has been unable to find work since he lost his job at Intel after his 2009 arrest.

“Goel was not even close to Rajaratnam’s criminal league,” and was instead “corrupted and manipulated” by the fund manager into committing crimes in part because of “a weakness for getting drawn into long conversations,” Zornow said in his memo to the court.

The defense attorney also said Goel “had lived a life free of crime until he started providing Rajaratnam with inside information.”

The case is U.S. v. Goel, 1:10-cr-00090, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more, click here.


J&J Hid Risks Risperdal Causes Breasts in Boys, Jurors Told

Johnson & Johnson officials knew the antipsychotic drug Risperdal could cause boys to grow female breasts and hid those risks from doctors and patients, a lawyer for a Texas teen-ager suing the company told a jury.

J&J executives knew Risperdal could cause increased hormone levels that prompted female breast development in males and trained salespeople to downplay or hide that fact in marketing calls on doctors, Bob Hilliard, a lawyer for Andrew Bentley, told a state-court jury in Philadelphia in the first case over the claims to go to trial.

“A drug that was never meant for kids was illegally marketed to kids,” Hilliard said in opening statements yesterday. “Johnson & Johnson knew about this side effect, did not warn about it and actually covered up evidence about it.”

Bentley’s case is one of about 420 lawsuits against J&J and its Janssen unit that allege personal injuries caused by Risperdal, the company said in a regulatory filing last month. The teen was able to bring his case in Pennsylvania because J&J has operations in the state.

J&J’s lawyer countered yesterday that Bentley’s breast development was normal for a teen going through puberty and Risperdal played no role in it.

Bentley’s breast growth “was totally consistent with” the idea that the teen developed breasts as part of puberty, Laura Smith, one of the company’s attorneys, told the jury. She said that the company denied illegally marketing the drug.

The 17-year-old Houston resident claims he took Risperdal to treat problems related to Asperger’s Syndrome during times when federal regulators hadn’t approved the drug for use in children, according to court filings. His lawyers argue J&J illegally marketed the pills to rack up more than $1 billion in sales.

The case is A.B., a minor v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, 00649, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, January Term 2010.

For more, click here.

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