Weil, Debevoise, King & Spalding, Locke: Business of Law

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP advised General Electric Co. on its proposed purchase of Lufkin Industries Inc. for about $3.3 billion. Lufkin’s legal adviser was Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

The Weil team was led by corporate partners R. Jay Tabor and Danielle Do and included corporate partners Howard Chatzinoff and P.J. Himelfarb. Other partners included Kimberly Blanchard and Chayim Neubort, tax matters; Charan Sandhu, technology and IP transactions; Michael Kam, employee benefits; David Berz, environmental matters; Chip Roh and Steven Tyrrell, regulatory matters; and Samuel Zylberberg, real estate.

Bracewell’s partners include Lance W. Behnke, tax; Daniel E. Hemli, antitrust; Bruce R. Jocz, benefits; Robert S. Nichols, labor; Gary W. Orloff, Michael S. Telle, and Daniel R. Witschey, corporate; and Tim Wilkins, environmental.

The deal would bring GE technologies for the oil and gas industry as Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt raises his bet on energy.

Lufkin shareholders will receive $88.50 a share in cash, and the deal should close in the second half, GE said in a statement yesterday. The price is 38 percent more than the $63.93 close on April 5 for the Lufkin, Texas-based manufacturer.

Oil and gas is GE’s fastest-growing segment, with sales up 57 percent to $15.2 billion since 2009, and Immelt accelerated that expansion with $11 billion of purchases during a six-month period ended in 2011. Lufkin provides so-called artificial lift, which helps bring hydrocarbons to the surface in low-pressure reservoirs and boosts efficiency in naturally flowing wells.

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Ex-Prosecutor White Wins Senate Approval as New SEC Chairman

The Senate confirmed former Manhattan U.S. attorney and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP partner Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, putting her in charge of an agency that has failed to satisfy critics with its response to the financial crisis.

The Senate approved White by unanimous consent, meaning no senators objected to her appointment, as the first former prosecutor to run the SEC. She succeeds Elisse B. Walter, who has served as chairman since Mary Schapiro stepped down in December.

White overcame questions about her past work for financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and UBS AG. White, 65, will retire from Debevoise, where she earned $2.4 million last year, she said in an ethics disclosure letter.

The SEC regulates stock exchanges, brokers and money managers, and imposes penalties for violations of securities law. It has been governed by only four commissioners -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- since Schapiro left.

The addition of White means the commission, now with three Democratic appointees, could move forward more quickly with new regulations. It has been considering rules covering restrictions on money-market mutual funds, executive-pay disclosure and financial advisers to municipalities.

The commission may proceed slowly under White because she lacks a background in policy making. Her Senate nomination hearing last month yielded few details about her regulatory philosophy.

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King & Spalding Adds Ex-Justice Official to Antitrust Practice

Wendy Huang Waszmer, the former assistant chief of the New York office of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, is joining King & Spalding LLP as a partner in the firm’s New York office.

Waszmer has experience in global cartel defense, as well as government civil investigations including antitrust, False Claims Act and other matters, the law firm said. She tried the 2012 case against three former General Electric Co. bankers who were found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan of defrauding cities and the Internal Revenue Service in a bid-rigging scheme involving municipal bonds.

“Her deep knowledge of the complex issues that financial institutions face and investigative experience in a range of civil and government settings will be invaluable to our clients,” Robert E. Meadows, leader of King & Spalding’s business litigation practice said in a statement.

In her position at the Justice Department, Waszmer supervised a 40-person legal staff, led civil and criminal investigations and served as liaison with federal and state enforcement agencies in antitrust investigations, the firm said. While she was assistant chief, the office convicted every defendant it tried, the firm said.

King & Spalding has 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew Fish Joins Locke Lord

Andrew Fish, a former federal prosecutor, joined Locke Lord LLP’s New York office as a partner in its nationwide white-collar and internal-investigations practice.

Fish served in the criminal division of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office for 14 years, most recently as deputy chief of the appeals unit and previously with the securities and commodities fraud task force and the major crimes unit, the firm said in a statement.

He was trial counsel in 13 criminal jury trials, including some involving charges of insider trading and securities market manipulation, the firm said. Fish also appeared regularly before the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, where he represented the government in several insider-trading cases, including that of Raj Rajaratnam, the co-founder of Galleon Group LLC who is serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Locke Lord has more than 650 lawyers in 11 U.S. offices.

Virginia Democratic Party Official Roberts Joins Venable

Lawrence Roberts, a senior Democratic Party official and former counsel to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is joining Venable LLP as partner in the legislative group.

Roberts was campaign chairman and senior strategist for both Kaine’s 2005 gubernatorial and 2012 U.S. Senate campaigns. He also was counselor to the governor for three years. Following Kaine’s election to the Senate in 2012, Roberts became senior adviser to the transition team.

Roberts, who will work in the Washington and Tysons Corner, Virginia, offices, held key positions with the Democratic National Committee from 2009-12, first as chief of staff to the chairman and then as senior adviser to the executive director, the firm said.

Venable has more than 500 lawyers at eight U.S. offices.

Law Firms

Howrey Settles to Recover Share of Liability Insurer’s Net Worth

The trustee for Howrey LLP, a liquidating law firm, reached a settlement with the firm’s legal malpractice insurer, Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society Inc.

ALAS is an insurance company owned by the law firms it insures. The largest part of the settlement stems from Howrey’s $7.6 million share of ALAS’s net worth.

The settlement calls for ALAS to pay the trustee $1.4 million immediately, with additional payments in the same amounts in May of 2014 through 2016.

ALAS will hold back $2 million to recover the deductible Howrey is required to pay on claims. To the extent not used up, the holdback eventually will be paid to the Howrey trustee.

Howrey partners lost control of the liquidation when the bankruptcy court authorized the appointment of a Chapter 11 trustee in September 2011. The firm, once known for expertise in antitrust and intellectual property law, filed under Chapter 11 in June 2011 following an involuntary filing in April 2011.

The bankruptcy is in San Francisco, where the firm had one if its 19 offices around the world. The firm shut down in March 2011. Howrey’s main office had been in Washington. It previously was known as Howrey & Simon and Howrey Simon Arnold & White LLP. At one time, the firm had more than 700 lawyers.

The case is In re Howrey LLP, 11-bk-31376, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).


Cybersecurity Lobby Booming: How Law Firms Can Profit

In recent months, a wave of lawyers and consultants has taken to lobbying various members of the federal government on cybersecurity issues.

David Ransom, partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, talked with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about how a range of industries is concerned about the potential effects of cybersecurity legislation on their respective businesses.

“The reason you’re seeing all these lobbying registrations on this issue is just the breadth of the industries affected,” he said.

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