Seyfarth, Latham, Reed Smith, Orrick: Business of Law

Seyfarth Shaw LLP began a labor and employment practice in Australia with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. The firm hired eight labor and employment partners from three Australian law firms who will work on national and cross-border matters.

Darren Perry, Chris Gardner, Justine Turnbull, Ben Dudley and Luke Edwards join from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Rachel Bernasconi and Michael Tamvakologos came from Ashurst LLP. Henry Skene joins from Arnold Bloch Leibler.

“We are very excited about the arrival of this market-leading group of lawyers in Australia, which continues our strategy of evolving our full-service platform and aligning closely with the markets that are of the greatest strategic importance to our clients,” J. Stephen Poor, Seyfarth’s chairman and managing partner, said in a statement. “Australia remains one of the most robust and dynamic markets for workplace-related legal work.”

The new platform follows on the April announcement by Seyfarth to open a Shanghai office this summer with partner Wan Li from DLA Piper LLP. The new offices will anchor the firm’s Asia-Pacific presence, the firm said.

Seyfarth Shaw has more than 800 attorneys at 10 U.S. offices as well as in London, Shanghai and now Australia.


Cleary Advises Google on Purchase of Software Maker Waze

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advised Google Inc., which acquired map-software provider Waze Inc. to keep competitors such as Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. from eroding its lead in mobile-navigation programs. Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP advised Waze.

Terms of the deal for Waze, with offices in Israel and Palo Alto, California, weren’t disclosed in Google’s blog post announcing the purchase yesterday. The price was about $1.1 billion, a person familiar with the transaction said this week.

The Cleary Gottlieb corporate team included partners Ethan Klingsberg and Glenn McGrory. Partner Len Jacoby advised on intellectual-property matters. Partner Michael Albano advised on employee benefits and executive compensation. Partners Sheldon Alster and Jason Factor advised on tax issues. Goldfarb Seligman & Co. acted as local counsel in Israel to Google.

Steve Baglio of Gunderson led the Waze team while Nitzan Hirsch-Falk of GKH acted as local counsel in Israel.

As consumers shift to smartphones and tablets and away from personal computers, Facebook and Google are increasing efforts to court customers on the move. Waze, whose mobile app solicits input from almost 50 million users to improve directions and display traffic and road-hazard details, would provide social features for Google’s navigation tool. It may also help Google extend its dominance in maps over rival Apple.

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Latham & Watkins Hires Emerging Companies Lawyer in Los Angeles

Latham & Watkins LLP announced that Dan Burnham, formerly of Strategic Law Partners, joined the firm’s Los Angeles office as a partner in the corporate department. He will head the firm’s emerging companies practice group in Los Angeles.

Burnham has experience representing emerging companies and venture capital investors in financings, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters.

“Dan Burnham is one of the few lawyers in Los Angeles whose practice focuses exclusively on emerging companies and venture capital and who has an excellent reputation throughout the market,” Jim Beaubien, office managing partner in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “The three-mile stretch from Venice to Santa Monica, now known as ‘Silicon Beach,’ is host to numerous emerging companies and is garnering national attention.”

Latham & Watkins has about 2,000 attorneys at 31 offices in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Benefits and Compensation Attorney Joins Ballard Spahr

Employee benefits and executive compensation lawyer Diane A. Thompson joined Ballard Spahr LLP as a partner in Los Angeles, expanding the firm’s practice to the West Coast.

Thompson spent more than a decade as a partner in the compensation and benefits practice at Ernst & Young in Los Angeles, where she developed and managed a global human resources consulting division, the firm said in a statement. She will be a member of the firm’s EBEC and health care groups, its health-care reform initiative, and its business and finance department.

Thompson advises clients on complex executive compensation arrangements, including say-on-pay issues. She will also help clients develop long-term strategies for compliance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and counsel them on general compensation, retirement and benefits issues, including those arising under ERISA and tax law, the firm said.

“We have EBEC clients nationwide and we have long wanted to add a partner of Diane’s caliber in the West,” Mark Stewart, firm chairman, said in a statement. “She has the knowledge and experience we and our clients look for, so this is a terrific development.”

Ballard Spahr has more than 500 lawyers in 13 offices in the U.S.

Reed Smith Adds Turman to Labor and Employment Practice

Labor and employment lawyer L. Julius M. Turman joined Reed Smith LLP as a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. He was previously at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Turman has represented and advised management-side clients on discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, trade secret, unfair competition issues, and wage-and-hour litigation among other matters, the firm said.

“Julius is a ‘go-to’ counsel for Toyota, and he is a skilled, compelling employment law and litigation advocate,” Christopher P. Reynolds, general counsel and chief legal officer of Toyota North America, said in a statement. “We continue to expect great things from him.”

Truman is joined by a labor and employment associate who previously worked with him at Morgan Lewis.

Reed Smith’s labor and employment practice has more than 100 lawyers worldwide. The firm has more than 1,800 lawyers in 25 offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Hunton & Williams Adds Former Federal Prosecutor

Hunton & Williams LLP said former federal prosecutor Laura Colombell Marshall joined the firm as a partner in Richmond, Virginia.

Marshall was a senior member of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia for more than 14 years. She will focus on investigations, regulatory and civil enforcement and white-collar criminal defense, the firm said.

At the U.S. Attorney’s office, Marshall prosecuted cases involving investment fraud, health-care fraud and organized crime, and led task forces targeting identity theft and money laundering. She worked on the Monetary Penalties Unit responsible for civil and criminal asset forfeiture and recovery for the past four years.

Hunton & Williams has more than 800 lawyers at 19 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Three McKenna Lawyers Join Liner Grode in Los Angeles

Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP announced the addition of three McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP lawyers in Los Angeles: Steven Abram, Dennis S. Roy & C. Geoffrey Mitchell.

Abram has experience handling real estate transactions involving developers, retailers, restaurants and theatres, as well as public entities.

Roy’s practice focuses on real estate law and redevelopment. He currently is assistant city attorney for the City of Cerritos.

Mitchell has almost 30 years of experience in real estate, real estate finance, and related transactional and corporate work, the firm said.

Liner Grode has 50 lawyers at offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

K&L Gates Adds Partner to Los Angeles Energy Practice

The Los Angeles office of K&L Gates LLP added Charles E. Schwenck as a partner in the energy, infrastructure and resources practice. He was previously at Foley & Lardner LLP.

Schwenck advises developers, owners and others in connection with the acquisition, development, construction, financing, operation, and disposition of projects. He is also active in the structuring of public-private partnerships and the obtaining of governmental concessions, permits and approvals, the firm said.

K&L Gates has 48 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Kramer Levin Adds to Insurance Practice Group in New York

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP said Daniel A. Rabinowitz joined the firm as a partner in the insurance practice group in the New York office. He was previously at Chadbourne & Parke LLP.

Rabinowitz specializes in transactional and regulatory advice in the insurance industry. Rabinowitz has experience in transactional activity and regulatory matters affecting the insurance business, including mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, restructurings, securitization and structured finance, reorganizations, reinsurance, corporate governance and all aspects of NAIC and state regulatory oversight.  He currently is chairman of the Committee on Insurance Law at the New York City Bar Association.

“Dan has a solid reputation for providing clients with expert counsel across a number of complex issues,” said Paul S. Pearlman, Kramer Levin’s managing partner.  “His experience will complement our well-known insurance, corporate and securitization practices.”

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

Drinker Biddle Adds New York Partner Kay Gordon

Hedge fund, investment-management and private-equity lawyer Kay A. Gordon joined Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP as a partner in the firm’s 30-lawyer investment-management group. She was previously at the New York office of K&L Gates LLP.

Gordon concentrates her work in the investment-management practice, with a particular emphasis on hedge funds, private equity funds and compliance-related matters involving registered advisers and broker-dealers. She also advises clients on securities and regulatory matters as well as financial instruments and transactions, including managed accounts, credit facilities, joint ventures and derivative instruments, and represents strategic investors in private equity, real estate and venture capital funds, the firm said.

“Our Investment Management Group has been a leader in the field for decades and we are particularly pleased that it now has a presence in New York as well as Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington,” Alfred W. Putnam Jr., chairman of Drinker Biddle, said in a statement.

Drinker Biddle opened its Midtown Manhattan office in late 2011 and has tripled its size since, adding lawyers to the corporate, litigation, intellectual property, restructuring and insurance practice groups in the past year, the firm said.

Drinker Biddle has 650 lawyers in 11 offices in the U.S. and London.


Facebook-Instagram Deal Opened Door to Tumblr Valuation: Lawyer

Mark Seneca, corporate partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Spencer Mazyck about his representation of Instagram Inc. in its $1 billion acquisition by Facebook Inc. last year. Seneca, in this “Rainmakers” episode, also compares the deal to Yahoo! Inc.’s recent acquisition of Tumblr Inc.

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Mukasey Calls U.S. Surveillance Leak ‘Huge Violation’

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey discusses the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance program and Edward Snowden, the former Central Intelligence Agency worker who exposed it.

Mukasey, now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, speaks with Bloomberg’s Sara Eisen and Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)

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