Kramer Levin Names Litigation Co-Head: Business of Law

Barry H. Berke was named co-chairman of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s 90-lawyer litigation department alongside longtime Chairman Gary P. Naftalis.

Berke’s clients include SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Michael Steinberg, who was arrested in a probe of insider trading at the firm. Berke also represented Robert Craig Brubaker, a certified public accountant who formerly worked as a client adviser at a Deutsche Bank AG unit and was acquitted in December of charges over a tax-shelter scheme.

Berke also successfully represented Bear Stearns Cos., in the criminal investigation and civil proceedings arising from the collapse of two investment funds, and former American International Group Inc. director David Pinkerton, who won dismissal of federal bribery charges in 2008.

“Barry is one of the leading trial lawyers in the country and has a proven track record of successfully navigating complex and highly publicized litigation on behalf of his clients,” Paul S. Pearlman, Kramer Levin’s managing partner, said in a statement. “His ability to develop creative strategies and find innovative solutions in a wide range of cases makes him a natural leader for our litigation department and we’re delighted to have him assume this role.”

Naftalis, who is also co-chairman of the firm, has 40 years of trial experience and has had such prominent clients as Ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta and Kenneth Langone, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Compensation Committee.

“I am honored to be moving into this role at the firm and feel extremely fortunate to work with such extraordinarily talented lawyers,” Berke said in a statement.

Kramer Levin has offices in New York, Silicon Valley and Paris.


Kasowitz IP Head Joins Latham With Three Other Partners

Four intellectual-property litigators formerly with Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP joined Latham & Watkins LLP as partners in the litigation department.

Douglas E. Lumish, who led Kasowitz’s IP practice group, along with Jeffrey Homrig and Gabriel S. Gross, will be based in Latham’s Silicon Valley office. Michael E. Eisenberg will be based in New York, Latham said in a statement.

“This is a tightly knit group of collegial practitioners with a strong track record of trying and winning high-stakes patent cases for blue chip technology companies,” Max Grant, global co-chairman of Latham’s intellectual-property litigation practice, said in the statement.

Lumish has experience trying patent cases involving diverse technologies. Homrig has represented technology companies in high-stakes patent cases. Gross has tried cases before juries involving patent and copyright infringement. Eisenberg represented clients in patent litigation in industries including semiconductors and computer hardware and software, the firm said.

Latham has been striving to build its IP practice and in the past three years has brought on 15 patent litigation partners in the Northern California, Washington and New York offices, the firm said.

“I know my colleagues agree that we are excited about the opportunity to join Latham & Watkins, a firm with the resources, global platform and culture that will enable us to take our practices to a higher level,” Lumish said in a statement. “We were particularly attracted by the commitment of the firm and its IP practice to build a premier trial team.”

The IP litigation practice at Latham now has more than 100 attorneys, including 35 partners. Latham has about 2,000 attorneys in 31 offices worldwide.

M&A Lawyer Lutz Englisch Joins Gibson Dunn in Munich

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP announced that Lutz Englisch, formerly Ashurst LLP’s German head of corporate, will join the firm’s Munich office as a partner.

“Lutz is an experienced M&A attorney with an exceptional reputation in the Munich and German corporate market,” Ken Doran, chairman and managing partner of Gibson Dunn, said in a statement.  “He has 20 years of experience in handling German and international corporate and M&A transactions, and his arrival will enhance our ability to serve our corporate clients locally and around the world.”

Englisch focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions. He also has experience advising on corporate law, including stock corporation law, transformation law, equity capital markets transactions, public takeovers and joint ventures, the firm said.

Gibson Dunn has more than 1,100 lawyers and 18 offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

DLA Piper Adds Kirkland Patent and IP Litigators in Chicago

Patent and IP litigators Paul Steadman and Matthew Satchwell joined DLA Piper LLP in the Chicago office. They were previously partners at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Steadman works primarily on complex patent, trade secret, trademark, copyright and other IP-related litigation matters. Satchwell advises clients in the software, semiconductor, mobile communications devices, automotive device, power electronics, medical device, and communications technology markets, the firm said in a statement.

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

Allen & Overy Strengthens London Antitrust Group

Allen & Overy LLP appointed Alasdair Balfour as a partner in its London antitrust group. He was previously at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Balfour advises clients on U.K. and European Union antitrust matters, with a focus on cross-border merger control, cartel work and other antitrust infringements.

Allen & Overy has 512 partners in 42 offices worldwide.

Sheppard Mullin’s Labor and Employment Group Adds Arbetter

Brian Arbetter, previously of Baker & McKenzie LLP, joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the labor and employment practice group in Chicago along with a senior associate. He will also spend time in the firm’s Los Angeles offices, the firm said.

Arbetter has experience advising and developing strategy for multinational companies regarding labor and employment issues in the U.S. and abroad, the firm said in a statement.

Sheppard Mullin has 630 attorneys in 16 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Trademark Attorney Joins Ulmer & Berne in Chicago

Ulmer & Berne LLP added trademark attorney Thomas Williams as a partner in its intellectual property and technology practice in the firm’s Chicago office. Williams was previously at Winston & Strawn LLP.

“Tom’s history of servicing the trademark-related needs of companies with large and highly sophisticated trademark portfolios meshes ideally with our existing capabilities,” Eric M. Robbins, chairman of Ulmer & Berne’s intellectual property and technology practice, said in a statement.

Williams manages prosecution and maintenance of trademark portfolios and litigates trademark disputes. He has experience representing clients in all aspects of trademark law, including non-traditional marks and trade dress.

Ulmer & Berne has more than 185 attorneys in offices in Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

Davis Wright Adds Environmental and Energy Partners

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP added environmental litigator Gerald F. George, previously at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, as a partner in the San Francisco office. The firm also added energy lawyers Mark L. Perlis, from Dickstein Shapiro LLP, and Glenn S. Benson, from Perkins Coie LLP, to the Washington office as partners.

George has litigated complex environmental cases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Clean Water Act, the firm said. He has also represented international mining companies on the resolution of response cost and NRD claims.

Perlis focuses his practice on representation of the electric utility industry, particularly in industry restructuring. Benson works with the energy industry to achieve solutions to regulatory challenges and issues throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada and Eastern Europe, the firm said.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP has about 500 lawyers at nine offices in the U.S. and Shanghai.


With Radical Changes, Law Firms Can Beat Recession

Just as legal process outsourcers are stealing business from law firms today by doing it cheaper, they too will face pressure in the coming years from technologies that can do the the job even for even less, law firm consultant Richard Susskind tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

Law firms still may ultimately come out on top, he says. But lawyers will need to be trained to build those technologies and processes, not just to counsel clients one-on-one, according to Susskind. Attorneys must become legal knowledge engineers, risk managers, project managers and process analysts -- jobs which are “wildly different from what people expect when they go to law school,” he says.

Susskind also talks about what kinds of law firms are already following his advice, and which will probably be most harmed by the legal technology of the future.

This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.

Businessweek Reporter: BigLaw Is “Crash Landing”

Paul Barrett, assistant managing editor and senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia that Big Law is currently experiencing “a very difficult crash landing that is taking place now and will persist for at least another several more years.”

While acknowledging that the 2008 recession was partly to blame for the slowdown, Barrett sees the current situation compounded by the bursting of a bubble among large law firms that hired too many lawyers and entered into ill-advised mergers. We are seeing the reckoning from overkill that built up over many years, he says.

This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.


Lutz Says Mark-to-Market Proposal Could Affect Structured Notes

John Lutz, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, says that Republican Representative David Camp’s proposal to mark derivatives to market for individual investors could have profound effects on the structured note industry, should it become law and take effect Dec. 31. Lutz spoke to Kevin Dugan by phone and e-mail from his office in New York.

To read the Q & A, click here.

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