Hogan Lovells, White & Case, McDermott: Business of Law

Two lawyers who shared leadership of UnitedHealth Group’s legal department are rejoining Hogan Lovells LLP in Minneapolis, where the law firm plans to open a new office.

Corporate lawyer Christopher J. Walsh was executive vice president and general counsel as well as executive vice president and chief legal officer of Optum, the company’s health-services businesses.

Mitchell E. Zamoff served as executive vice president and general counsel and executive vice president and chief legal officer for UnitedHealthcare, the company’s health-benefits businesses.

As co-leader of the company’s legal department, Zamoff was responsible primarily for government and internal investigations, litigation, and compliance and regulatory matters. Walsh was responsible primarily for Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, capital markets and employment, the firm said. They led the UHG legal department during the debate over health-care reform and the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Walsh, who was a partner in the Denver office of predecessor firm Hogan & Hartson from 2000 to 2007, joins the corporate practice group. Zamoff was a partner in the Washington office and formerly director of the litigation practice group and deputy chairman of the firm’s white-collar and government investigations group. He joins the litigation, arbitration and employment practice group. In addition, Norm Coleman, a Minnesota senator from 2003 to 2009, currently in the Washington office, will also be resident in the new Minneapolis office.

“We are focused on Minneapolis because it is a dynamic market, and home to more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies as well as several of our largest clients,” the firm said in an e-mail. “While we don’t yet have an office in the city, we are exploring space and expect to secure a more permanent location in the coming months.”

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,400 lawyers in more than 40 offices.

SNR Partner Richardson Appointed to Los Angeles Superior Court

Former SNR Denton LLP litigation partner Tony L. Richardson was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Richardson was sworn in on Dec. 31.

Richardson was a litigation and arbitration partner in SNR Denton’s Los Angeles office. He was in private practice for more than 25 years following a clerkship for U.S. District Judge David W. Williams.

SNR Denton voted to combine with international law firm Salans and Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain to create Dentons, an international law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers and professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries. The new firm will start in the first quarter of 2013.

Jackson Lewis Names Valentino Managing Partner in Long Island

Jackson Lewis LLP announced that Christopher M. Valentino assumed the role of Long Island office managing partner, succeeding Mark L. Sussman. Sussman will maintain his legal practice as a partner in the Long Island office and continue to represent employers in employment and labor matters.

Valentino joined Jackson Lewis in September 2000 as an associate. He has represented companies in traditional labor, equal employment opportunity, employment litigation and related matters. He also counsels clients in the development and implementation of preventive labor and employee relations programs.

Jackson Lewis has 750 attorneys practicing in 49 U.S. locations.


White & Case Hires in Europe: International Partner Round-Up

White & Case LLP added to its global mining and metals industry group and global financial restructuring and insolvency practice with the appointment of two new partners in Europe. In London, Rebecca Campbell joins the mining and metals group from global resources company BHP Billiton where she was in-house counsel and responsible for acquisitions, dispositions and joint ventures in the Northern Hemisphere. Celine Domenget-Morin joins the restructuring and insolvency practice in Paris, where she will lead the group alongside partners Philippe Metais and Raphael Richard. Domenget-Morin was a financial analyst at Lazard before joining the firm.

Also in London, Ashurst LLP hired Derwin Jenkinson as partner in the securities and derivatives group. He was previously at Clifford Chance LLP where he advised on capital markets and structured-debt products, with a focus infrastructure sector transactions, the firm said.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP hired Matthias Kampshoff as a partner in the restructuring and insolvency practice, based in Dusseldorf, Germany. Kampshoff, who joins from Taylor Wessing, counsels clients on corporate and bankruptcy-law related issues, and specializes in the energy, pharmaceutical and automotive sectors, the firm said.

International arbitration lawyer Yu Jin Tay is joining DLA Piper LLP as a partner this month. Yu Jin, who was responsible for leading Shearman & Sterling LLP’s international arbitration practice in Asia, joins DLA Piper’s Asia Pacific litigation and regulatory practice and will be based in the firm’s Singapore office.

Movie Lawyer Moves to Katten, IP at Fish: U.S. Partner Moves

Former Columbia Tri-Star Motion Picture Cos. President Fred Bernstein joined Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP as a partner in the entertainment and media practice. He was head of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s Los Angeles office, according to a recent firm biography, and a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP. In his former position at Columbia, he oversaw the business and operations of Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Releasing and Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International, Katten said in a statement.

Fish & Richardson PC announced that R. David Hosp and Mark S. Puzella, previously partners at Goodwin Procter LLP, joined the firm’s Boston office as principals in the IP litigation group. Among their clients are Aereo Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., Monotype Imaging Inc., and Iconics Inc. They recently served as lead counsel for the copyright litigation suit brought by the major television networks over technology that enables consumers to access over-the-air television broadcast signals, make copies of the programming, and watch it anytime on Internet-enabled devices, the firm said.

Pryor Cashman LLP hired Avram E. Morell, former special immigration counsel at Proskauer Rose LLP, as a partner in the immigration group in New York. Morell brings with him an associate and a paralegal, the firm said.

The Dallas office of K&L Gates LLP hired Mary R. Korby and T. Gregory Jackson as partners in the firm’s corporate and commercial disputes practices. Korby joins the firm from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Jackson arrives from Geary, Porter & Donovan PC.

Also in Dallas, retired appellate Justice Joseph B. Morris, who sat on the Dallas 5th District Court of Appeals from 1992 until his retirement in December, has joined Hankinson LLP as of counsel.

John P. Englert, formerly of K&L Gates, has joined Saul Ewing LLP’s Pittsburgh office as a partner in the energy, environment and utilities department.


Google Didn’t Lobby White House Over FTC Case, Lawyer Says

Google Inc. didn’t lobby the White House to persuade the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to close its antitrust case, a lawyer for the world’s biggest search-engine operator said, countering suggestions by a Microsoft Corp. lawyer that political influence had played a role.

“I am completely confident that there was no request that the White House intervene with the FTC,” the lawyer, Jonathan Jacobson of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, said during an American Bar Association panel discussion of the case Jan. 11 in Washington in response to a question from the audience.

The FTC voted 5-0 on Jan. 3 to close its 20-month investigation into whether Mountain View, California-based Google unfairly skewed its search results. The company said it would voluntarily remove restrictions on the use of its online search-advertising platform and offer companies the option of keeping their content out of Google’s search results.

The decision to close the probe without any enforcement action was a blow to competitors including Microsoft, Yelp Inc. and Expedia Inc. An alliance of such e-commerce and Web-search companies pressed the agency to bring a lawsuit, claiming Google’s dominance of Internet search, combined with the company favoring its own services in answers to consumer queries, violated antitrust laws.

Charles “Rick” Rule, a lawyer at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP who represents Microsoft, said during the discussion Jan. 11 that the decision, including the FTC’s “unprecedented and extraordinary reliance on unilateral commitments,” was “so inconsistent with antitrust precedent that it raises questions” about whether political influence was a consideration.

Rule, who said Congress should consider looking at the decision, also called on the antitrust division of the U.S. Justice Department to “pick up the job of investigating Google.” The Justice Department prosecuted a monopoly case against Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in 1998.

Former FTC Commissioner Tom Rosch, who voted with the other four commissioners to close the probe without taking action on the search-bias allegations, said during the panel discussion that he “was not contacted or lobbied by the White House or lobbyists.” Rosch left the FTC Jan. 11 upon the swearing-in of his successor, Joshua Wright.

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McDermott Partner on Private Equity’s Carried Interest

The preferential tax rates that private-equity managers pay on some profits survived Congress’s Jan. 1 budget deal. That victory may not last.

“It’s still alive,” said Andrea Whiteway, a partner at Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery LLP who works in Washington. “Carried interest is still an issue that’s on the table as far as possible revenue raisers, loophole closers.”

For private-equity managers, changes in the tax treatment of so-called carried interest may affect them more than tax increases now on the books. Congress faces a series of deadlines in the next few months over spending cuts, the debt ceiling and the annual budget. Democrats including President Barack Obama want to raise more revenue, and carried interest is an obvious candidate.

The share of profits in buyout deals, known as carried interest, is often taxed as capital gains, which receive preferential rates under the tax code compared to levies on wages. In the budget deal, lawmakers increased the top rate on long-term capital gains to 20 percent from 15 percent and the maximum rate on ordinary income to 39.6 percent from 35 percent.

The big rate differential between capital gains and ordinary income makes it likely that carried interest could lose its tax treatment, said Whiteway, who heads the practice dealing with partnerships for the McDermott law firm.

People who receive carried interest are still bracing for changes, said Jim Brown, partner in the tax group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York.

“They fear that it is on the table and they’re hopeful that it won’t come to pass,” said Brown, who specializes in the interests of investors and funds. “I would expect it would be part of the negotiations of any tax reform effort.”

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Above The Law’s Lat: Law Firms Must Get Big, Profitable or Lost

David Lat, founding editor of Above the Law, speaks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the prospects for big law firms in 2013.

While Lat sees many challenges in the U.S. economy, he is cautiously optimistic that the industry is turning a corner. Lat also talks about the recent spate of merger activity among large law firms and whether the trend will continue through 2013.

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