Covington, Boies, Schiller, Schulte Roth: Business of Law

Covington & Burling LLP opened a Shanghai office, the law firm’s third office in Asia, led by corporate and securities partner Eva Wang and technology transactions and intellectual-property partner Weishi Li.

The firm opened offices in Seoul in November and Beijing in 2008. The Shanghai site will have five lawyers, bringing the total for the three Asian offices to 20, the firm said.

The Shanghai office will strengthen Covington’s ability to provide corporate, dispute resolution, investigations and regulatory capabilities for clients from the Americas and Europe seeking to do business in Asia, as well as for clients in Asia, the firm said.

“Our Shanghai office enhances our practices in life sciences and technology transactions, FCPA, capital markets, M&A and securities in China and places those capabilities in the heart of one of Asia’s most dynamic business centers,” said Timothy Hester, chairman of the firm’s management committee.

Wang, who joined the firm last February, was previously a partner in the Shanghai office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC. She has private-practice experience in China and also previously served as general counsel and vice president of legal affairs at Spreadtrum Communications Inc., a Nasdaq-listed Chinese semiconductor company focused on the wireless-communications market.

Li’s practice covers a range of technology transactions and IP-related advice. She joined Covington from Bird & Bird LLP in September.

Covington has more than 800 lawyers and 10 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

DLA Piper Names Heads of Cross-Border Litigation Practice

DLA Piper LLP said Tara Lee, managing partner of the Reston, Virgina office; London partner Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry; and Hong Kong partner Satpal Gobindpuri were named global co-chairs of the firm’s cross-border litigation practice.

The firm’s expansion led its global disputes heads, Robert Mathias and Stephen Sly, to make appointments that drew leaders from the three regions to meet the cross-border litigation needs of clients, the firm said.

DLA Piper’s global litigation practice has been recognized as the world’s largest by headcount in the American Lawyer and the largest by revenue in the Lawyer, the firm said.

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

Rattet Pasternak Merges with DelBello Donnellan

New York bankruptcy boutique Rattet Pasternak LLP’s six attorneys joined White Plains, New York, law firm DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP, home of former New York Lieutenant Governor Al DelBello.

The Rattet lawyers are Dawn Kirby, Robert Rattet, Jonathan Pasternak, Julie Cvek, Erica Feynman and James Glucksman, according to the group’s website. They will remain part of a group that will work with DelBello’s 24 lawyers in 11 practice groups, including real estate, land use and litigation practices.

Smith, Gambrell & Russell Hires Eight IP Lawyers in Washington

Eight attorneys who comprised the Washington office of Murphy & King PC have joined the intellectual-property practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP.

The group of three partners, three counsel and two associates includes partner Edward A. Pennington, who will head the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice.

The team, which also includes Stephanie Scruggs and Sid Pandit, focuses on patent litigation, patent licensing, due diligence associated with intellectual-property transfers, and opinion work.

Smith, Gambrell has more than 180 attorneys with seven offices in the U.S. and Frankfurt.


Boies Likens Takeover of AIG to Fire Department Seizing Property

David Boies, the attorney suing the U.S. over American International Group Inc.’s bailout, said the firm’s takeover was an abuse of authority similar to firefighters seizing possessions they rescued from a flood.

“The fire and rescue people say we’re going to cart them out, we’re going to protect them, but we’re going to take 80 percent of them for the firehouse,” Boies said in an interview yesterday on CNBC. “Everybody would know that was wrong. It’s also illegal.”

AIG opted Jan. 11 against joining former Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg in a $25 billion lawsuit that says the U.S. violated shareholders’ rights by taking over AIG in 2008 in a bailout designed to save the economy from collapse. CEO Robert Benmosche said the company is working to distance itself from the rescue and serve clients.

“There are limits to what the government can demand in return for” rescue loans, said Boies, who represents Greenberg’s Starr International Co. “What it cannot demand, as a court in Washington, D.C. has already ruled, is that the company give up its equity.”

Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, said he plans to take depositions from Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He said he won’t sue New York-based AIG over the board’s decision to reject Greenberg’s suit.

The lawyer said the government made the right move to extend credit to stabilize the company and had no need, or legal authority, to seize equity, because the loans were secured by the insurer’s assets. The U.S initially took a stake of 80 percent, and the holding climbed to 92 percent as the aid package swelled to $182.3 billion. The insurer repaid the assistance last year.


Schulte Roth Represents Cerberus-Led Group in Supervalu Deal

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP represented a Cerberus Capital Management LP-led investor group that agreed to acquire Supervalu Inc.’s Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores in a deal valued at about $3.3 billion.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal adviser to Supervalu.

Schulte Roth’s partners included Stuart Freedman, Robert Loper and John Pollack, mergers and acquisitions; Alan Waldenberg and Kurt Rosell, tax; Michael Littenberg, securities regulation; Ronald Risdon, finance; Ronald Richman and Laurence Moss, employee benefits; Robert Kiesel, intellectual property; Howard Epstein, environmental and insurance; Michael Swartz and Peter Halasz, antitrust; and Jeffrey Lenobel, Marshall Brozost and Julian Wise, real estate.

Wachtell Lipton’s team was led by corporate partners David M. Silk and Igor Kirman. Additional partners include DongJu Song, corporate; Michael J. Segal, executive compensation and benefits; and Deborah L. Paul, tax.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advised Greenhill & Co., financial adviser to Supervalu. The Davis Polk corporate team includes New York partner Paul R. Kingsley. New York partner Charles S. Duggan is providing litigation advice.

Cerberus also will lead a group to conduct a tender offer to buy as much as 30 percent of Supervalu’s common stock for $4 a share in cash, the companies said yesterday in a statement. After the transactions are completed, Sam Duncan, the former chairman and chief executive officer of OfficeMax Inc., will become CEO of Supervalu, replacing Wayne Sales, the companies said.

The third-largest U.S. grocery chain has eliminated jobs and accelerated price cuts at stores as it struggles to keep pace with discounters including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. Supervalu sales have fallen for three straight years and are forecast to drop 4.5 percent to $34.5 billion in its fiscal 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The sale leaves Supervalu with the Save-A-Lot chain, the company’s largest with about 1,300 stores across the country, as well as the Cub, Farm Fresh, Shoppers, Shop ’n Save and Hornbacher’s regional chains.

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Partners Make Lateral Moves in London, Sydney, Hong Kong

In the U.K., Squire Sanders LLP appointed Steven Norris, formerly a partner and national head of regulated procurement at DLA Piper LLP, as a partner in its regulatory practice.

Norris will be based in the Birmingham office, where he will expand the firm’s global procurement practice, spending time in London and Washington, Squire Sanders said.

Norris has advised the Olympic Delivery Authority on procurement issues tied to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Transport for London on its traffic-congestion charging project and the U.K. Department of Health on its National Programme for IT, which was the world’s largest civil IT procurement project, the firm said.

Winston & Strawn LLP hired Joe Tirado as co-chairman of its international arbitration practice. He joined the London office from Norton Rose LLP, where he was head of international arbitration.

Donna Goldsworthy, an international commercial litigator, joined Cozen O’Connor’s London office. She will be a member of the commercial litigation and arbitration group.

K&L Gates LLP welcomed Andrea P. Beatty as a corporate partner in the Sydney office. She is the first new partner to join K&L Gates since the firm’s Jan. 1 combination with Australian firm Middletons. She was previously at HWL Ebsworth.

Goodwin Procter LLP hired Gloria Liu in the firm’s business law department in Hong Kong as a partner. Liu, who was a senior associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison LLP, joins Goodwin’s private-equity and merger and acquisition practices.

She will focus her practice on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, and foreign investment into China.

U.S. Lateral Partner Moves: Loeb & Loeb, Mayer Brown, Gardere

In Chicago, Loeb & Loeb LLP said William J. Kramer joined the firm’s patent litigation and counseling practice as a partner. Most recently, he was a partner at Miller Matthias & Hull in Chicago, where he served as head of the computer science department.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Deis joined Mayer Brown LLP’s litigation and dispute resolution practice and the white-collar defense and compliance group as a partner in the Chicago office.

Lucosky Brookman LLP, a corporate finance and securities law firm, said that Scott C. Kline joined as a partner and will open its first office on the West Coast in Los Angeles.

Before joining Lucosky Brookman, Kline was a partner in the corporate finance and Asia practice groups in the Los Angeles office of Blank Rome LLP. Kline will head Lucosky’s foreign direct investment practice group. He has lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for several years while at Blank Rome and as a partner and chief representative of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman LLP’s Shanghai office.

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP announced the addition of Scott D. Deatherage as a partner in its Dallas office. Deatherage, who focuses his practice on environmental, energy and greenhouse-gas regulatory matters, was previously with Patton Boggs LLP.


Bill on Bankruptcy: Fee Puts Law Firm in Trustee’s Sights

Law firm Kaye Scholer LLP and financial adviser Capstone Advisory Group LLC are in the sights of a U.S. Trustee aiming to claw back $12 million for an undisclosed agreement to share fees awarded in the now-completed bankruptcy of GSC Group Inc. according to Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle.

The effort by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to avoid real estate recording taxes and AMR Corp.’s admission that the holding company may be solvent are the next topics of conversation. Rochelle provides a rundown on bankruptcy filings statistics for 2012 showing another dramatic decline in all categories including individual, corporate, and small business. The video ends with discussion of important decisions in the cases for Sentinel Management Group Inc. and Hostess Brands Inc.

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