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Ex-White House Counsel to Rejoin Latham: Business of Law

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler will rejoin Latham & Watkins LLP as a partner in the litigation department and as a member of the white-collar defense and investigations practice group. She will be resident in Washington and intends to expand her practice to New York, the firm said.

Ruemmler, one of the president’s longest-serving counsels, advised on legal aspects of domestic and foreign policy and national security.

“Kathy is a fantastic lawyer who has great instinct and judgment,” Alice Fisher, the office managing partner of Latham & Watkins in Washington, said in a statement. “She is battle-tested at the highest levels.”

In six years as a federal prosecutor, Ruemmler was co-lead trial counsel in the securities fraud prosecution of former Enron Corp. chief executive officers Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

As associate counsel to Bill Clinton, Ruemmler defended the White House during independent-counsel and congressional investigations, the firm said.

Kirkland & Ellis Adds Debt-Finance Partner From Weil in London

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP announced that Stephen Lucas will join its London office as a partner in the debt-finance practice group. He joins from the London office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Lucas represents sponsors, financial institutions, funds and corporations on leveraged finance, structured debt and restructurings, the firm said.

Hinshaw & Culbertson Expands Phoenix Office With Two Partners

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP hired Stephen W. Tully and Timothy I. McCulloch as partners in its commercial-litigation practice group in Phoenix, where they will be co-partners in charge. They join Hinshaw from Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP.

Tully, who has experience in complex commercial litigation, was in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007 and was majority leader from 2005 to 2007. From 2003 to 2005, he was chairman of the House judiciary and ethics committees.

Trial and Appellate Lawyer Chronowski Joins Dykema in Chicago

Dykema Gossett PLLC said Lou Chronowski has joined the firm as a member in its business and commercial litigation practice in Chicago. Before joining Dykema, he was a partner and chairman of the franchise, dealer and distribution group at Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  

In-House Counsel

GM Said Overhauling Legal Department to Avoid Recall Delay

General Motors Co. is overhauling its legal department as the automaker tries to break down silos that delayed the recall of millions of cars for a defect linked to 13 deaths, according to people familiar with the matter.

General Counsel Michael Millikin has assigned a legal adviser to work with the heads of global safety and vehicle development so information about defects is shared more quickly between departments, one of the people said. Millikin anticipates further changes once an internal investigation is completed in the coming weeks, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.

Transforming GM’s legal culture won’t be easy because lawyers have spent their careers battling to keep potentially incriminating safety information out of the hands of trial lawyers. In one case, lawyers tried to bury an internal memo that calculated the cost to the automaker of fuel-fed fire deaths, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. Employees were discouraged from using words including decapitation, deathtrap, eviscerated and mutilating that could be used against GM in court, according to an internal memo released by the U.S. government last week.

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Firm News

Dewey Creditor Can Sue Officers After Selling Claim: Bankruptcy

The three former top executives at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, the defunct law firm, are in an Iowa federal court defending a lawsuit by a former creditor even though the claim’s current owner waived the right to sue them.

Aviva Life & Annuity Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based insurance company, alleged in the complaint that the trio induced it to buy $35 million in secured notes in April 2010. Aviva said the law firm represented it was “financially sound” when there was $100 million in “undisclosed debt to certain highly compensated partners.”

In late 2012, Aviva sued Steven Davis, Dewey’s former chairman; Stephen DiCarmine, its former executive director; and Joel Sanders, the ex-finance chief. Aviva didn’t sue the firm because it’s being liquidated in bankruptcy after filing under Chapter 11 in May 2012.

All three men were indicted by a Manhattan grand jury this year, charged with a “blatant” $200 million fraud that spurred the largest law firm bankruptcy in history. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Littler Extends Reach in Central America With Honduras Pact

Littler Global member BDS Asesores has expanded into Honduras by combining with Ulloa & Associates, the largest law firm in the northern region of Honduras, according to a statement.

“We are quickly covering the most important regions for employers with operations in Central and Latin America,” Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-managing directors of Littler, said in the statement.

Ulloa & Associates is led by managing partner Marielena Ulloa, a labor and employment attorney.

Littler Global has offices in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

News

Attorney Frenkel Calls Prosecuting Banks ‘Dangerous’

Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor who’s now a lawyer at Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker PA in Potomac, Maryland, says a criminal charge against Credit Suisse AG may result in “severe collateral consequences” for the banking industry.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

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