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Simpson Thacher, Sullivan & Cromwell Work on Alibaba IPO

Lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP represented Alibaba Group Holding Ltd while Sullivan & Cromwell LLP advised the underwriters on the initial public offering filing for the Chinese online marketplace. The IPO might be the largest in the U.S.

The Simpson Thacher partners are Leiming Chen in Hong Kong, William Hinman in Palo Alto and Daniel Fertig in Beijing.

Sullivan & Cromwell partners William Chua in Hong Kong, Jay Clayton in New York and Sarah Payne in Palo Alto represent underwriters Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc.

Alibaba decided to go public in the U.S. after it was unable to persuade Hong Kong regulators to change rules to give founder Jack Ma and other executives a unique way to control the company. In the filing, Alibaba outlined a governance structure in which a group of 28 partners can nominate a majority of its board, with shareholders able to vote on the nominees.

For more on the filing, click here.

In the Courts

Facebook, Zynga Fraud Claim Reinstated by U.S. Appeals Court

Facebook Inc. users suing over the alleged disclosure of their online activities may proceed with breach-of-contract and fraud claims, an appeals court said, while barring privacy allegations against that firm and Zynga Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday reinstated Facebook users’ claims that the social network’s alleged dissemination of information about their online activities defrauded customers and breached a contract.

Other “courts have rejected breach-of-contract claims,” Kassra Nassiri, an attorney for Facebook users, said in a phone interview. “This is a very important decision” because the appeals court allowed the allegation to go forward, he said.

Privacy cases against Facebook, Google Inc. and other Internet companies have multiplied as users become aware of how much of their personal information firms are disclosing.

Google faces privacy suits over its Street View feature and Gmail e-mail service after it failed last year to persuade federal courts in California to dismiss claims attacking its data collection.

Genevieve Grdina, a spokeswoman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, didn’t have an immediate comment on the ruling.

For more, click here.

Law Firms

Law Firms’ Revenue Rises on Demand and Rates, Citi Says

Law firms’ revenue rose in the first quarter from a year earlier on higher demand and “moderately increased” billing rates, Citi Private Bank law firm group found.

The number of lawyers working at firms was up “modestly” while equity partner headcount remained little changed, according the grou’s quarterly report.

The report is based on surveys of 177 firms comprising a mix of global, international, national and regional firms.

Hires at Quarles & Brady, Blank Rome, Dechert, Holland & Knight

Quarles & Brady LLP opened an office in Indianapolis. Former Frost Brown Todd LLC litigators Joshua B. Fleming, Daniel M. Long, Lucy R. Dollens and Joel E. Tragesser will be joining as partners in the new office. In addition, former Krieg DeVault LLP partner Kristen L. Gentry will be joining the firm, also as a partner.

Quarles’s director of DEA compliance and litigation, D. Linden Barber, is moving from the Washington office to Indianapolis, where he will be the managing partner of the new office.

Carlos Ortiz has joined Blank Rome LLP as a partner in the firm’s white-collar defense and investigations group. The former federal prosecutor will be based in the firm’s New York and Princeton, New Jersey, offices. He previously was a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

S. Michael Song is joining the Silicon Valley office of Dechert LLP as a partner in its intellectual-property practice. Song, most recently a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, focuses on IP litigation and counseling for technology companies.

Joel Athey, a white-collar defense attorney, joined the Los Angeles office of Holland & Knight LLP as a partner in its West Coast litigation practice group. Also joining the firm is Nicholas Melzer, who will be a senior counsel in the group. Athey was most recently a partner at Corbin, Athey & Martinez LLP, and Melzer was of counsel at the firm.

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