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Cadwalader, Akin Gump, Katten, Kirkland: Business of Law

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP said Bruce Bloomingdale and Jeremiah Wagner, formerly of Mayer Brown LLP, will join the firm’s global capital markets practice in London.

Bloomingdale practices in the areas of financial transactions, cross border securitization and asset backed lending. Wagner has experience in structured finance, securitization and derivative transactions as well as regulatory matters related to the banking and securitization industries.

“The addition of Bruce and Jeremiah and their asset backed expertise to our U.K. structured finance team builds on the strength we enjoy in commercial mortgage backed securities, CDOs, CLOs and other structured and securitized product and enhances our ability to support clients in the fast re-emerging European structured finance and credit markets,” Patrick Quinn, partner and co-chairman of Cadwalader’s capital markets practice, said in a statement.

Cadwalader has more than 450 lawyers at eight offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Akin Gump Adds Real Estate Team in Fort Worth

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP hired Fort Worth, Texas, real-estate lawyer Marc Epstein from Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP along with two senior counsel.

Epstein has experience counseling owners, developers, landlords, tenants and investors on real estate and business transactions such as sales, acquisitions, financing, leasing, development, management and construction, the firm said.

“Akin Gump’s strong Texas roots are well known, and it has an excellent track record in the real estate industry,” Epstein said in a statement. “At the same time, the firm has built a terrific national and international platform that allows its attorneys to address the global needs of its clients.”

Akin Gump has more than 850 attorneys in offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Katten Adds Real Estate Partner McBride in New York

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP said real-estate attorney Michael S. McBride joined the firm in New York. McBride was formerly with Strategic Asset Services of H/2 Capital Partners, a commercial real estate credit fund manager, where he was head of the legal group that served the affiliated group companies.

McBride has experience in commercial real-estate matters including finance, capital markets, REITs, private funds, acquisitions and dispositions, distressed property and leasing, as well as the regulatory framework applicable to commercial real-estate vehicles and commercial real-estate lending, the firm said.

“Mike will be a great addition to our real estate team in New York, and his background and experience in real estate finance as well as his client perspective will lend itself well to our growing practice,” Vincent A. F. Sergi, Katten chairman said in a statement.

Katten has more than 600 attorneys at offices in the U.S., London and Shanghai.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joins DLA Piper in Seattle

DLA Piper LLP said Aravind Swaminathan, previously an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Washington, joined the firm’s litigation practice in Seattle.

In his prior position, Swaminathan led the cybercrime outreach program and worked with the Federal Trade Commission and others on data privacy issues, the firm said. He also worked in the complex crimes unit in the Western District of Washington, where he was involved in the prosecution of Ponzi schemes, tax fraud and computer crimes.

“Aravind is well-known in Seattle’s technology business community and will be a valuable resource for our clients facing complex cybersecurity issues,” Steven Yentzer, managing partner of DLA Piper’s Seattle office, said in a statement. “He will expand our civil trial capabilities and will also provide digital compliance guidance to our technology clients in the Pacific Northwest.”

DLA Piper has 4,200 lawyers in more than 30 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

Liner Grode Hires Partner in Patent Litigation Practice

Ryan E. Hatch joined Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP in Los Angeles in the patent litigation practice. He was previously with Latham & Watkins LLP.

Hatch’s practice focuses on patent litigation and licensing, infringement and invalidity, and trademark litigation.

Liner Grode has nearly 50 lawyers at offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Firm News

Ex-Kirkland Partner Freedman Pleads Guilty to Income Tax Fraud

Former Kirkland & Ellis LP senior partner Theodore Freedman was sentenced to one year and one day in prison in connection with the filing of false tax forms, the American Lawyer reported.

Freedman, who pleaded guilty in March to four counts of tax fraud, misrepresented his income as a partner at the law firm by about $2 million, the U.S. attorneys said. He also claimed more than $500,000 in expenses for a sole proprietorship that didn’t exist, the government said.

Freedman was a member of the firm’s restructuring group. His income for the years 2001 through 2004 was $5.39 million, compared with the $2.1 million he reported for the period, the U.S. said in a statement. The tax loss to the government from Freedman’s fraud was more than $1 million, the U.S. said.

He faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, if convicted on all charges.

The case is U.S. v. Freedman, 11-cr-00599, U.S. District Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

News

Iran Frees Jailed Women Human Rights Activists Before UN Meeting

Iranian authorities freed at least eight women human rights activists, including lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, her husband wrote on his Facebook page.

Sotoudeh was serving a six-year sentence after being arrested in September 2010 and jailed on charges of harming national security.

The release comes just days before Iran’s new President Hassan Rohani heads to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh’s husband, wrote on his Facebook page: “Nasrin came ... they told her you are free.” Khandan couldn’t be reached for comment.

A spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran confirmed Sotoudeh’s release. Opposition news site Kalame reported that seven other activists were also freed.

General Counsel

General Counsel Report Shift in Role, Study Reports

General counsel are stepping away from the legal department to play a more integrated role as business decision-makers at their companies, according to a survey of general counsel at 270 corporations.

In a survey by TerraLex, a legal referral network of 150 firms in 100 countries, 50 percent of general counsel characterized their job function as being “a stakeholder in business decisions” compared to less than one third who identified their role as “managing the legal department.”

Worries over regulation and compliance was ranked as the greatest concern by 57 percent of the counsel, though a “desire to create value for the company” was ranked as the chief concern for 34 of those polled.

“The role of general counsel is a dynamic one, and that is borne out by the results showing their deep involvement in everything from mergers to protecting corporate reputations,” Harry Trueheart, chairman of TerraLex and a senior counsel and chairman emeritus of Nixon Peabody LLP, said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at eamon2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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