Covington, Milbank, Clifford Chance: Business of Law
Former Democratic congressman Howard Berman, who was chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is joining Covington & Burling LLP’s global public policy and government affairs practice in Washington.
Berman, first elected to Congress in 1982, was defeated in in 2012 by fellow Democratic Representative Brad Sherman in the redrawn 30th Congressional District. He previously was a member of the California State Assembly for a decade.
Berman, who will be senior of counsel at Covington, said he considered joining several law firms after returning to the private sector after 40 years.
“At every one of these place I talked to there was somebody I had a good relationship with but there were a number of them at Covington,” Berman said in a telephone interview. He cited Stu Eizenstat, a Covington partner who heads the international practice and who served in three American presidential administrations, as a key one.
He also said an important reason he picked Covington was the firm’s reputation for “doing high-quality legal work and as a great place to work.”
Berman was a senior member and leader on the House Judiciary Committee and chairman of its subcommittee on courts, intellectual property and the Internet, where he led changes to patent and intellectual property laws affecting the entertainment and high-technology industries.
“Representative Berman and I come from different chambers and different parties, but we are both committed to building bipartisan consensus to get things done,” Kyl said in a statement. “I look forward to doing that together for Covington’s clients.”
Also on the global public policy group at Covington is former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and John Veroneau, who served as deputy U.S. trade representative.
Milbank Adds A&O Financial Regulatory Chairman in New York
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP hired banking and financial services regulatory lawyer Douglas Landy as a partner in the leveraged finance and financial regulations group in its New York office. Landy joins the firm from Allen & Overy LLP, where he was head of the U.S. financial services regulatory practice, Milbank said.
Landy, a former staff attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, worked at A&O for about five years. He said he enjoyed the period but decided to move because he wanted to work with clients on more U.S. matters.
“The depth of penetration that Milbank has in the U.S. is only equaled by a couple of law firms,” Landy said in a telephone interview.
Landy represents global financial institutions in U.S. regulatory matters, including dealings with the Fed, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies. Last year, he represented a group of more than two dozen foreign banks challenging the proposed Volcker Rule provisions of Dodd-Frank.
“The need for expert regulatory and compliance counsel is a top priority for our banking and financial services clients,”Milbank Chairman Scott Edelman said in a statement. “In the swirl of Dodd-Frank, Basel III, the Volcker Rule, stress testing, Libor scandals and so much more, Doug is a powerful and wise advocate.”
Milbank has 600 lawyers at 11 offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Clifford Chance Adds Partners in Hong Kong and London
Clifford Chance LLP announced two partner hires this week, including former Norton Rose LLP partner Dorian Drew, who advised ex-Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond on the Libor rates investigation. Drew will join the global regulatory enforcement and white-collar crime group as a partner in the London office.
Drew is a solicitor advocate specializing in regulatory investigations and enforcement action within the financial services industry, the firm said.
Alastair C. MacAulay, formerly of Mayer Brown JSM, also joins Clifford Chance in the Hong Kong office as a partner who will lead on maritime and offshore finance matters, the firm said.
MacAulay focuses on asset and project finance, particularly in the transportation and energy sectors, the firm said. He has represented banks and financial institutions on loan, guarantee, leasing and other credit transactions.
His recent work includes advising Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. on a liquefied natural gas ship project and Chilean power producers Colbun SA and AES Gener SA on the long-term charter of a storage and regasification unit, the firm said.
Clifford Chance has 3,400 legal advisers at 35 offices in 25 countries worldwide.
Mayer Brown Hires Intellectual Property and Real Estate Partners
Mayer Brown LLP made two more partner hires this week, adding intellectual property lawyer Stephen Baskin in Washington and real-estate lawyer Brian Davis in Chicago.
Baskin was previously at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, where he was managing partner of that firm’s Washington office. Davis was a partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Baskin has led patent litigations for more than 20 years, the firm said. Davis represents institutional real estate investors on matters including distressed debt and equity transactions, asset acquisitions and dispositions. Mayer Brown also hired former Barclays Plc director Joel Moss this week.
Mayer Brown has lawyers at offices in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
K&L Gates Hires USTR Lawyer as Partner in Washington
Frank J. Schweitzer, formerly associate general counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, joined K&L Gates LLP as a partner in the international arbitration and international trade practices in Washington.
At the USTR, Schweitzer represented the U.S. in litigation before the World Trade Organization. He was lead counsel in the challenge to China’s barrier to foreign providers of electronic- payment services and was co-lead counsel for the U.S. in the WTO appellate proceeding that upheld a finding of illegal European subsidies to Airbus, the firm said.
Schweitzer also advised on international investment matters and was legal counsel in negotiations on the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and talks on the U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty, the firm said.
He will focus his practice on international dispute resolution, with an emphasis on WTO dispute settlement and investment treaty arbitration.
Jones Day Partner Orr Named Detroit’s Emergency Manager
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder named Washington lawyer Kevyn Orr, a partner at the Jones Day law firm, as emergency manager to lead Detroit out of a financial crisis that threatens the largest municipal bankruptcy in the U.S.
Orr, who worked on the team that managed Chrysler Group LLC’s 2009 bankruptcy, will tackle a city in a downward spiral of shrinking population and revenue, riddled by swaths of vacant property and whose municipal government opposes a state takeover. Detroit’s deficit hit almost $327 million last year, and its long-term obligations have piled up to more than $14 billion, according to a state review.
Improving the city is “the Olympics of restructuring,” Orr said yesterday at a news conference.
Detroit becomes the sixth Michigan city with an emergency manager, though by far the largest. Under a new law that takes effect March 28, those managers will assume greater authority to operate and finance the cities. Those powers include the ability to sell assets and change labor contracts.
“We have great people who want to help,” Snyder said at the news conference, flanked by Orr and Mayor Dave Bing, a Democrat. “Now is the time to find common ground to solve the problem.”
Orr, who said he resigned from Jones Day, is a University of Michigan law school graduate specializing in corporate restructuring and bankruptcy.
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Should Insurance Regulators Handle Derivatives?
Barry Ritholtz, chief executive officer at Fusion IQ, and Tangent Capital Partners’ Bob Rice talk with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the current state of the derivatives market and a recent initiative by the International Swaps & Derivatives Association to write new standards for credit-default swaps.
Ritholtz says that the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market remains largely unregulated despite almost destroying the global financial system during the credit crisis in 2008.
“There are a number of different asset classes and financial instruments,” he said. “Derivatives are the only one more or less exempt from oversight.”
Ritholtz suggests that state insurance regulators should cover derivatives and force participants to put up reserves on their investments.
Rice contends that regulation of derivatives is difficult because the products generate tremendous profits at the world’s largest financial institutions.
Banks “have no interest in standardization or clearing organizations because it squeezes their margins,” he said. Still, he said he expects oversight will have to increase because regulators need a more precise understanding of activity in the derivatives market.
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