(Corrects lawyer’s title in headline of O’Melveny item in Moves section of column published yesterday. To be sent this column daily, click SALT LAWBIZ <GO>.)
May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP hired insurance recovery litigators Jerold Oshinsky and Linda Kornfeld from Jenner & Block LLP as partners to open the firm’s Los Angeles office.
Oshinsky was Jenner’s co-chairman of the insurance litigation and counseling practice. Kornfeld will head Kasowitz’s Los Angeles office. The two new partners join the insurance recovery group.
“Jerry continues to pioneer many of the legal theories that underlie insurance recovery law today, and Linda has repeatedly proven her ability to obtain winning results for her clients in high-stakes cases,” Robin Cohen, who leads Kasowitz’s insurance recovery group, said in a statement. “With their arrival, we will continue to expand nationally, while exploring new, creative strategies to meet our clients’ needs in the rapidly evolving insurance area.”
Oshinsky and Kornfeld have recently focused on issues relating to cyber liability, intellectual property, antitrust and sexual abuse claims, as well as natural disaster cases related to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and storms such as Superstorm Sandy, the firm said.
Kasowitz, Benson has more than 375 lawyers, primarily focusing on complex commercial litigation. The firm has eight U.S. offices.
Eversheds Starts Beijing Office with Two New Partner Hires
Eversheds LLP started a Beijing office yesterday with corporate energy lawyer Ingrid Zhu-Clark and corporate lawyer Jay Ze. Zhu-Clark joins Eversheds from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, where she was co-managing partner of the Beijing office. She will head the Beijing office for Eversheds. Ze was previously at Uria Menendez.
Zhu-Clark’s practice is focused on the international oil and gas sector, in particular representing Chinese clients in outbound investment matters across multiple jurisdictions including Russia, Central Asia and Africa, the firm said in a statement.
Ze handles cross-border M&A working with state-owned enterprises, global companies and investments banks, the firm said.
“In the past five years, since the launch of our first office in the region, Asia has been a significant and growing market for Eversheds,” Stephen Kitts, Eversheds’ Asia managing partner said in a statement. “We are confident that the recruitment of high caliber M&A experts like Ingrid and Jay will build on our success.”
Eversheds has more than 4,500 employees at 44 international offices in 26 jurisdictions.
King & Wood Mallesons’ Australia Head Steps Down After 13 Years
Tony O’Malley, King & Wood Mallesons’ managing partner of the law firm’s Australian offices, agreed to resign immediately and will retire as a partner at the end of 2013.
King & Wood Mallesons’ board has formed a subcommittee to replace O’Malley with a new managing partner for Australia expected to be named in two or three weeks, Stuart Fuller, the firm’s global managing partner, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. O’Malley had been with the firm for 13 years, it said.
King & Wood and Mallesons Stephen Jaques combined last year to form Asia’s biggest law firm, which now has about 2,200 legal professionals.
Fuller gave no reason for O’Malley’s resignation in the statement.
O’Malley’s departure was reported earlier by the Australian Financial Review.
Latham Advises Actavis on Warner Chilcott Purchase
Latham & Watkins LLP advised Actavis Inc., the largest U.S. maker of generic drugs by market value, which agreed to acquire Warner Chilcott Plc for about $5 billion excluding net debt in a deal to expand in women’s health and urology. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advises Warner Chilcott.
Latham’s team was led by Orange County partners Scott Shean and Charles Ruck. Advice was also provided by New York partner Stephen Amdur on M&A; Brussels/Washington partner Michael Egge, on antitrust; Washington partner Nicholas DeNovio and Los Angeles partner Laurence Stein on tax; Los Angeles partner James Barrall on employee benefits; Los Angeles partner David Schindler on compliance; and New York partners Wesley Holmes and Daniel Seale on finance matters.
The Davis Polk corporate team includes partners Michael Davis and H. Oliver Smith. Partners Edmond T. FitzGerald, executive compensation advice; Michael Mollerus, tax; Michael Kaplan, capital markets; Joel M. Cohen, antitrust and competition advice. Arthur Cox & Co. is advising Warner Chilcott as to matters of Irish law.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Greenhill & Company, financial advisers to Actavis. The Fried Frank team included corporate partners Philip Richter, Abigail Bomba and Richard May and tax partner Alan Kaden.
Warner Chilcott investors will receive 0.16 shares of new Actavis stock for each Warner Chilcott share they own, Parsippany, New Jersey-based Actavis said in a statement yesterday. The agreement currently values each Warner Chilcott share at $20.08, a 4.5 percent premium over the stock’s closing price on May 17. Including Warner Chilcott’s more than $3 billion in net debt, the total value of the acquisition is about $8.5 billion.
The combined company will have $11 billion in annual revenue as Actavis also adds gastroenterology and dermatology businesses, according to yesterday’s statement. The purchase also may provide Actavis with a $4-a-share tax benefit because Warner Chilcott is incorporated in Ireland, Leerink Swann LLC said. Actavis rejected an offer from Mylan Inc. for $15 billion, deciding instead to pursue talks to take over Warner Chilcott, said people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported on May 14.
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Simpson Thacher Advises Yahoo on $1.1 Billion Tumblr Purchase
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is representing Yahoo! Inc. in buying blogging network Tumblr Inc. for about $1.1 billion as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer seeks to lure users and advertisers with her priciest acquisition to date. Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP advised Tumblr.
Simpson Thacher corporate partner Gary Horowitz is leading the team for Yahoo. Additional partners include Kirsten Jensen, mergers and acquisitions, Katharine Moir, tax, and Tristan Brown, executive compensation and employee benefits. Additional lawyers who worked on the deal are Sean Crnkovitch, Andrew Nightingale, Cara Walsh and Linda Barrett.
Latham & Watkins LLP partners Hanno Kaiser in San Francisco, Amanda Reeves in Washington, and Susanne Zuehlke in Brussels are advising Yahoo on regulatory matters related to the deal.
Gunderson partners on the deal included Ward Breeze, Steven Baglio and Daniel Goldberg in New York.
Tumblr, based in New York, will continue to host its more than 108 million blogs, while CEO and founder David Karp, 26, will remain in charge of the website, “per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up,” Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo said yesterday in a statement.
Mayer, CEO of the biggest U.S. Web portal since July, is betting that Tumblr will help transform Yahoo into a hip destination in the era of social networking as she challenges Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. in the $17.7 billion display ad market. The price she’s paying -- about a fifth of Yahoo’s $5.4 billion in cash -- underscores the deal’s importance to Mayer’s turnaround effort, according to Zachary Reiss-Davis, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
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Cooley Advises Websense on $906 Million Private-Equity Buyout
Cooley LLP was legal adviser to Websense Inc., a website-filtering company that is shifting into Internet security and will be acquired by private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners for about $906 million. Kirkland & Ellis LLP was Vista’s legal adviser.
Cooley partners included Barbara Borden, Al Browne, Thomas Welk, Francis Fryscak and Michael Tollini.
The Kirkland team includes corporate partners David Breach, Daniel Wolf, Stuart Casillas and Joshua Zachariah, and debt finance partner Francesco Penati.
Websense’s in-house lawyers on the deal include its general counsel Christian Waage and Kirk Tyree, a former Cooley associate.
Websense investors will receive $24.75 a share in cash, a premium of about 29 percent over the stock’s closing price on its last trading day, according to a statement yesterday. The deal will turn the San Diego company into a closely held business. JPMorgan Chase & Co., RBC Capital Markets and Guggenheim Partners are providing debt financing for the transaction.
The company is trying to transition from its roots blocking inappropriate websites in the workplace -- described by Chief Executive Officer John McCormack as the “porn-filtering market” -- into a provider of broader online-security services. Vista, an Austin, Texas-based firm that specializes in technology investments, will help bring “operational discipline” to the company, McCormack said in the statement.
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O’Melveny Hires Another Cadwalader Bankruptcy Lawyer
O’Melveny & Myers LLP announced that Zachary H. Smith has joined the firm’s restructuring practice as a partner in New York. Smith joins from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP, in the wake of the recent departures of John J. Rapisardi and George A. Davis, former co-chairmen of Cadwalader’s global financial restructuring department, and former Cadwalader partner Peter M. Friedman, all of whom joined O’Melveny.
Smith represents debtors, creditors, lenders and strategic investors in in-court and out-of-court restructurings. He has been the lead lawyer representing Vertis Inc., advising the company through its chapter 11 proceeding, the firm said. He also was a member of the team that was outside counsel to the U.S. Treasury Department and Presidential Task Force on General Motors’ restructuring.
O’Melveny has about 800 lawyers in 16 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Supreme Court Bar Lacks Diversity, Associated Press Says
While the Supreme Court has three female justices, a Hispanic and an African-American, the lawyers appearing before it are almost all white males.
According to the Associated Press, during the roughly 75 hours of oral arguments this term, an African-American lawyer spoke one time, for just 11 minutes. Four Hispanic lawyers spoke for less than 2 hours, while female lawyers accounted for just 17 percent of the arguments.
Women who do appear tend to have lower paying jobs as public interest lawyers, government lawyers, or public defenders. Ten men from law firms have argued two or more cases this term. Arnold & Porter LLP’s Lisa Blatt is the only woman to do the same.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General is a leading pipeline to the big law firms that handle High Court cases. While men hold the top supervisory positions there, six women from the office argued before the Court this term.
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Are Political Intelligence Practice Groups Too Risky?
Robert Walker, attorney at Wiley Rein LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the legal and ethical implications of law firms selling political intelligence. Last month, the SEC issued subpoenas to Greenberg Traurig LLP as part of their investigation into the law firm’s political intelligence practice. Although the firm has denied wrongdoing, Greenberg Traurig has recently stated that it will no longer work in the political intelligence space.
This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.
U.S. Attorney Leaked Memo to Undermine Fast and Furious Concerns
A federal prosecutor involved in the botched gun operation known as Fast and Furious gave an internal memo to the news media, possibly to undermine a federal agent’s criticisms, the Justice Department’s inspector general said.
Dennis Burke, then the U.S. attorney for Arizona, in 2011 provided a memo written by John Dodson, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, to a Fox News reporter. Burke wasn’t authorized to release the memo and may have intentionally given it to the press to damage Dodson, according to a 23-page report from Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general.
“We believe this misconduct to be particularly egregious because of Burke’s apparent effort to undermine the credibility of Dodson’s significant public disclosures about the failures in Operation Fast and Furious,” said the report, which was released yesterday.
Dodson was one of the first law enforcement officials to publicly criticize operations where agents allowed guns to “walk” -- be purchased by straw buyers and cross into Mexico. The operations were intended to lead law enforcement to individuals in Mexican drug cartels, which utilize straw purchasers to get guns for their organizations.
One of the operations, known as Fast and Furious, became a focal point for congressional investigators as they sought to identify the origins and driving forces behind the program.
The inspector general’s office referred its findings to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility for a determination of whether the conduct “violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member,” according to the report.
Burke, through his lawyers, acknowledged in 2011 that he provided the memo in which Dodson proposed to work undercover as a straw purchaser of firearms. Burke gave it to the Fox News reporter to “give context to information that the reporter already had,” according to a letter sent to the Justice Department’s inspector general by Lee Stein, one of Burke’s lawyers, in November of that year.
Burke resigned as U.S. attorney in August 2011. Chuck Rosenberg, another lawyer for Burke, declined to comment on the inspector general’s report.
Horowitz released a 471-page report last year outlining management failures at the ATF and the Justice Department as part of the operation that lost track of about 2,000 guns purchased by straw buyers. Two of those guns were found at the scene of the 2010 killing in Arizona of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
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