WilmerHale, Schiff Hardin, Gibson: Business of Law

Patton Boggs LLP Washington lawyer Jonathan R. Yarowsky is joining Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP as a partner and chairman of the firm’s legislative affairs and public policy practice, part of its strategic response and counseling group.

Yarowsky’s practice has been focused on legislative and public policy issues, specializing in advice on antitrust, telecommunications policy, intellectual property, and administrative practice and procedure matters, the firm said. He also handles congressional investigations.

“He has an unparalleled understanding of how Congress works and how to get things done in Washington,” Randolph D. Moss, chairman of WilmerHale’s regulatory and government affairs department, said in a statement.

Yarowsky has held federal government positions including special counsel to the president during Bill Clinton’s presidency, general counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and chief counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, the firm said.

Yarowsky said in an interview that he worked with many of WilmerHale’s lawyers in the Clinton White House and later on investigations. The decision to move came after a few years of discussions, he said.

“Wilmer does a lot of strategic work and crisis managing and very good regulatory work,” Yarowsky said. “I hope to add to that, enhance that, because of my background and connectivity to all branches of government.”

Yarowsky, who joined Patton Boggs’s public policy practice group in 1998, is the latest of a series of departures from the firm. The firm confirmed at the end of June that 17 partners were leaving.

Holland & Knight LLP took 12 partners and 12 additional lawyers to open a Dallas office. Five others left the Washington office in various practices and joined three firms. The firm separately announced in March that it was firing 22 associates.

WilmerHale has 1,000 lawyers at 14 offices in the U.S. and Europe.

Law Firms News

Schiff Hardin and New York’s Mazur Carp & Rubin Combine

Schiff Hardin LLP acquired 11-lawyer New York law firm Mazur Carp & Rubin, which specializes in construction law and trusts and estates matters.

“The strategic value of this combination for both firms is very clear,” Robert H. Riley, chairman of Schiff Hardin, said in a statement. “The Mazur Carp & Rubin lawyers add strength to two of our firm’s core competencies, and Schiff Hardin provides them with the resources and geographic reach to grow their practices in unprecedented ways.”

Of the Mazur Carp attorneys who joined Schiff Hardin July 1, eight are partners, two are associates and one is counsel. Seven of the lawyers practice in trusts and estates; four focus on construction law.

Schiff Hardin now has 17 dedicated construction law attorneys, including Sayward “Woody” Mazur, who co-founded Mazur Carp.

“The timing of this combination couldn’t be better,” Kenneth M. Roberts, leader of Schiff Hardin’s construction group who facilitated the combination, said in a statement. “New York City is the first city to return to major capital expansion projects since the financial crisis, with many new, major projects in higher education, health care, and transportation infrastructure under way and in the pipeline. These critical projects require smart and steady navigation of the law and regulations to get done on time and on budget.”

With the merger, Schiff Hardin’s private clients, trusts and estates group expands to nearly 30 lawyers, including Mazur Carp co-founder Gerald I. “Jerry” Carp, who has more than 45 years of experience in New York Surrogate’s Court, the firm said.

This is Schiff’s second combination this year. The firm joined with Washington-based 10-lawyer firm Bruder Gentile & Marcoux LLP in January.

Schiff Hardin has almost 400 attorneys at seven U.S. offices.


Kroger Agrees to Buy Grocer Harris Teeter for $2.5 Billion

Arnold & Porter LLP advised Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery-store chain, on its agreement to buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. for $2.5 billion in cash to bolster its presence in the southeastern part of the country. McGuireWoods LLP advised Harris Teeter.

The lead Arnold & Porter attorneys for Kroger are Steven Kaplan and Paul D. Freshour. In addition, the firm’s legal team included partners Michael B. Bernstein, antitrust; Cynthia Mann, tax; and Edward E. Bintz, compensation and benefits.

McGuireWoods partners Harrison Marshall, Chris Scheurer and Rick Viola served as the lead attorneys for Harris Teeter in the deal.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP partner Barry Nigro acted as regulatory counsel to Harris Teeter on the deal.

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP is representing JP Morgan, financial adviser to Harris Tweeter, in its $3 billion merger with Kroger. Michael Aiello, head of Weil’s corporate department, handled the deal.

The offer of $49.38 a share is 34 percent more than Harris Teeter’s closing price on Jan. 18, the day of the first media report that the chain was evaluating strategic alternatives, according to a statement yesterday.

The buyout gives Kroger a chain that had revenue of $4.54 billion last year and 212 stores in states including North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. Kroger, which will finance the transaction with debt, said the combination will bring annual savings of $40 million to $60 million in the next three to four years.

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Gibson Dunn Adds Former Hogan Lovells Energy Partner Brad Roach

In Singapore, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP hired Brad Roach, formerly Hogan Lovells LLP’s head of the oil and gas practice in Southeast Asia. Roach, a partner, will continue his energy, infrastructure and project finance practice at Gibson Dunn.

“Energy is a key area for the firm, and we have been steadily growing our global capacity,” Ken Doran, chairman and managing partner of Gibson Dunn, said in a statement. “Brad is extremely well known in Asia for the depth and range of his experience in the energy and infrastructure sector.”

Roach advises developers of energy and infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on upstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry, the firm said. He also advises companies on the acquisition and disposal of major energy assets, including power plants and petrochemical facilities.

His clients include PT Medco Energi Internasional Tbk., Murphy Oil Corporation, Talisman Energy, Mitra Energy, LNG Japan Corporation, Salamander Energy, and PT Saka Energi Indonesia.

Gibson Dunn has more than 1,100 lawyers at 18 offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Vinson & Elkins Adds Finance Lawyer from Debevoise in New York

David Wicklund joins Vinson & Elkins LLP’s finance practice group as a partner in New York. He was previously at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Wicklund has experience in acquisition finance and capital markets high yield offerings, representing private equity sponsors, their portfolio companies and other public and private issuers and borrowers -- both investment grade and non-investment grade -- in connection with domestic and cross-border bank financings and bond offerings, the firm said in a statement.

“With his reputation for delivering outstanding legal advice in acquisition finance and high yield, David adds immediate value to our broad client base,” V&E managing partner Scott Wulfe. “His skill set is a great fit with the firm’s strategic go said in a statement.

Vinson & Elkins has more than 700 lawyers at 16 offices in the U.S., London, the Middle East and Asia.

McDermott Adds Contentious Trust Lawyer in London

McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced that Ziva Robertson, formerly of Withers LLP, has joined the firm as a partner in the international private client practice group in London.

Robertson specializes in complex cross-jurisdictional trust issues advising trustees, beneficiaries, settlers and protectors on contentious and non-contentious cases, the firm said.

‘‘Being able to offer the contentious piece to our clients in addition to the trust advisory piece has been a priority for the growth of the team here in London since its formation in 2009,’’ Martyn Gowar, head of the London international private client team, said in a statement. ‘‘From the outset, our strategic vision was to be a full service team with critical mass in London building from the extraordinary depth and strength of our teams in the U.S.’’

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

Jones Day Adds Banking Litigator Matt Martel as Boston Partner

Matthew A. Martel, formerly a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, joined the Boston office of Jones Day as a partner in the financial institutions litigation and regulation practice.

Martel’s practice has focused on representing financial institutions in securities litigation, litigation arising from mergers and acquisitions, and government and self-regulatory organization investigations and enforcement actions, the firm said. He also has experience litigating before bankruptcy courts.

Jones Day has more than 2,400 lawyers at 40 offices worldwide.

Securities Litigator Mandel Joins Foley From Schulte Roth

Foley & Lardner LLP announced that Mark S. Mandel has joined the firm as partner in the litigation department and securities enforcement and litigation practice in New York. He was previously at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.

Mandel has more than 20 years of experience in complex securities litigation and enforcement matters. He has represented investment banks, corporations, investment advisers, and others in investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, state attorneys general, the firm said. He was previously chief of the New York office of the SEC’s division of broker-dealer enforcement.

‘‘Mark’s wealth of experience with major securities-related litigation and proven track record in obtaining favorable results aligns well with the high-level of service our department provides to clients surrounding these high-stakes matters,” said Michael J. Tuteur, chairman of the litigation department at Foley.

Foley & Lardner has about 900 attorneys in 21 offices in the U.S., Brussels and Asia.

Hogan Lovells Expands New York Corporate Practice

Michael Gilligan joined Hogan Lovells LLP’s corporate practice as a partner in New York. He was previously a partner at Allen & Overy LLP in the corporate and mergers and acquisitions practices.

Gilligan’s work focuses on cross-border and domestic public and private M&A transactions, including representation of financial sponsors and portfolio companies. He has represented clients in proxy contests and spinoff transactions, and issuers in initial public offerings, secondary equity offerings, Rule 144A offerings and exchange offers, the firm said.

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,500 lawyers at 40 offices in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Ballard Spahr Expands Public Finance Department in Washington

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP bond financing lawyers Pauline A. Schneider and Tatjana Misulic, have joined Ballard Spahr LLP’s public finance department in Washington as special counsel and of counsel respectively.

Schneider has more than 25 years of experience serving as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, special counsel, or disclosure counsel and has handled billions of dollars of public finance transactions, the firm said. Misulic has worked with her for more than a decade.

“Pauline and Tatjana are an excellent fit for our public finance practice. They have significant experience representing local governments, particularly in the growing Northern Virginia counties,” Joseph A. Fanone, managing partner of the firm’s Washington office said in a statement. “Pauline is a trailblazer in public finance and Tatjana is a rising star.”

Schneider and Misulic focus on transactional matters, including the representation of state and local governments, borrowers, underwriters, investment bankers, and credit enhancement providers on complex general obligation and revenue bond financings, the firm said. They have also worked on public-private partnerships in the Washington metro area.

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


Asiana Seen Saving Millions With Tactic to Bar U.S. Suits

Asiana Airlines Inc. could avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements by employing a tactic under international law to bar Chinese and South Korean passengers from suing in victim-friendly U.S. courts over the crash of Flight 214.

With the possibility of hundreds of claims against the South Korean airline, litigators said the carrier will be looking for ways to minimize the expense of the July 6 disaster, which killed two 16-year-old Chinese girls and injured 181 other passengers when a 777 jet tried to land at San Francisco International Airport.

Asiana may argue that most if not all of the Chinese and South Korean passengers’ ultimate destination was their home countries, since they probably held round-trip tickets, and that’s where they should file their claims. Win or lose on where claims are heard, it will probably be Asiana’s insurers that eventually pay the bill for claims, air-crash litigators said.

The flight from Seoul had 307 people on board, including 16 crew members. Some 141 passengers were from China, 77 from South Korea and 61 from the U.S. Lawsuits over international airline accidents are governed by the Montreal Convention, a treaty signed by all three countries that states the place where cases may be handled is based on factors including a passenger’s final destination, said airline litigation attorney Mitch Baumeister.

“The airlines and their insurers will do everything they can to transfer the case to a jurisdiction where their ultimate liability is going to be small,” said Joel Faxon, a New Haven, Connecticut, trial lawyer who litigated cases tied to the 2009 Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, New York, and those of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The U.S. has a “generous judicial system” and there are no caps on payouts for wrongful death and injury cases in California. Chinese and South Korean court awards are significantly limited in comparison to U.S. courts, Baumeister said.

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Ex-Attorney Kluger’s 12-Year Insider-Trading Sentence Upheld

Matthew Kluger, a former lawyer who spearheaded a 17-year insider-trading scheme, must serve his 12-year prison term, the longest ever in such a case, an appeals court said in denying his bid for a new sentence.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia yesterday upheld Kluger’s sentence for stealing corporate merger tips from four law firms, including Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC. The scheme generated $37 million in illegal profits, most of which went to a New York stock trader to whom Kluger passed the information. Kluger pleaded guilty.

“Kluger was an attorney who took an oath to uphold the law,” the appeals court said in a 48-page ruling, turning aside his claim that he was improperly sentenced. “It is really quite remarkable that Kluger could not even wait to graduate from law school before using his employment at a law firm to initiate his illegal activities.”

Last week, an appeals court in New York upheld the 10-year prison term handed down to ex-Galleon Group LLC trader Zvi Goffer for trading on tips from lawyers. Galleon Group co-founder Raj Rajaratnam, sentenced to 11 years after his 2011 conviction for leading an insider-trading ring, lost his bid for a new trial last month.

The case is U.S. v. Kluger, 12-2701, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Philadelphia).


Las Vegas Sands Verdict Should Be Upheld, Lawyer Says

John O’Malley, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Spencer Mazyck about his successful representation of Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen in his lawsuit against the Las Vegas Sands Corp. over claims that he helped the casino operator win its gaming license in Macau.

A jury awarded $70 million in damages to Suen’s company, Round Square Co., on May 14, and Clark County District Judge Rob Bare added $31.6 million in pre-judgment interest on May 28. O’Malley, in this “Rainmakers” episode, also explains why the verdict against the casino operator should be upheld.

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