Troutman Sanders, Duane Morris, Weil: Business of Law

Troutman Sanders LLP expanded its white collar and government investigations practice with the addition of partner Sharie A. Brown in the firm’s Washington office. She was previously co-chair of DLA Piper LLP’s FCPA, anti-corruption and corporate compliance practice group, Troutman Sanders said in a statement.

Brown represents clients in the areas of corporate compliance, ethics and governance, as well as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, USA Patriot Act, and trade sanctions laws and regulations.

Before DLA Piper, she chaired the white collar defense and corporate compliance group at Foley & Lardner LLP. Before that, she worked as an ethics and compliance officer at Mobil Oil Corp.’s Office of General Counsel,

Troutman Sanders has more than 600 lawyers at 15 offices in the U.S. and Asia.

DLA Piper Hires Cross-Border Litigator Cedric Chao

Cedric Chao, former co-chairman of the international litigation and arbitration practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP, joined DLA Piper LLP’s litigation practice as a partner in the San Francisco office.

Chao has been lead counsel in matters before U.S. trial judges and juries, international arbitration tribunals and appellate courts, the firm said in a statement.

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

Duane Morris Adds Government Affairs and Gaming Law Lawyer

Duane Morris LLP said Paul P. Josephson joined the firm’s trial practice group as a partner in New Jersey. Josephson, who will work also at the firm’s government affairs affiliate DMGS, will be based in both the Cherry Hill and Newark offices.

Josephson was previously at Hill Wallack LLP, where he led the regulatory and government affairs and gaming law practice groups and founded its government affairs/media affiliate, Government Process Solutions LLC, Duane Morris said in a statement.

Josephson represents clients in business matters, usually involving public interests or regulated by government agencies, the firm said. He also represents clients in casinos and gaming matters, including lottery, horseracing, Internet and sweepstakes issues.

Josephson was director, division of law, for the New Jersey attorney general’s office and chief counsel to the governor, the firm said.

Duane Morris has more than 700 attorneys at 24 offices as across the U.S. and internationally.

Cooley Adds Boston Partner in Technology Transactions Group

Cooley LLP hired Matthew A. Karlyn in the business department as a partner and a member of its technology transactions practice group in Boston. Karlyn joins the firm from Foley & Lardner LLP, where he was a partner in the information technology and outsourcing practice, as well as its privacy, security and information management practice, the firm said in a statement.

Karlyn has experience handling technology transactions and outsourcing.

Cooley has 700 attorneys at 12 offices in the U.S. and Shanghai.


Obama Pushes Republicans to Drop Hurdles to Judicial Nominations

President Barack Obama is pressing Republicans to stop obstructing federal judicial nominees, protesting the delays in private conversations with senators and in public declarations by administration officials.

The White House is now focusing on the nomination of Sri Srinivasan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, considered the nation’s second-most influential court because it often handles major environmental, labor and national security cases through its jurisdiction over federal rulemaking. Srinivasan’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 10.

At luncheon meetings with Senate and House Republicans and at a dinner with a dozen senators last month, Obama pushed against a partisan strategy to block potential future candidates for the Supreme Court earlier in their careers when they are nominated for lower courts, said an administration official, who requested anonymity.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney went to the White House podium this week to complain about “the uniqueness” and “arbitrariness” of the delays Obama’s nominees have faced.

The latest example was Caitlin Halligan, a former New York state solicitor general whose nomination for an appellate judgeship was withdrawn last month amid Republican opposition. She joins Goodwin Liu, an appellate court candidate considered a potential pick by Obama to be the Supreme Court’s first Asian-American justice, who was blocked in the Senate in 2011.

During Obama’s first term, the number of appeals court vacancies rose to 17 from 14 when he took office in January, 2009, according to an analysis by Russell Wheeler, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. During Bush’s first term, appeals court vacancies declined to 18 on his second inauguration from 27 when he was first sworn into office.

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Promontory Adds SEC’s Schapiro to Roster of Ex-Regulators

Mary Schapiro, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission until December, joined Promontory Financial Group LLC as a managing director and chairman of the firm’s governance and markets practice.

Schapiro, 57, will advise clients on risk management and corporate governance, Washington-based Promontory said yesterday in a statement.

Appointed by President Barack Obama, Schapiro took over at the SEC in 2009, after the financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co. on the agency’s watch. She won praise from a predecessor, Harvey Pitt, for helping to restore the agency’s credibility, while other regulators said she failed to hold banks accountable and manage policy divides among commissioners.

“At Promontory I join a team of highly experienced professionals who work with clients to meet regulatory and investor expectations while advancing the evolving norms for corporate governance and regulatory compliance,” Schapiro said in the statement. “This is important not only to companies, but also to our markets and to global prosperity.”

Schapiro adds to the ranks of former top regulators at Promontory, which was founded by Eugene Ludwig, former head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The firm, which hired OCC chief counsel Julie Williams this year, drew criticism from lawmakers after it helped banks settle allegations of faulty foreclosures.

Qatari Sheikh Sued for $381,000 in Unpaid Fees by U.K. Law Firm

A member of the Qatari royal family was sued by SJ Berwin LLP for 250,600 pounds ($381,000) in unpaid fees for advice given in relation to orders by judges in the U.S. and U.K. freezing his assets.

Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani, a cousin of the Emir of Qatar, was sued for 4.1 million pounds in the U.K. by London auction house Bonhams 1793 Ltd. and $22 million in the U.S. by rare coin specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd., SJ Berwin said in court documents filed Feb. 20 and released last month.

Al-Thani was head of the country’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage and is a “significant collector of valuable antiques and fine art,” SJ Berwin said.

Al-Thani successfully bid on coins including a $3.25 million single gold piece from the Ancient Greek city of Pantikapaion that bears the head of a bearded satyr last year, according to the Oct. 9 lawsuit filed in Washington, by A.H. Baldwin, M&M Numismatics LLC of Washington and Dmitry Markov Coins and Medals of New York.

Nicola Bridge, a lawyer at SJ Berwin who signed the court filings, declined to comment through a firm spokeswoman. A London phone number for Al-Thani appeared to have been disconnected.

The U.K. case, filed Sept. 27 by Bonhams, isn’t publicly available and Julian Roup, a spokesman for the auction house, declined to comment on the suit. A London judge froze Al-Thani’s global assets on Oct. 2, SJ Berwin said in the court documents, without saying how much the freezing order was for.

Al-Thani pledged the world’s most expensive watch and other collectibles valued at almost $83 million to Sotheby’s to cover debts owed to the auction house, according to court documents filed at the New York Department of State in October.


Obagi Medical Surges on Takeover Offer: Weil Advises Bidder

Obagi Medical Products Inc., a maker of prescription skin care products, rose the most in almost two weeks after getting a competing offer from closely held Merz Pharma Group to buy the company for $380 million.

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP is providing outside legal counsel to Merz. The team includes Silicon Valley mergers and acquisitions partners Keith Flaum and James Griffin, as well as New York partners Michael Epstein, technology and IP transactions; Paul Wessel, executive compensation and employee benefits; and Helyn Goldstein, tax.

Shares of Long Beach, California-based Obagi rose 16 percent to $22.88, topping Frankfurt-based Merz Pharma’s offer of $22 a share. It was the biggest gain since March 20, when Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said it had agreed to buy Obagi for $19.75 a share in cash, or about $360 million.

“The Obagi Board of Directors will evaluate Merz Pharma’s offer and the merger terms consistent with its fiduciary and legal duties,” the company said in a statement announcing the offer, which it said was unsolicited.

Obagi’s biggest product is Nu-Derm, an anti-aging treatment. The product had about $62 million in sales last year.