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Lawyer Fees, Linklaters, Simpson Thacher: Business of Law

Legal fees rose 10 percent from 2010 to 2012 and increased 4.8 percent last year, according to a survey by TyMetrix and CEB, which looked at billing information from more than 4,800 law firms and 99,000 lawyers.

Finance and securities rates increased the most last year at 5.8 percent while general corporate, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions had increases of 4 percent and 5 percent on average, according to the survey.

The largest law firms and those in the most-expensive U.S. cities had the greatest increases. Large law firms raised their rates by 5.6 percent, on average two times the rate of firms with fewer than 100 lawyers, according to the survey.

In New York City, Washington, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Houston, increases were between 5 percent and 6 percent last year.

In New York, 2,709 partners had a mean billing rate of $755.68 an hour in 2012, up from $737.17 in 2011. Associates in the same period had a mean rate of $491.92, compared with $465.85 in the prior year.

Partners at firms with more than 1,000 lawyers increased their 2012 mean rate to $727.02 from $715.68 in 2011.

The survey, based on more than $9.5 billion in law firm billings, was by TyMetrix, which provides legal management software services and CEB, a member-based advisory company.

“The report fills a growing information gap,” Craig Raeburn Jr., managing director of TyMetrix Legal Analytics, said in an e-mail. It allows corporations and law firms “to make fact-based decisions about staffing, budgeting and controlling the costs of legal matters,” he said.

Law Firms News

Linklaters Appoints New York-Based Global Head of Tax

Gordon Warnke is replacing Henk Vanhulle as Linklaters LLP’s global practice head of tax. Vanhulle was appointed managing partner of the firm’s Belgian offices.

Based in New York, Warnke’s primary areas of practice include the federal income taxation of domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, spinoffs and other divestitures, as well as the taxation of financial products, co-investment vehicles and investments by non-U.S. governmental entities, the firm said in a statement.

“Together with our expanded Washington, D.C., tax team and the other members of our global tax team, we will continue to broaden our capability and leverage the strength of our network on cross-border advisory and transactional matters,” Gordon Warnke said in the statement.

Linklaters has lawyers at 28 offices worldwide.


KKR Agrees to Acquire PRA International From Genstar Capital

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is representing KKR & Co., the private-equity firm run by billionaires Henry Kravis and George Roberts, in its agreement to buy U.S. clinical-research company PRA International from Genstar Capital LLC. Latham & Watkins LLP advised PRA and Genstar in the transaction.

Simpson Thacher’s corporate partner Sean Rodgers is leading the team. Additional partners include Sean Rodgers, mergers and acquisitions; James Cross, credit; Joe Tringali, antitrust; Andrea Wahlquist, executive compensation and employee benefits; Lori Lesser, IP; and Steve Todrys, tax.

Latham’s corporate team was led by partner Scott Haber in San Francisco and partner Luke Bergstrom in Silicon Valley. Advice was provided on tax matters by partner Kirt Switzer and on employee benefit and compensation matters by counsel Scott Thompson in San Francisco.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, North Carolina-based PRA said in an e-mailed statement. The purchase price was $1.3 billion, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms haven’t been disclosed publicly.

Genstar, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, bought PRA, which helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies develop prescription drugs, for $790 million in December 2007. New York-based KKR has invested more than $9 billion in health care globally since 1995, including its acquisition with Bain Capital LLC and Merrill Lynch & Co. of HCA Inc. in 2006 for $32 billion.

For more, click here.

Government Lawyers

President Obama Plans Announced FTC Commissioner Nominee

Senior Justice Department counsel Terrell McSweeny will be nominated by President Barack Obama to become commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, she will fill the spot left by former FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who joined Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP last week.

McSweeny currently is chief counsel for competition policy and intergovernmental relations in the Justice Department Antitrust Division.

McSweeny has worked for Vice President Joe Biden as his issues director during the general election campaign and as his deputy chief of staff and policy director in the U.S. Senate.

She was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.


Funds Lawyer Kai Schneider Joins Clifford Chance in Singapore

Clifford Chance LLP announced that Latham & Watkins LLP’s funds practice head for the Middle East and Africa, Kai Schneider, is joining its global funds practice. He will be based in Singapore and will head the office’s funds and investment management practice.

Schneider has more than 10 years of specialist work in the funds sector, with experience on the formation of and investment in private investment funds.

“We are thrilled Kai is joining us. He brings a wealth of international experience in funds work and formidable leadership skills which will strengthen our market leading team and serve the evolving needs of our clients extremely well,” global head of funds and investment management, Mark Shipman said.

Schneider has experience advising clients on complex cross border acquisitions and strategic alliances. He advises sponsors on accessing the U.S. market as well as on regional licensing and securities laws.

Clifford Chance has more than 150 lawyers in the global funds and investment management group in London, the U.S., Asia-Pacific and continental Europe. The firm has 35 offices in 25 countries with about 3,400 legal advisers.

Former CFTC Deputy General Counsel Joins Norton Rose Fulbright

Terry Arbit, former deputy general counsel with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, joined Norton Rose Fulbright LLP’s U.S. member firm in the Washington office.

Arbit focuses his practice on commodities, futures and derivatives issues, including regulatory, compliance and litigation matters.

At the CFTC, he worked on the derivatives reform legislation enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementation by the CFTC, the firm said in a statement.

“Terry’s 17 years of experience at the CFTC and his knowledge of financial reform will be a tremendous asset to our clients,” Thomas Hughes, head of business law for Norton Rose said in a statement.

Norton Rose Fulbright has almost 3,800 lawyers in more than 50 cities in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.

Five Commercial Litigators Join Ballard Spahr’s Denver Office

Ballard Spahr LLP added a team of five commercial litigators in Denver, including two partners, one of counsel, and two senior associates. The group was previously at Featherstone Petrie DeSisto LLP in Denver.

The team is led by partner Andrew J. “Drew” Petrie, who has more than 30 years of experience in complex commercial litigation, particularly in creditor’s rights cases, including banking, real estate, structured finance, leasing, and UCC transactions and the representation of creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.

Sarah B. Wallace also joins as a partner. She focuses her practice on commercial litigation and appeals, including trade secret, breach of contract, insurance coverage, and employment litigation.

Ballard Spahr’s litigation department is the largest in the firm with more than 200 lawyers. With the new hires, the firm has about 60 litigators in its western offices.

Ballard Spahr has more than 500 lawyers in 13 offices in the U.S.

Justice Department Official Joins McDermott in Silicon Valley

McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced that A. Marisa Chun has joined the firm as a partner in the trial practice group in Silicon Valley. She was previously at the U.S. Justice Department, where she was deputy associate attorney general in Washington.

In her previous role, she advised the associate attorney general on civil and criminal matters, including overseeing matters involving intellectual property, health-care fraud, antitrust, telecommunications and financial fraud issues, the firm said in a statement.

Chun concurrently served as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2011 to 2013 and for the District of Maryland in 2012.

McDermott has more than 1,100 lawyers at offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

K&L Gates Boosts Corporate Practice in Charlotte Office

The Charlotte, North Carolina, office of K&L Gates LLP hired Kevin A. Christmas as a partner in its corporate/mergers and acquisitions practice. He was previously with Reed Smith LLP. 

Christmas advises clients on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, capital raising activities, and restructuring transactions, the firm said.

K&L Gates has lawyers in 48 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.


Microsoft Makes Minority-Owned Firm Its Premier Provider

Emery Harlan, chairman of Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Spencer Mazyck about his firm being named a premier provider for legal and corporate affairs by Microsoft Corp. The minority-owned firm is the smallest provider among a handful of law firms selected by the software giant for its current group of outside counsel.

Harlan, in this “Rainmakers” episode, describes his firm’s selection into the elite group as a “Jackie Robinson moment” for the legal profession.

This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.

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