Weil, Littler, Bracewell, Perkins Coie: Business of Law

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP was counsel to Brookfield Property Partners LP, the commercial real estate company that was spun off by its Canadian parent earlier this year, in its agreement to purchase U.S. industrial-property assets from Japan’s Kajima Corp. for $1.1 billion. Morrison & Foerster LLP is advising Kajima.

Weil’s team was led by partners Philip Rosen and Shayla Harlev. Additional partners included Samuel Zylberberg, real estate; Charan Sandhu, technology and IP transactions; Scott Sontag, tax; Michael Nissan; executive compensation and benefits; Annemargaret Connolly, environmental; and Patrick O’Toole, regulatory.

MoFo’s team for Kajima included Ko-Yung Tung, corporate senior counselor and corporate partners Jeffery Bell and Spencer Klein. Tax partner Remmelt Reisgerman also worked on the deal.

Brookfield Property will buy about 25 percent of Kajima’s Industrial Developments International Inc., with the balance owned by its institutional partners, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company said yesterday in a statement. The deal includes more than 27 million square feet (2.5 million square meters) of operating assets and 49 million square feet of future space.

“The addition of IDI to Brookfield’s existing industrial operations will create a leading global industrial real estate company able to deliver high-quality distribution facilities to clients around the world,” Ric Clark, chief executive officer of Brookfield Property, said in the statement.

Alston & Bird LLP is advising IDI.

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Firm News

Littler’s Alaska Managing Partner Adds Portland Office to Duties

Douglas S. Parker was named office managing shareholder of the Littler Mendelson PC’s Portland, Oregon, office. Parker, who succeeds Howard Rubin, will also continue to manage the firm’s Anchorage, Alaska, office, which he founded in 2010, the firm said in a statement.

“Doug has an impressive track record of providing exceptional service, a longstanding pillar of strength for the firm, and developing valuable relationships with clients and attorneys alike,” Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-managing directors of Littler, said in a joint statement.

Parker has spent more than 30 years representing employers in the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska in employment litigation matters that include class actions, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, employment discrimination, retaliation, health care and other Erisa claims, contract interference, non-competition and intellectual property matters. He also handles traditional labor matters including collective bargaining, unfair labor practices and labor arbitrations, the firm said.

Littler Mendelson has more than 980 attorneys at 57 offices in the Americas and China.


Bracewell’s Houston Office Hires Environmental Partner

Heather M. Corken joined Bracewell & Giuliani LLP’s Houston office as a partner in the environmental strategies practice. She was previously at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.

Corken focuses on energy-related environmental issues including advising on regulatory requirements, evaluating and negotiating corporate and real estate transactions and representing clients in environmental litigation and enforcement matters.

“Heather offers deep regulatory and transactional experience in oil and gas, petrochemical, pipeline, shale development and other areas, complementing our already strong environmental team,” Tim Wilkins, head of the environmental practice and managing partner of the firm’s Austin office, said in a statement.

Bracewell & Giuliani has 470 lawyers in 10 offices in Texas, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Seattle, Dubai, and London.

Labor and Employment Partner Joins Perkins Coie in Dallas

Perkins Coie LLP announced that Ann Marie Painter has joined its Dallas office as a partner in the firm’s labor and employment practice. She was most recently a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. 

Painter focuses her practice on representing employers in labor and employment litigation and counseling. She has handled alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, and unfair competition matters, the firm said. She also has a background in both Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour collective and class actions.

“Her experience in employment litigation, collective actions, and noncompete litigation is a perfect fit with our national practice and will be of great interest to our Texas clients as well,” Steve Smith, managing partner of Perkins Coie’s Dallas office, said in a statement.

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

Corporate Finance Attorney Bryan Jung Joins Holland & Knight

Bryan Jung has joined Holland & Knight LLP’s financial services practice group and will be based in the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices. Most recently, he was the principal and founder of Whittier Hill LLC.

Jung has more than 20 years of experience in structuring and advisory services in corporate finance transactions. He focuses primarily on structured and corporate finance transactions, including asset securitization, equipment leasing, and bank, finance company, and other institutional lending transactions, the firm said.

Holland & Knight has 1,000 lawyers in 18 U.S. offices as well as Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Bogota.

Thompson Hine Adds to New York White Collar Criminal Practice

Thompson Hine LLP announced that Maranda E. Fritz has joined its New York office as a partner in the business litigation practice, where she will focus on white-collar crime, internal investigations and securities litigation. She was previously at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP.

Fritz’s practice focuses on securities fraud, insurance and health care fraud, and she has experience in both trial and investigative matters related to financial crimes, the firm said.

Thompson Hine has lawyers at seven U.S. offices.


MF Global Trustee Louis Freeh Asks for $1 Million Fee

Louis Freeh, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is asking for $1 million, which is 25 percent the fee he could have requested for serving as the trustee in the Chapter 11 reorganization of MF Global Holdings Ltd.

The MF Global Holding company parent went into bankruptcy reorganization in October 2011 alongside the brokerage subsidiary MF Global Inc. after discovery of a $1.6 billion shortfall in customer funds. The broker is in a parallel liquidation under the Securities Investor Protection Act.

As trustee for the parent, Freeh was proponent of a Chapter 11 plan approved by the bankruptcy court in April and implemented in June.

In response to a deadline for the filing of final fee requests, Freeh explained how he presided over the receipt of $161.3 million and the disbursement of $144.3 million. Unlike lawyers who are paid largely based on the hours devoted to a case, bankruptcy trustees are entitled to ask for maximum compensation of in larger cases equal to 3 percent of money “disbursed or turned over.”

Under the 3 percent formula, Freeh said, he would be entitled to take home $3.975 million as his trustee’s fee, in addition to time he spent as a lawyer.

In his final fee request, Freeh is asking for $1 million, plus payment for his time charges as a lawyer.

The holding company’s Chapter 11 plan was prepared and filed its original form by a group of creditors whose lawyers are asking for $4.4 million for their efforts and making a “substantial contribution” to the case.

To serve him as trustee, Freeh’s primary lawyers from Morrison & Foerster LLP are seeking approval for $19 million in fees, representing a 10 percent discount from their standard rates.

Law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, which Freeh joined this year, is looking for a $4.7 million fee allowance, including $135,000 for Freeh’s time.

The two law firms that represented the holding company’s official creditors’ committee are in line for an award totaling $9 million. The committee’s lawyers moved from Dewey & Leboeuf LLP to Proskauer Rose LLP when Dewey went out of business and into its own bankruptcy.

The hearing for the judge to grant fee allowances will take place Sept. 12.

The holding company’s Chapter 11 case is In re MF Global Holdings Ltd., 11-bk-15059, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The liquidation of the broker is In re MF Global Inc., 11-bk-02790, in the same court.


Ex-Baker & McKenzie Partner Sentenced to Two Years for Fraud

Former Baker & McKenzie LLP partner Martin Weisberg, who admitted to stealing from a client and taking part in a $55 million securities fraud, was sentenced to two years in prison, the U.S. said.

Weisberg, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering in May 2012 after prosecutors alleged he skimmed $1.3 million in interest from an escrow account for a hedge fund client, SIAM Capital Management. Separately, Weisberg joined a scheme to manipulate the stock price of technology firms Xybernaut Corp. and Ramp Corp. prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, also ordered Weisberg to pay $297,500 in restitution and $250,000 in forfeiture, according to prosecutors.

Weisberg left Baker & McKenzie in October 2007 at the time of his arrest in the securities case. Previously, he had worked at firms including Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, and Shea & Gould, according to a memorandum filed by his lawyers in March.

He graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1975, where he was first in his class, according to the memorandum.

Richard Albert, a lawyer for Weisberg, declined to comment on the sentence.

The case is U.S. v. Saltsman, 07-cr-641, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).


Professor Who Drafted Wiretap Law Backs Rajaratnam in Appeal

G. Robert Blakey, a law professor who helped draft the U.S. wiretap statute, may submit a brief supporting imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam’s effort to overturn his conviction, a U.S. appeals court ruled.

Blakey, who teaches at Notre Dame Law School in Indiana, supports a rehearing of the case against the Galleon Group LLC co-founder, whose insider-trading conviction was upheld in June by the appeals court in New York. Yesterday he was granted the right to submit written arguments.

Rajaratnam, who’s serving an 11-year term at the Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayers, Massachusetts, on July 24 asked for a hearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. His conviction was upheld by a three-judge panel.

Rajaratnam, 56, was convicted of directing the biggest hedge fund insider-trading scheme in U.S. history. It was the first such case in which investigators tapped targets’ phone conversations, a tactic used in organized-crime probes.

Jurors listened to more than 45 wiretap recordings, on some of which Rajaratnam can be heard gathering nonpublic information from his sources.

Blakely viewed as the architect of the wiretap statute, called the secret recordings “a method of last resort” in court papers submitted with his request to file the brief on Rajaratnam’s behalf.

Authorities investigating Galleon failed to provide key facts in their request to make the recordings, called Title III wiretaps after a part of a 1968 federal law, Blakely wrote. The facts included the existence of an insider-trading investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he wrote.

The wiretaps shouldn’t have been allowed, and the recordings shouldn’t have been permitted as evidence, he argued.

The appeal is U.S. v. Rajaratnam, 11-04416, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).