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Greenberg Among Firms on Consol Deal: Business of Law

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Greenberg Traurig LLP, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal counsel on a transaction between Consol Energy Inc. and Murray Energy Corp.

Consol agreed to sell assets including five West Virginia thermal-coal mines to Murray for about $850 million to help fund the expansion of natural gas production from shale deposits.

Greenberg Traurig acted as lead counsel for Consol, with a team led out of the Philadelphia office by corporate and securities shareholder David Gitlin and labor and employment and Philadelphia operating shareholder Robert M. Goldich.

Additional team members included London corporate and securities shareholder Frank Adams; Washington tax shareholders Robert Simon and Thomas C. West Jr.; New York business reorganization and financial restructuring shareholder Maria DiConza; Houston energy shareholder William Garner; and Tysons Corner, Virginia, tax shareholder Ian Herbert.

Wachtell’s team advising Consol was led by corporate partner David A. Katz and consists of partners Joseph D. Larson, antitrust; Adam J. Shapiro, executive compensation and benefits; Eric M. Rosof, restructuring; and finance and Deborah L. Paul, tax.

Buchanan shareholders Lewis Davis, Brian Novosel and Hannah Frank were counsel to Consol on the deal.

Also advising Consol was Sharon O. Flanery, energy and natural resources department chairwoman, who led Steptoe & Johnson’s team.

Kirkland represented Murray with a team led by corporate partner William Sorabella. Also on the deal were corporate partner Daniel Michaels, debt finance partner Ashley Gregory and capital markets partner Christian Nagler.

The deal will also give Consol about $184 million in future royalties and other payments, the Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based company said yesterday in a statement. Closely held Murray will take on $2.4 billion of liabilities as part of the deal, which should close by year-end.

For more, click here.

Firm News

European Law Firm Osborne Clarke Opens New York Office

European law firm Osborne Clarke opened an office in New York that will be staffed on a semi-permanent basis with a rotating roster of partners.

The firm, known for its work in advertising and digital business, has 550 professionals at 14 offices, including one in Palo Alto, California, that opened in 2001.

“We see the New York office as a platform for growth, providing a vital link with our West Coast and European offices. This office gives our clients access to a major global market,” Tim Birt, corporate partner at Osborne Clarke who is leading the firm’s opening in New York, said in a statement.

The initial Osborne Clarke team will consist of Andrew Saul, Birt, Adrian Bott, Nicolas Gabrysch, Tim Simmonds, Nick Johnson, Paul Anning, Adrian Lifely, Tom Ellis, Kevin Barrow, Mathias Loertscher and Thomas Colmer, the firm said.

Clifford Chance Asks Its Female Lawyers to Stop Giggling

Clifford Chance LLP is one of the largest law firms in the world. It has 3,400 legal advisers spread across 35 offices everywhere from New York to Casablanca, Morocco. Last year it made $1.9 billion in revenue. Needless to say, it’s a fancy place to work and expects its employees to retain an air of professionalism and dignity at all times.

Especially its women. Its giggling, fidgeting women, Claire Suddath reports in Bloomberg Businessweek.

A member of the law firm’s Women’s Committee sent a memo recently to every female associate in the U.S. with a list of advice on how women should give a proper presentation at work, according to the website Above the Law, which leaked the memo. Clifford Chance didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Some tips in the leaked memo are actually pretty helpful: “Use [PowerPoint] as a guide, not as your speech.” (Duh) “Don’t take your purse up to the podium.” (Does anybody actually do that?) “Make sure your cellphone is turned off.”

But interspersed among these were suggestions that make Clifford Chance sound as if it were staffed by a gaggle of Elle Woods clones. Or worse yet, that leaders of a big law firm just have that opinion of their staff. Advice included in the “Presentation Tips for Women” memo:

• “Don’t giggle.”

• “Don’t squirm.”

• “Don’t wave your arms.”

• “Don’t hide behind your hair.”

• “Don’t dress like a mortician.”

• “If wearing a skirt, make sure people can’t see up it.”

• “Make sure you can stand in your heels.”

• “Your voice is higher than you hear.”

• “Wear a suit, not your party outfit.”

• “Understated jewelry, nothing jingly or clanky.”

• “Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.”

• “No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.”

The women of Clifford Chance are, apparently, giggling and squirming in outrage.

“We have never been a very female friendly firm, but this is beyond the pale,” Above the Law quoted its tipster as writing in an e-mail. The post also included a response from Clifford Chance, which wrote that “the offense caused by a small percentage of the suggestions in the tip sheet was entirely unintentional.”

For more, click here.


Paul C. Gibbons to Join Robins, Kaplan’s IP Litigation Group

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP announced that Paul C. Gibbons joined the firm’s Boston office as a partner in the intellectual property litigation group. Gibbons was previously a shareholder at Niro, Haller & Niro.

Gibbons focuses primarily on patent litigation, along with copyright, trademark, trade secret and trade dress litigation, the firm said. He also counsels and helps his clients enforce their intellectual property rights through negotiation, mediation and licensing, according to the firm.

Robins, Kaplan has more than 230 lawyers in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Naples, Florida.

WTO Official Joins Akin Gump’s International Trade Practice

Alan Yanovich, who spent the past 12 years at the World Trade Organization Appellate Body Secretariat, joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and will be a senior counsel in the firm’s Geneva office.

Yanovich had been counselor at the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat since 2004, where he was responsible for supervising all case management aspects of an appeal before the body, the firm said.

He has experience on international trade matters at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels. In his most recent position he co-led the Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. appeals, claims worth more than $15 billion and $6 billion, respectively, the firm said. He also handled specialized training activities on the WTO’s rules and dispute settlement procedures for government officials around the globe.

“Our trade practice is as broad and deep as any in the business,” Hal Shapiro, the head of Akin Gump’s international trade practice, said in a statement. “Alan’s arrival strengthens it by bringing extraordinary experience inside the WTO and a presence in Geneva that will be of direct and immediate benefit for our clients.”

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


Ex-Slaughter, Linklaters Lawyers Fail to Dismiss Insider Lawsuit

A former Slaughter & May lawyer and her boyfriend who worked for Linklaters LLP lost a bid to dismiss a Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission lawsuit alleging they used inside information to trade shares.

Young Bik Fung, Lee Kwok Wa and his two sisters made HK$2.9 million ($374,000) trading shares of Hsinchu International Bank ahead of a takeover offer by Standard Chartered Plc and of Asia Satellite Telecommunications Ltd. before a privatization offer, the SFC said.

Hong Kong High Court Judge Anthony Chan yesterday dismissed an application to strike out the SFC’s lawsuit on grounds including that the regulator lacked jurisdiction as the trading of Hsinchu shares took place in Taiwan. The four said they bought the shares of the two companies in 2006 and 2007 without any inside information.

Maurice Lee, a lawyer for the four, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment. Neil Hyman, a partner at Slaughter & May in Hong Kong, declined to comment on the case.

Lee Kwok Wa “left this firm in 2007,” Amanda Clarke, a spokeswoman for Linklaters in Hong Kong, said by e-mail. “We have no comment to make on his personal legal proceedings.”

The SFC, which is asking the court to order the four to disgorge any profits and pay damages, won confirmation of its power to independently sue parties suspected of market misconduct at Hong Kong’s top court this year.

The regulator said in a statement yesterday that its allegation in the Hsinchu case is for fraud rather than insider trading because the trades took place in Taiwan. The case was delayed by the appeal to Hong Kong’s top court, it said.

The case is Securities & Futures Commission v. Young Bik Fung. HCMP2575/2010 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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