Bingham, Dentons, Freshfields, Jones Day: Business of Law

Bingham McCutchen LLP expanded its global intellectual property, litigation and life sciences practices with a five-partner group from DLA Piper LLP.

Richard de Bodo, co-chairman of DLA Piper’s patent litigation and life sciences practices, will serve as co-chair of Bingham’s intellectual property and life sciences practice groups.

The additional partners joining from DLA are Siegmund Gutman, Andrew Devkar, Olga Berson and Bruce Kuyper.

“Rich, Siegmund, Andrew, Olga and Bruce comprise a nationally known, first-tier patent litigation team that will immediately enhance our IP, life sciences and technology capabilities in California, throughout the United States and globally,” Bingham Chairman Jay Zimmerman said in a statement. “Their cutting-edge patent litigation practice perfectly complements our existing IP practice as well as our Japan practice, which includes more than 70 lawyers in Tokyo. It’s a strong and ideal fit.”

De Bodo litigates patent and trade secret disputes relating to pharmaceuticals, biologics, biotechnology, electronics, software and Internet technology. Gutman’s practice focuses on developing and executing market exclusivity and freedom-to-operate strategies for biologics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients, the firm said.

Devkar has a computer science background and has litigated patent cases across industries. Berson has litigated patent cases relating to life sciences, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, including district court cases and Section 337 actions before the International Trade Commission. Kuyper has experience in intellectual property litigation, principally patent infringement litigation relating to electronics, semiconductors, and wireless technologies, the firm said.

“We feel our biologics and electronics practice will develop and grow at Bingham, and our clients will be very well served,” de Bodo said in a statement. “Our Japanese clients will benefit enormously from Bingham’s outstanding Japanese office and practice.”

DLA Piper declined to comment on the departures.

Bingham has approximately 1,000 lawyers in 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Dentons Hires Six White Collar Partners From Husch Blackwell

A six-partner white collar and government investigations team from Husch Blackwell LLP will join Dentons LLP April 15.

Stephen L. Hill Jr., a former U.S. attorney in the Western District of Missouri, Patrick McInerney, Lisa Krigsten, Steven Aaron, Maxwell Carr-Howard and Angela Harse join the firm’s Kansas City, Missouri, office as partners, along with an associate.

“With their vast range of experience and their deep roots in the Midwest, this distinguished group is a valuable addition to our Kansas City team,” John Snyder, Dentons’ Kansas City managing partner, said in a statement.

Hill, who led Husch Blackwell’s government compliance, investigations and litigation department, represents companies, boards and people in investigation and litigation matters, particularly involving securities enforcement, the firm said.

McInerney concentrates on government compliance, investigation and litigation. Krigsten is a former federal prosecutor who represents individuals and corporate leadership nationally in government investigations and litigation, the firm said.

Aaron has more than 20 years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, business and commercial disputes, health-care matters and government investigations. Carr-Howard assists companies with internal investigations of potential criminal conduct, including public and private corruption, import/export violations and breaches of U.S. economic sanctions. Harse concentrates in white collar criminal defense, according to Dentons.

Dentons, a firm recently formed by the combination of SNR Dentons, Salans and Fraser Milner Casgrain, has more than 2,500 lawyers and professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries.

Freshfields Adds Boies Schiller Partner Friedrich in Washington

Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP partner Matthew Friedrich, formerly the acting head of the criminal division of the U.S. Justice Department, joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP as a partner in the U.S. litigation practice in Washington.

At Freshfields, Friedrich will focus on white collar investigations and related litigation for public companies and financial institutions. With his appointment, the firm has 16 partners and a total of 83 lawyers in its U.S. litigation practice.

“Matt bolsters the Washington arm of what is now truly one of the world’s leading international white collar defense practices and brings us important new expertise in the fields of national security and foreign investment,” Christopher Pugh, the firm’s global head of litigation, said in a statement. “With experienced investigations lawyers in the key commercial centers of the world, we are providing our clients with seamless global representation in complex multijurisdictional investigations.”

Friedrich was previously an assistant attorney general for the criminal division, where he led 740 people and handled financial fraud, intellectual property, cybersecurity and the review of cross-border transactions by the Committee on Foreign Investment, the firm said.

He also served as chairman of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and as a member of the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force, the firm said. Prior to his appointment as head of the criminal division, Friedrich was deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

Freshfields has more than 2,500 lawyers at 28 offices worldwide.

Lateral Partner Wrap-Up: Jones Day, Bird & Bird, Sidley

Corporate partner Philipp Grzimek will join Jones Day’s Frankfurt office, and intellectual property partner Jakob Guhn is joining the firm’s Dusseldorf, Germany, office. Grzimek was previously at Hogan Lovells LLP, while Guhn joins from Field Fisher Waterhouse. In the past 15 months, Jones Day said it has almost doubled the number of partners in its German offices by adding 18 lateral and up-through-the-ranks lawyers to the partnership.

Bird & Bird LLP added Leo Fattorini to its international aviation group as a partner in the Singapore office. He most recently was a lawyer with Virgin Atlantic, the firm said.

Sidley Austin LLP expanded its Asia Pacific presence with the addition of Tom Deegan to the global energy practice as a partner in Hong Kong. He was previously at Simmons & Simmons LLP.


S&P Prosecutor’s Stalled Nomination Is Bump in Fast-Track Career

The U.S. Justice Department suit against Standard & Poor’s has entered a phase where lawyers spend months arguing over procedure, and progress is slim. Tony West, who’s overseeing the case, knows the feeling: His nomination to become the agency’s No. 3 official has been blocked for half a year, Bloomberg News’ Phil Mattingly reports.

West has run financial-crime prosecutions, led efforts to crack down on health-care fraud and navigated legal thickets ranging from the rights of gay partners to Guantanamo detainees. He once defended the “American Taliban” and raised millions for President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Now, as his nomination to become associate attorney general is held up in the U.S. Senate in part over a lawmaker’s questions about his role atop the department’s civil division, West, 47, faces a hurdle in a career that has been on the fast track since he worked on election campaigns as a grade-schooler.

“People always said he’d be president one day -- and they didn’t mean of the student body,” said Jude Barry, who was a senior during West’s freshman year at Bellarmine College Preparatory high school in San Jose, California.

From judicial appointments and financial regulators to cabinet officials, Senate Democrats have struggled to overcome the scrutiny and holds that the chamber’s Republicans have placed on Obama’s nominees. West, first nominated to move to associate attorney general from the civil division in September 2012, hasn’t received a hearing.

Still, the “acting” tag on his title has done little to slow his efforts at the Justice Department, which include a role in the $5 billion civil claims against S&P, the New York-based unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. The department, in concert with state attorneys general from around the U.S., has alleged the company knowingly inflated credit ratings for profit and market share.

West declined to comment for this story.

For more, click here.

Saudi Arabia Recognizes First Female Lawyer, Al-Hayat Reports

The Saudi Ministry of Justice granted a trainee lawyer identification certificate to Arwa al-Hujaili as a step toward obtaining a license to practice law after two to three years of experience, the newspaper Al-Hayat reported. Any female lawyer meeting requirements may apply for a license, Al-Hayat said, citing the ministry.

Accounting Fraud Filings Drop With Chinese Reverse Merger Cases

Accounting class-action filings fell to 45 in 2012 from 78 the year before because of a decrease in Chinese reverse merger cases, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research.

Although new cases declined, accounting class-action settlements represented more than 90 percent of settlement dollars for securities class actions in 2012, the survey found.

“Despite the ups and downs in accounting case filings and settlements, we continue to see that these cases are less likely to be dismissed, take longer to resolve and make up a much greater proportion of settlement dollars than non-accounting cases,” Elaine Harwood, vice president of Cornerstone Research, said in a statement.

Allegations of internal control weaknesses increased by almost 45 percent of all settled cases in 2012 from 34 percent in 2011, Cornerstone said. Financial-statement restatement cases made up about one in three new cases, the survey found. Harwood said she expected the trends to persist.

To see the survey, click here.