Bracewell, Perkins, McGuireWoods, Barnes: Business of Law

Four energy lawyers are joining Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in the London office. Ben James, from Linklaters LLP, Darren Spalding, from Allen & Overy LLP, and Martin Stewart-Smithwill, from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, join as partners, along with a senior counsel from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

“Our goal has been to bring in people of the highest caliber who can help us serve energy clients on energy transactions across the globe, and these four will certainly help us accomplish that,” Bracewell’s firmwide managing partner Mark C. Evans said in a statement.

James, who has a particular experience in Africa, is an energy lawyer advising oil and gas companies, utility companies, private equity houses and banks on cross-border energy transactions.

Spalding is a dedicated upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas lawyer, the firm said. His experience includes international M&A, joint ventures, project development, and long-term commodity sales and offtake agreements.

Stewart-Smith has more than 20 years of experience working worldwide on oil and gas, power, renewables and energy services matters. In addition to this transactional work, he has advised governments on institutional, legal and regulatory reform in the process of market liberalization, the firm said.

The firm, which has two full-time resident lawyers in London, plans further growth in that office focused on supporting the firm’s energy clients.

“These latest additions move us a step closer to achieving our goal in London, which is to build a team of energy lawyers of unparalleled strength and depth, dedicated to serving energy clients,” Julian Nichol, Bracewell’s London managing partner said in a statement.

Bracewell & Giuliani has 470 lawyers at 10 offices in the U.S., London and Dubai.

Perkins Coie Adds to Personal Planning Practice

Perkins Coie LLP announced that Sandra K. Newman and Lucy K. Park have joined the firm’s Chicago office from K&L Gates LLP, as part of Chicago’s personal planning group.

Newman and Park join Domingo Such, who joined the firm in May to spearhead the firm’s Chicago personal planning practice.

“Many of our corporate, high-net worth and family office clients need the kind of advice our Personal Planning group can provide, and now with three partners in Chicago we have expanded our national platform to service those needs,” Chris Wilson, Office Managing Partner of Perkins Coie’s Chicago office.

Newman concentrates her practice in wealth preservation, tax planning, trust administration, business succession planning and charitable giving, the firm said.

Park focuses on trust and estate planning and administration.

Perkins Coie’s personal planning group works primarily with individuals, helping them define and meet their estate planning, family and related needs.

Perkins Coie has more than 900 lawyers in 19 offices in the U.S. and Asia.

International Trade and Competition Team Joins McGuireWoods

McGuireWoods LLP announced that it is expanding its international trade, competition and EU regulatory law practice with the addition of a four-member team in the Brussels office.

Members of the team, who are joining the firm from Squire Sanders LLP in Brussels, include partners Vassilis Akritidis, and Yves Melin, along with a senior counsel and associate.

The team, which is led by Akritidis, focuses on representing companies on international trade and World Trade Organization matters, including trade defense investigations, WTO dispute settlement, customs law and litigation, trade compliance training, and other matters.

The team has experience in advising clients on how to best protect their interests throughout the EU legislative process, the firm said in a statement.

McGuireWoods has 900 lawyers in 19 offices in the U.S. and Europe.

Barnes & Thornburg Expands Chicago Office With Two Hires

Barnes & Thornburg LLP announced that Mark L. Durbin and Peter N. Moore joined the Chicago office as partners in the litigation department. They were previously in the Chicago office of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

“Mark and Peter’s depth of experience in all types of complex commercial and intellectual property litigation will enhance the firm’s high-profile and nimble litigation capabilities in Chicago,” Mark Rust, managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office, said in a statement. “With their arrival, Barnes & Thornburg is now one hundred attorneys strong in Chicago.”

Durbin is a trial lawyer who represents clients in intellectual property and complex commercial litigation disputes and consumer class actions.

Moore has pursued and defended both patent and general litigation cases on behalf of clients in the computer, telecommunications, automotive, and agricultural industries, among others.

Barnes & Thornburg has more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals at 12 U.S. offices.


Facebook Promotes Colin Stretch to General Counsel

Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel Colin Stretch has been promoted to general counsel of Facebook to replace Ted Ullyot, the company said in a statement.

“Colin has been an instrumental leader on the Facebook legal team and has earned the trust and confidence of management, the board of directors and our entire company,” Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said in a statement.

Stretch, who will take over the role July 5, will oversee Facebook’s legal and security departments in his new position. He joined the company in 2010 and has overseen several key legal challenges. He was lead negotiator for the company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011. He also led the appellate victory in Winklevoss case, and has led the team that advises Facebook on legal issues relating to new products, the company said.

Before joining the company, Stretch was a partner at Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington. He previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He graduated from Harvard Law School.


Why One of America’s Most Powerful Lawyers Is a Twitter Freak

As a partner at the Los Angeles-based law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and co-head of the firm’s appellate and constitutional law practice group, Theodore Boutrous doesn’t have a lot of spare time, Bloomberg Law’s Dimitra Kessenides reports.

Amid his work for companies from Wal-Mart to the New York Times and his challenge of California’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, he takes time out though for Twitter.

Twitter became part of the First Amendment attorney’s media diet in late January when @BoutrousTed was started. Today, he’s got more than 500 followers while he follows 783 other accounts. His stream includes everything from his take on the latest First Amendment debate raging across the Twittersphere to pics of his partner Ted Olson and of attorney David Boies on their way to the Supreme Court to argue the Proposition 8 case in March. But for this self-proclaimed news junkie, the “avalanche of personally tailored news coming in all the time” keeps him on his toes and ahead of the news curve. Boutrous talked with Kessenides the old fashioned way: by telephone.

To read the interview, click here.


Astor’s Son Jailed More Than 3 Years After His Sentencing

The son of the late New York philanthropist and socialite Brooke Astor and his lawyer began their jail sentences last week, more than three years after they were convicted of defrauding Astor.

Anthony Marshall, 89, was convicted in October 2009 of grand larceny and other charges for changing his mother’s will while she was incompetent. He was sentenced to one to three years in prison for acts that included giving himself a $1 million raise for managing his mother’s money.

Marshall in February 2010 filed motions to vacate his conviction, claiming juror misconduct. State Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. upheld the conviction of Marshall and his co-defendant, lawyer Francis X. Morrissey, in July 2010 and Marshall appealed.

A midlevel state appellate court affirmed the decision in March and New York’s highest court this month declined to hear the case. Bartley this week refused to let Marshall stay out of jail because of poor health and denied him a new trial based on the alleged juror misconduct.

Morrissey was taken to jail June 20 and Marshall surrendered in Manhattan June 21 to begin serving his sentence.

The case is People v. Marshall, 06044-2007, New York Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

Government Lawyers

Obama Nominating Ex-Bush Justice Official Comey for FBI Chief

President Barack Obama said he’s nominating James Comey, a former deputy attorney general in the Bush administration, as director of the FBI.

“I’m confident that Jim will be a leader who understands how to keep America safe as well as stay true to our founding ideals no matter what the future will bring,” Obama said of Comey in the White House Rose Garden.

Comey, 52, whose nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, would replace Robert Mueller as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Obama called Mueller “one of the finest directors in the history of the FBI.”

Comey would take over the agency at a sensitive time, as officials manage inquiries into the Boston Marathon bombings, Internal Revenue Service screening of small-government groups and leaks about confidential government operations.

After he left the government in 2005, Comey was general counsel at defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. and then hedge fund Bridgewater Associates LP after he left the government in 2005. Most recently he was appointed to the board of London-based bank HSBC Holdings Plc as a nonexecutive director.

Comey played a role in a dramatic episode during President George W. Bush’s administration when he refused to reauthorize a warrantless eavesdropping program after being pressured by White House officials.

At the time, Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized, and Bush’s White House advisers were attempting to persuade him to reauthorize the program. Comey, with Mueller, went to his hospital room to intercept the White House aides seeking Ashcroft’s approval. Ashcroft said he had concerns about the legality of the plan and deferred the decision to Comey, who refused the request.


Coyle: Robert’s SCOTUS Doesn’t Respect Congress

Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent for The National Law Journal, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about her new book entitled “The Roberts Court: The Struggle For The Constitution.” Coyle also comments on Justice Scalia’s noteworthy concurrence in the Myriad Genetics case, speculates on the future makeup of the Court and gives her predictions on the forthcoming decisions on the recent same sex marriage cases.

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