Withers, Baker & McKenzie, Milbank: Business of Law

Withers LLP, known as Withers Bergman LLP in the U.S., named Ivan A. Sacks global chairman as of July 1. He succeeded Anthony Indaimo, who stepped down after serving the firm’s maximum of two terms as chairman.

Sacks, a private-client lawyer, was most recently the U.S. regional senior partner and managing director of the firm’s New York office. He is the firm’s first American chairman. The firm was founded in 1896 in England.

“Withers is committed to being the premier international law firm dedicated to helping the owners of private capital by providing integrated advice across the range of personal, business and public-interested issues they may face,” Sacks said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to build on that commitment and the quality of our services to our clients.”

Sacks joined Withers as a partner in 2003. He has led the firm’s development of the Latin American practice. He counsels families and entrepreneurs on the structuring of their closely held business interests, family offices and charitable foundations, among other matters. He also advises banks and trust companies on fiduciary matters, the firm said.

Withers has more than 370 attorneys in 10 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the British Virgin Islands who specialize in personal wealth and estate planning matters.

Clifford Chance Revenue Falls Slightly on Slow Asian Growth

Clifford Chance LLP, the highest-grossing U.K. law firm, said revenue fell slightly to 1.27 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) because of slower growth in Asia.

Asia-Pacific revenue dropped 3 percent in the financial year that ended on April 30, David Childs, London-based Clifford Chance’s managing partner, said in a conference call today. The region accounted for 14 percent of the firm’s revenue, about the same as last year.

“Given the difficult operating environment for many of our clients and the depressed transactional markets, we are pleased to have maintained revenues last year,” Childs said in a statement. He said he is “optimistic that this will be a better year than last year.”

Clifford Chance reported higher revenue than its top three U.K. competitors, which announced earnings last week. Allen & Overy LLP revenue increased less than 1 percent to 1.19 billion pounds. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s earnings rose 7 percent to 1.22 billion pounds while Linklaters LLP said its revenue rose by 1 percent to 1.19 billion pounds.

Clifford Chance will re-evaluate its revenue goal of 250 million pounds a year in Asia by 2014 after this year’s results, Childs said.

Clifford Chance revenue increased 7 percent to 1.3 billion pounds in the period that ended a year earlier.


Baker & McKenzie Adds Tax, Employment Partners in Australia

Baker & McKenzie LLP announced that partners Ellen Thomas and Sean Selleck will join the firm from King & Wood Mallesons.

Sydney-based Thomas focuses on general corporate, property and banking tax advice, the firm said. She has acted for Westpac on its issue of Westpac Subordinated Notes and worked on infrastructure projects including the M7 Motorway and the privatization of the Sydney desalination plant, the firm said.

Melbourne-based Selleck handles employment issues and disputes and industrial strategies and disputes. He has a special interest in nonstandard labor practices such as labor hire, outsourcing, casual employment and independent contractors, the firm said.

“Ellen and Sean will add a new dimension to our existing tax and employment teams, and the advice we provide our clients,” Baker & McKenzie national managing Partner Chris Freeland said in a statement.

Baker & McKenzie has more than 4,000 lawyers at 74 offices in 46 countries.


Lending Discrimination Case at Supreme Court in Settlement Talks

The township of Mount Holly, New Jersey, and a local citizens’ group are trying to settle a dispute before the U.S. Supreme Court that threatens to undercut the Obama administration’s crackdown on lending discrimination.

“The parties are currently engaged in settlement discussions to attempt to resolve the matter,” M. James Maley Jr., counsel to the township, wrote in a June 26 letter.

Maley said both sides want a 25-day extension of an Aug. 1 deadline for a brief to the court arguing the township’s case, a filing that sets in motion other deadlines. That request was granted, according to the Supreme Court website.

Mount Holly is fighting a U.S. Fair Housing Act suit filed by residents over the demolition of a predominantly minority neighborhood. The town says the residents must prove an intent to discriminate, not just that the project has a disproportionate effect on minorities.

The case will test a legal theory, known as disparate impact, that the Obama administration has invoked in lawsuits against banks over housing and auto loans. Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and SunTrust Banks Inc. have agreed to pay at least $480 million to settle claims since December 2011.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider the disparate-impact issue during its 2011-2012 term in a case involving St. Paul, Minnesota. The city dropped its appeal in February, scuttling the case.

The case in settlement talks is Township of Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, 11-1507, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

For more, click here.


BigLaw’s Scramble to Hire the Best Changes Recruiting

Jay Grushkin, hiring partner at New York’s Milbank Tweed, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about how the hiring season has changed since the recession in BigLaw began in 2008. Elite law schools have moved their on-campus recruiting weeks earlier and earlier, in efforts to give their students the best chance at getting a job. That’s forced firms to extend job offers faster than before the recession began. He’d like to see recruiting move from August to January of a student’s second year, so firms have a better sense of their business needs.

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


Author Harper Sees Worst Job Market for Law Students

Steven Harper, a recently retired partner of Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis LLP and author of “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis,” says only half of graduating law school students will get jobs. Harper talks with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene and Scarlet Fu on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

This is a Bloomberg podcast. Click here to listen.


Supreme Court’s Mansour Is Egypt’s Fourth Leader Since 2011

Adly Mansour, a 67-year-old Egyptian Supreme Court justice, served two days as the constitutional court’s head before he was named Egypt’s interim president.

Mansour, who was deputy to the head of the court from 1992 until last month, was chosen to lead the country after the army removed President Mohamed Mursi, the nation’s first democratically elected civilian president July 3. Mansour, the representative of an Egyptian judiciary that has repeatedly clashed with Mursi, was sworn in July 4.

The anti-Mursi protests have united the Egyptian people, Mansour said after he took the oath of office July 5. He saluted what he termed the bravery of Egypt’s youth and the armed forces, saying that the police have realized their place is on the side of the public. He looks forward to the presidential elections, he said.

A bespectacled father-of-three, Mansour studied for postgraduate degrees at Cairo University’s Faculty of Law before beginning his career in 1970 as an assistant representative at the State Council, a judicial body that resolved disputes between individuals and government agencies, according to his biography on the Supreme Constitutional Court’s website. Mansour won a scholarship to attend France’s Ecole Nationale de l’Administration, according to Al Jazeera.

The judge becomes the fourth man to lead the Arab world’s most populous nation since 2011. Hosni Mubarak served as president for about three decades before the army stripped him of his powers two years ago following a popular uprising. He was replaced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. It handed power to Mursi, a member of once-banned Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, who held office for a year before the army stepped in again.

For more, click here.

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