Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Neil Barofsky, joined Jenner & Block LLP’s New York office as a partner in the litigation department.
He will be a member of the white collar defense and investigations, securities litigation and enforcement, and government controversies and public policy litigation practice groups, the firm said in a statement.
“His background as a senior federal prosecutor in Manhattan and the TARP’s inspector general has given him an unparalleled grasp of the most complex financial transactions of the last decade,” Susan C. Levy, managing partner of Jenner & Block, said in a statement. “He will undoubtedly enhance the firm’s capabilities in securities and other litigation matters on behalf of hedge funds, private equity firms and other entities litigating over complex financial instruments.”
Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor, was confirmed by the Senate in 2008 for the TARP post, in which he oversaw the $700 billion federal bailout adopted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. He left the position in March 2011 and has been a public commentator and a fellow at New York University Law School since then.
Barofsky’s responsibilities at TARP included overseeing the creation and expansion of a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Treasury Department, which conducted criminal and civil investigations of fraud and abuse linked to the bailouts. During his employment, the office recovered or avoided losses of more than $700 million and obtained more than 100 fraud convictions, according to Jenner & Block.
In his eight years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York he tried cases that included the conviction of former Refco Inc. officers of a $2.4 billion securities and accounting fraud. He also headed the Mortgage Fraud Group, which investigated and prosecuted mortgage fraud.
“Jenner & Block is an ideal platform where my practice can flourish because of its renowned litigation reputation, the iconic role it has played in issues surrounding the financial crisis and the firm’s regular role in matters involving complex financial instruments,” Barofsky said in a statement. “Most importantly, I wanted to work at a firm that shares my commitment to zealous advocacy of its clients and, as demonstrated in the Lehman examinership, a willingness to embrace the most challenging matters against the most difficult adversaries in the most demanding circumstances.”
Jenner & Block has about 480 lawyers at four U.S. offices.
Three Law Firms on $3.3 Billion American Tower Acquisition American Tower Corp., the biggest operator of cellular towers in the U.S., agreed to acquire the parent company of rival Global Tower Partners for about $3.3 billion, giving it thousands of additional wireless sites as the appetite for next-generation services grows.
American Tower’s legal advisers were Clifford Chance US LLP and Sullivan & Worcester LLP. Global Tower Partners was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
Clifford Chance New York partner John Graham acted on this deal. Sullivan & Worcester’s team included partners Ameek Ponda and David Kaplan. The Simpson Thacher deal team was led by David Lieberman and Brian Chisling, mergers and acquisitions; John Hart, tax; and David Rubinsky, executive compensation and employee benefits.
American Tower is buying MIP Tower Holdings LLC, a closely held real estate investment trust that owns Global Tower Partners and related companies, according to a statement Sept. 6. The deal brings American Tower about 5,400 U.S. towers and the management rights to more than 9,000 additional sites. Including debt, the purchase price is about $4.8 billion.
The tower industry is consolidating, with fewer companies controlling bigger swaths of equipment amid booming demand for mobile communications and the gear needed to transmit signals. Low interest rates also may be spurring American Tower to make deals, said James Moorman, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ Inc.
This is the second major acquisition in the past two months by American Tower. Last month, the Boston-based company agreed to buy almost 4,500 wireless sites from NII Holdings Inc. in Brazil and Mexico for $811 million.
American Tower’s acquisition, slated to be completed in the fourth quarter, will generate about $345 million in revenue and $270 million in gross profit next year, the company said.
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Clifford Chance Hires BLP Tax Head, Liesl Fichardt
Clifford Chance LLP hired Liesl Fichardt, the head of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s contentious tax affairs practice, to join its London tax group.
Fichardt specializes in tax litigation and settlement of disputes. She has experience both with U.K. and cross-border disputes, including all areas of international tax involving the EU Treaty, Double Tax Conventions and the EC Directives in relation to tax and VAT, the firm said.
“The current tax environment is becoming ever more complex for large organizations as they face greater amounts of legislation,” David Harkness, global head of Clifford Chance’s tax, pensions and employment practice, said in a statement. “We are seeing increasing demand from clients for advice and help on resolving their tax disputes, and we expect this is an area that will continue to grow for the firm’s market leading practice.”
Clifford Chance has over 180 tax advisers across Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The firm has 35 offices in 25 countries with about 3,400 legal advisers.
Sedgwick’s Washington Office Adds Natural-Resources Attorneys
Sedgwick LLP said natural resources attorneys Steven P. Quarles and David P. Ross joined the firm’s land-use and natural-resources practice as partners in the firm’s Washington office. Both were previously at Crowell & Moring LLP.
Quarles focuses his practice on federal wildlife law, public land law and related federal policy matters. He represents renewable and other energy, forest products, mining, agricultural and land development associations and companies; policy coalitions; state and local governments; and land conservation trusts, the firm said.
He also has an administrative practice that includes securing policy constructions and changes from federal agencies in Washington and advising on the permitting of projects throughout the U.S., the firm said. He was a deputy undersecretary at the Interior Department and counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Ross specializes in regulatory counseling, enforcement defense, and litigation of environmental and natural resources matters, with an emphasis on the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, federal wildlife law, renewable and other energy projects, federal land use issues, water quality policy and litigation, and storm water regulation and control, according to the firm.
“Steve and Dave have extensive knowledge in a complex area of federal law,” Anna Shimko, the head of Sedgwick’s real estate, land use and natural resources practices, said in a statement. Their contributions will “make our team even stronger as we collaborate from multiple offices on projects as diverse as wind farms, resorts, transmission corridors, new residential communities and endangered species conservation banks.”
Sedgwick has more than 370 attorneys at 16 U.S. offices.
Pillsbury Builds IP Practice in London With Litigator Duo
James Tumbridge and Paul Harris joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s global sourcing and intellectual property team in London. They were previously at Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP and are joined by three more members of the team at their previous firm.
Tumbridge and Harris have a background in IP litigation and transactions, dispute resolution and government relations, with a client base that covers many industries and disciplines, Pillsbury Winthrop said.
“Their extensive experience on contentious IP matters and their government advisory work adds considerably to Pillsbury’s existing strengths in IP and global sourcing,” Pillsbury Chairman James Rishwain Jr. said in a statement.
Tumbridge, who co-founded Gowlings’ London office in 2008, has practiced in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and has also handled alternative dispute resolution work. He has served as an ad hoc adviser to U.K. ministers, members of parliament and members of the European parliament on IP and dispute matters.
Harris, with more than 25 years’ experience, successfully defended Stanley Black & Decker in a patent case and handled the Wagamama restaurant chain case, the first of its kind to consider the U.K. Trade Marks Act 1994 and its implementation of the European Trade Marks Directive, the firm said. He also handles the sale and licensing of businesses and the global registration of trademarks and advises on copyright issues for technology companies.
Pillsbury has lawyers at offices in the U.S., London, Abu Dhabi and Asia.
Jones Day Adds to Banking and Finance Practice in London
Brian Conway is joining Jones Day as a partner in the firm’s London office, where he will be a member of the banking and finance practice. He was previously a partner in Latham & Watkins LLP’s finance department in London.
“Brian will prove to be significant boost to our finance capability in London,” said John Phillips, partner-in charge of Jones Day’s London office. “He is highly experienced in leveraged acquisition finance, which will be beneficial to our global clients as they look to execute deals in Europe’s largest financial hub.”
Conway has almost 20 years of experience acting for banks, financial institutions and borrowers on domestic and international cross-border financing transactions. He has advised on senior, mezzanine and subordinated debt financings. He also acts on the refinancing of finance transactions and has experience working with high yield bondholder committees, the firm said.
Prior to Latham & Watkins, he spent 13 years at White & Case LLP, where he was a partner in the firm’s bank finance practice in Singapore and helped establish its leveraged finance practice in Asia.
Jones Day has more than 2,400 lawyers at 40 offices worldwide.
Sidley Adds International Arbitration Lawyers in New York
Sidley Austin LLP announced that Benno Kimmelman, formerly at Allen & Overy LLP, will join its New York office as a partner along with an additional lawyer. Both will be members of the firm’s international arbitration practice.
“They have strong experience in international commercial arbitration, specifically in the energy sector, which fits nicely with Sidley’s continued growth in this area,” Marc Palay, partner and co-head of Sidley’s international arbitration practice, said in a statement.
Kimmelman focuses on the arbitration and litigation of complex commercial, investment-treaty and energy disputes. He represents U.S. and foreign clients, as well as sovereign entities, in international disputes before tribunals and state and federal courts. He’s an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School in New York, where he teaches international commercial arbitration and international litigation.
Sidley has 1,700 lawyers in 19 offices worldwide.
U.K. Crime Agency Won’t Identify Firms in Illegal Sources Probe
The U.K.’s Serious Organised Crime Agency refused to reveal the names of law firms and insurance companies that may have hired convicted private investigators who illegally obtained information.
SOCA declined to publish the list because of the “detrimental” effect “to ongoing investigations and enquiries,” following a request from Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, the national police unit said in a statement posted on its website Sept. 6.
The agency gave the Home Affairs Committee a list of clients of four private investigators who were jailed last year for using illegal methods to get information. SOCA asked the panel not to publish the names to avoid prejudicing future investigations and because there was no finding the companies had broken the law.
Committee Chairman Keith Vaz has given SOCA until Sept. 9 to publish the list or lawmakers will release it themselves.
The list included 22 law firms, as well as 10 insurance companies, an oil company and eight companies in financial services, SOCA said in July.
BP Claims Administrator Juneau Cleared in Probe by Freeh
The administrator of BP Plc’s $9.6 billion partial settlement of claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill didn’t engage in any misconduct, an independent investigation found.
Louis Freeh, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said he had “not found evidence” that Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator, “engaged in any conflict of interest, or unethical or improper conduct.”
Freeh said that while he found “problematic” conduct by certain claims-administration employees, it shouldn’t stall processing payments to spill victims.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans appointed Freeh to investigate allegations of misconduct after a lawyer at the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program was suspended for allegedly taking payments from law firms while processing their clients’ spill-related claims. A second attorney was later suspended following similar accusations.
Two claims fund attorneys “may have violated federal criminal statutes regarding fraud, money laundering, conspiracy or perjury,” Freeh said in his 93-page report issued Sept. 6. This alleged misconduct “should not prevent” the claims program from “fairly and efficiently processing and paying honest and legitimate claims,” he said.
BP faces thousands of lawsuits over damages caused by the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010. The blast killed 11 workers and released more than 4 million barrels of crude from BP’s well off the Louisiana coast.
Juneau said in an e-mailed statement that he “found the Freeh report to validate the work that our team of 2,700 hard working professionals has been doing” since the claims center was created.
Calling the actions of the two former employees “an isolated situation” that has already been addressed, Juneau said Freeh found “no evidence that the two employees directly manipulated the valuation of claims” or that the overall payment of claims was affected by the misconduct.
The case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).
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