Jones Day, Paul Hastings, Akin Gump, S&C: Business of Law

Jones Day hired Locke McMurray from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., where he held the title of managing director, head of derivatives, legal. He will be a partner in the financial institutions litigation and regulation practice in the New York office.

McMurray will focus his practice on derivatives transactions. At Lehman Brothers, he directed legal strategy and provided advice on unwinding derivatives portfolios with more than six thousand counterparties, the firm said. He also negotiated settlements and assignments and worked on the development and implementation of legal strategies concerning the status of unterminated transactions, set-off and derivatives valuations.

“Locke is a significant addition to the practice and his arrival adds to the firm’s depth on legal and strategic issues concerning complex financial instruments, including identifying, managing and, where appropriate, litigating, risks concerning complex financial products on behalf of our financial-institution clients,” Jay Tambe, co-head of Jones Day’s financial institutions litigation and regulation practice practice said in a statement.

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

Sheppard Mullin Hires Two in Chicago, One in San Francisco

Bradley C. Graveline and Daniel G. Rosenberg joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as partners in the Chicago office. Graveline is part of the intellectual property practice group from Winston & Strawn LLP, and Rosenberg joins the business trial practice group from K&L Gates LLP, the firm said. IP litigation partner Laura Chapman also joined Sheppard Mullin this week, moving from Foley & Lardner LLP.

“Brad brings specific expertise handling significant pharmaceutical Hatch-Waxman and medical device matters, including first chair trial successes,” Nick Setty, co-chair of Sheppard Mullin’s Intellectual Property practice group. “He bolsters and adds depth to our growing ANDA practice and to our new Chicago office.”

“Dan’s general commercial litigation practice specialties encompass construction and insurance law. His significant construction industry expertise includes advising on construction risk, negotiation and drafting of contracts, and litigating disputes,” Fred Puglisi, co-chair of Sheppard Mullin’s Business Trial practice group said.

Chapman has experience handling, managing and litigating multi-party intellectual property, breach of contract, business fraud, unfair competition, trade secret, non-compete, employee, and customer solicitation cases. She advises clients on intellectual property disputes and clearance matters, the firm said.

The hires bring to 14 the number of attorney in Sheppard Mullin’s Chicago office, which opened in July. Sheppard Mullin’s IP practice group has grown to 85 attorneys firmwide and the firm’s business trial practice includes 200 attorneys. The firm has almost 600 attorneys in 16 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Paul Hastings Hires Antitrust Partner in Brussels

Paul Hastings LLP hired Andreas Stargard as an antitrust and competition partner in the Brussels office. Stargard, previously with Howrey LLP, will work with both the U.S. and European offices of the firm.

Stargard focuses on global competition law. He represents companies in cartel investigations, merger approvals, civil litigation, and monopoly cases.

Paul Hastings has lawyers in 19 offices in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

Gardere Hires Locke Lord Tax Attorney in Houston

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP added James Howard, formerly of Locke Lord LLP, as a partner in the firm’s Houston office. His practice will focus on international and business tax, securities, and finance.

As a member of Gardere’s Tax Practice Group, Howard will provide the full range of international and domestic tax services to clients in the oilfield service, private equity, and real estate industries, among others, the firm said. His primary focus will be evaluating tax consequences for companies and individuals, including those related to debt restructuring, repatriation, and the formation of companies, partnerships, and joint ventures, according to the firm.

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has more than 250 lawyers in four offices in Texas and Mexico City.


Akin Gump Advises EAccess in $2.3 Billion Sale to Softbank

Softbank Corp., Japan’s third-largest mobile phone company, will pay about 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion) for smaller rival eAccess Ltd., which was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Japanese firm Anderson, Mori & Tomotsune. Japanese firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto advised Softbank.

Gregory Puff, corporate partner and head of Akin Gump’s Hong Kong office and Asia practice, led the team advising eAccess, supported by corporate partner Zach Wittenberg. New York tax partners Stuart Leblang and Ron Grabov-Nardini also helped on the deal.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP represents Goldman Sachs Japan Co. Ltd. in its capacity as financial adviser to eAccess Ltd. The S&C corporate/mergers and acquisitions team includes partners Garth Bray, Keiji Hatano and Stephen Kotran.

EAccess, which counts Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as its biggest shareholder, surged by its daily exchange-imposed limit of 4,000 yen, or 21 percent, to 23,000 yen as of yesterday’s close in Tokyo, after gaining 26 percent Oct. 1. The deal valued EAccess shares at 52,000 yen each at the Oct. 1 closing prices.

Softbank has lured subscribers as the country’s first carrier to offer Apple’s iPhone and iPad, narrowing the gap in user numbers with NTT DoCoMo Inc., the largest mobile phone service, and KDDI Corp., the No. 2 provider. The iPhone 5 went on sale Sept. 21.

Goldman Sachs owns about 31 percent of eAccess, according to Sayaka Iida, a spokeswoman for eAccess.

EAccess will be converted into a wholly owned unit and will be delisted Feb. 25.

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Sarkozy’s Lawyer Questioned in Campaign-Finance Investigation

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s lawyer was questioned yesterday by investigators looking into allegations of campaign-finance violations.

Thierry Herzog said he was asked about confidential conversations he had with his client, whom he has advised on numerous legal matters. He refused to answer, saying it would violate his professional obligations.

He appeared “out of respect for justice and the police” and against the advice of the Paris bar association, Herzog said in a telephone interview. “They wanted to know what I spoke about with my client, who is Mr. Sarkozy. I’ve never seen a lawyer asked to reveal what his client told him -- it’s a scandal.”

Police searched Sarkozy’s office and home in July as part of the investigation into funding of his 2007 election campaign. The investigation resulted from what was originally a family dispute over L’Oreal SA heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s fortune. The campaign-finance aspect is rooted in allegations by former employees of France’s richest woman that envelopes of cash were passed on to aid in his campaign.

Sarkozy’s former chief of staff and two former officials in his justice ministry were also questioned as witnesses yesterday, as well as the prosecutor who led the initial Bettencourt inquiry, Agence France-Presse said citing an unnamed source close to the probe.

A spokeswoman for the Bordeaux prosecutor, who is conducting the investigation, declined to comment.

Herzog said his meeting lasted about two hours and that he was unable to comment on any other people questioned yesterday.

‘Rebecca’ Is Dead, Suspects Still Missing in $12 Million Fiasco

The lawyer representing a producer of “Rebecca” released the transcript of an e-mail that, he said, was responsible for the collapse of the $12 million musical.

The story of the alleged e-mail -- and of “Rebecca” itself -- provided the latest twist in one of Broadway’s most riveting backstage dramas in memory. Even the legendary flop “Moose Murders” at least made it to opening night before promptly closing.

Ronald Russo, a lawyer with Schlam Stone & Dolan and a former federal prosecutor, represents Ben Sprecher, the doomed show’s lead producer with Louise Forlenza.

Russo said that the e-mail had been turned over to authorities who are investigating, but the identity of the authorities has proven to be as elusive as “Paul Abrams,” whose purported death last summer, the producers said at the time, had led to a $4.5 million shortfall in the show’s budget.

Evidence of Abrams’s life or death has yet to be found.

“It is a near certainty that the man Paul Abrams was made up several months ago to defraud other investors as a placeholder,” according to a transcript of the e-mail released by Russo, “while Mr. Sprecher continued to try and raise money.”

Russo said the e-mail was sent to someone prepared to invest an eleventh-hour seven figures to save the show. The text doesn’t identify the sender or recipient.

“It compromises the investigation” to disclose who’s conducting it, Russo said, adding that Sprecher is “cooperating 100 percent.”

The alleged e-mail warns the unidentified investor against putting money in the show, warning that “there will be charges of fraud, lawsuits, etc.”

Russo said that the recipient of the e-mail, who pulled out of the show after receiving the electronic missive, was to have remained anonymous.

“The only way that he could have been learned was hacking my client’s computer,” Russo said. “There are dozens of untruths in the e-mail sent to sabotage, it turns out successfully, ‘Rebecca.’”

“Ben has been terribly victimized and I hope to establish that,” Russo said.

Reached Oct. 1 on his cell phone, Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization, said it was his understanding that “Ben turned the e-mail over to the Feds.”

Shubert, an investor in the show as well as its landlord, would not have any comment on the collapse of “Rebecca,” based on the 1938 Daphne Du Maurier novel about a young bride haunted by her predecessor. Nor would he specify how much Broadway’s biggest landlord had invested in the musical.

The show was to be directed by Francesca Zambello and Michael Blakemore, following extended runs in various European cities. A planned opening last spring was canceled when Sprecher and Forlenza, known legally as general partners, were still searching for money even after the marquee had gone up.

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Firm News

Lithuania Hires Swiss Law Firm for Snoras Case, BNS Reports

The Lithuanian Finance Ministry hired Swiss law firm Lalive and the Baltic law firm Sorainen Partners to defend the country against claims arising from the takeover of Bankas Snoras AB, the Baltic News Service reported.

The ministry and the law firms signed a three-year contract worth 10 million litai ($3.7 million) on Sept. 24, the newswire said. Vladimir Antonov, the former majority owner of Snoras who is fighting extradition from London and civil charges over the lender’s bankruptcy, filed a suit against Lithuania over the takeover on May 7, BNS reported.

Antonov says the charges against him are politically motivated and discriminatory, according to BNS.


Pennsylvania Judge Bars Enforcement of Voter-ID Law for 2012

A Pennsylvania judge barred the state from enforcing a Republican-backed requirement for voter photo-identification in the coming election, saying it’s logistically impossible to make IDs available to everyone who needs one.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson yesterday ruled that while election officials can request an ID on Election Day, voters without one can cast ballots that will be counted. The enjoined law would have allowed voters without required ID to cast provisional ballots to be counted only if they returned with photo documentation within six days.

David Gersch, an attorney with Arnold & Porter LLP who represented the American Civil Liberties Union in the case, said of the ruling, “In many respects, it’s a victory.”

Attorneys for the state are reviewing Simpson’s ruling, Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General, said. Frederiksen and Nick Winkler, a spokesman for the Department of State, declined to comment on a possible appeal to the state Supreme Court.

It remains to be seen whether the ACLU, the Advancement Project and other plaintiffs will appeal Simpson’s decision to uphold the state’s campaign publicizing the requirements of the new law, Gersch said.

Pennsylvania is the third state, following Texas and Wisconsin, where courts have rejected voter-ID laws passed by Republican-dominated legislatures since President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. Supporters of the laws say they’re needed to prevent voter fraud. Opponents contend the measures are aimed at suppressing the votes of lower-income people and the elderly who may be more inclined to vote for Democrats.

Enacted in March, the Pennsylvania law requires prospective voters to present a state-issued ID, or an acceptable alternative such as a military ID.

Jerry Goldfeder, an election law expert with New York-based Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, said in an e-mail “there will undoubtedly be confusion at the polls” because of the photo-ID issue.

The case is Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 330-md-2012, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg).

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