Sheppard Mullin, BakerHostetler, Cornell: Business of Law

Scott J. Palmer joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the firm’s intellectual property practice group in Beijing. Palmer joins from Baker & McKenzie LLP in Beijing, where he led the firm’s Beijing IP practice.

Palmer manages IP portfolios for multinational companies, and advises complex IP litigation in China, the firm said in a statement. He also handles trademark/copyright registration and enforcement strategy, as well as anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy activities in the PRC.

“Scott’s broad-based IP and brand protection practice dovetails well with the firm’s existing expertise and expands our IP capabilities in China. He is a significant addition to our Beijing office and to our IP practice, as part of our strategic goal of adding attorneys with thriving practices who are also proven leaders and builders,” Guy N. Halgren, chairman of Sheppard Mullin, said in a statement.

Sheppard Mullin’s intellectual property practice group includes 90 attorneys firm-wide. The firm has 20 attorneys based in its Beijing and Shanghai offices.

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

BakerHostetler Adds Litigation Partner in Costa Mesa, California

J. David Bournazian joined Baker & Hostetler LLP’s litigation group as a partner in its Costa Mesa, California, office. He joins from Kutak Rock LLP.

Bournazian focuses his practice in business litigation, with an emphasis on employment, health-care and real estate law. He also has experience in complex business negotiations, the firm said in a statement.

Bournazian previously worked in the White House, overseeing NASA and Drug Enforcement Administration budgets and obtaining Congressional approval for presidential programs, the firm said. He was also previously general counsel for architects Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners LLP.

“David is an outstanding addition to our national litigation group,” W. Ray Whitman, chairman of BakerHostetler’s litigation group, said in a statement. “His skills as a trial lawyer and broad experience in employment, healthcare and real estate enhance our deep bench of lawyers who are helping clients grow and protect their businesses in a complex business and regulatory environment.”

BakerHostetler has more than 800 attorneys at 11 U.S. offices.


Holder Starved of U.S. Justice Deputies as Obama Nominees Stall

A combination of executive and congressional inaction has left U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder without permanent appointees in at least six top positions inside the Justice Department, even as he faces increased criticism from U.S. lawmakers.

Holder, a cabinet holdover from President Barack Obama’s first term, lacks Senate-confirmed heads atop three of the agency’s eight divisions. The confirmed leaders of two others are in the process of departing. His legislative and legal policy offices also are without Senate-confirmed officeholders.

The leadership vacuum highlights a problem that has plagued federal agencies during the Obama administration, as a lengthy vetting process and Republican roadblocks leave key positions unfilled, according to current and former congressional and Justice Department officials.

“It’s a toxic combination of the unwillingness of people to go through the process, the extra layer of scrutiny potential nominees are facing on Capitol Hill and in the White House, and the willingness of Republicans to block just about any nominee,” said Jim Manley, a former senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I don’t know whether the Lord Himself could get confirmed at this point.”

Holder, 62, also will soon be without Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, who departs in September after 12 years on the job. The administration may name his successor, who must also face Senate scrutiny, in the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with the decision who asked for anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss personnel deliberations.

For more, click here.

Cornell Law School Looking for New Dean to Replace Schwab

Cornell’s law school is looking for a new dean to replace Stewart J. Schwab, who will leave in June 2014, the school said in a statement.

Schwab, who was appointed dean in 2004, is extending his second term, which ends in December, while the school undertakes a nationwide search to fill the position.

During his leadership, the school has grown its faculty and expanded its business law curriculum with new deals and transactional law classes, the school said. It has also begun new programs such as the Clarke Business Law Institute, the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative and the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice. The school has created new clinical studies programs in securities law, labor law, LGBT rights and juvenile justice, under his leadership.

“Cornell Law has a collegial faculty that sees the best in each other; students who are talented, hardworking and enjoy learning the law; and loyal alumni who lead lives of distinction and are dedicated to improving the school,” Schwab said in a statement.

Senior Vice Provost John Siliciano, a member of the Law School faculty who has led most of the university’s dean-level searches in recent years, will head the search committee for the new dean.

Schwab, who has been a faculty member of the Law School since 1983, will return to teaching after a sabbatical in 2014-15.

Firm News

DLA Piper Hires Ex-Spain Prime Minister Aznar as Adviser

DLA Piper LLP hired former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a special adviser to the firm’s global board. He’ll advise the firm and clients on international regulatory and government affairs issues, with a special focus on South and Latin America, the firm said in an e-mail.

Tony Angel and Lee Miller are co-chairmen of the firm’s global board. Frank Burch and Senator George Mitchell are chairmen emeritus.

The firm has offices in Caracas, Mexico City, São Paulo. Chicago partner Stuart M. Berkson chairs DLA Piper’s global Latin America practice.

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

Lehman Brokerage Trustee Seeks Fees, Expenses of $37.5 Million

The law firm of the trustee liquidating the Lehman Brothers Inc. brokerage asked a judge to approve fees and expenses of $37.5 million for the period from July 1 through February 28.

A bankruptcy judge previously approved $212.7 million in fees and expenses for James Giddens and the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP for the four-and-a-half years since September 2008, according to a federal court filing in Manhattan yesterday. Giddens hasn’t yet told brokerage customers when they will be paid.


Ex-SAC Manager Martoma to Get Documents From SEC, Judge Says

Mathew Martoma, the former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager charged in what prosecutors say is the biggest insider-trading scheme in history, will get documents from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its related civil case, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero agreed May 24 to Martoma’s request to get evidence from the SEC while the criminal case goes forward. Marrero denied, for now, Martoma’s request to take pretrial testimony from witnesses.

Martoma’s new lawyer, Richard Strassberg, a partner at Goodwin Proctor LLP, making his first court appearance for his client May 24, complained to Marrero that the SEC’s attempts to delay the case were unfair.

“The SEC chose to file this case, it had a press conference where it attacked Mr. Martoma and it attacked his actions, but now they come to court and say ‘Wait,’” Strassberg told the judge. “It’s really an unfair position to be taking.”

SEC lawyer Charles Riely said the agency has evidence from CR Intrinsic, the unit of Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC that employed Martoma, drugmaker Elan Corp., whose stock Martoma is charged with trading in illegally, and other third parties including telephone companies. In paper form, the evidence would more than fill a conference room, Riely said.

“We did choose to bring this case and it’s our statutory duty to enforce securities laws,” he told Marrero.

Martoma wasn’t present at the hearing. His wife, Rosemary Martoma, watched from the front row of the public gallery.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe, who’s overseeing the criminal case, has scheduled a court conference June 5 in which he may set a trial date.

The civil case is SEC v. Martoma, 12-cv-08466; and the criminal case is U.S. v. Martoma, 12-00973, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.