Morgan Lewis, Sidley, Ashurst, Thompson: Business of Law

Bank regulatory lawyer Charles Horn joined Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP as a partner in Washington. He was previously at Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Horn counsels domestic and global banks and other financial services firms on federal and state financial regulation matters as well as corporate, institutional and retail business activities. He provides counsel on transactional matters including mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and business integrations, the firm said. He also advises banks on asset management, fiduciary and asset administration.

“Charles’s intimate familiarity with the bank regulatory framework is invaluable to financial institutions as they seek to better understand and navigate the ever-changing supervision and enforcement measures and policies of traditional regulators including the Federal Reserve, the OCC and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,” Steven Stone, leader of Morgan Lewis’s investment management practice said in a statement.

“He can also provide critical counsel to financial services companies encountering scrutiny from the new financial industry regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has started dozens of investigations and issued more than 100 subpoenas over the last 18 months,” he added.

Morgan Lewis has more than 100 attorneys who work with financial services clients in the U.S. and abroad. The firm has more than 1,600 lawyers and professionals in 25 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

SEC’s Corporation Finance Chief Counsel Joins Sidley Austin

Sidley Austin LLP announced that Thomas J. Kim, the chief counsel and associate director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance since 2007, is joining the firm as a partner in Washington. He will be a member of the securities and derivatives enforcement and regulatory, securities and corporate governance and executive compensation practice teams.

At the SEC, Kim managed a staff of more than a dozen senior lawyers, providing legal advice on the federal securities laws administered by the division, the firm said.

“It has been challenging and rewarding to work on cutting edge issues with the commission and the commission’s talented staff,” Kim said in a statement. “Sidley provides an exceptional and global platform for building a practice and providing high-quality legal advice to clients.”

Sidley has approximately 1,700 lawyers in 19 offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Ashurst Strengthens Asian M&A Practice With Partner Hire

Ashurst LLP appointed John K.J. Kim as a partner in the Hong Kong office. He was previously with Korean law firm Yulchon LLC, where he was head of the Outbound Practice Group, the firm said.

Kim specializes in advising Korean clients in outbound M&A and other cross-border corporate transactions.

“We view Korea as a key market, and we will continue to significantly invest in our Korean outbound practice,” Asia managing partner Matthew Bubb said in a statement.

Ashurst has lawyers at offices in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

Corporate Partner Michael Coleman Joins Thompson Hine

Thompson Hine LLP announced that Michael V. Coleman, along with another lawyer, joined the firm as a partner in the corporate transactions and securities practice group in Atlanta. He was previously at Epstein Becker & Green PC.

“Michael’s experience speaks for itself - he is well-known throughout the city of Atlanta and nationally. His corporate practice complements our existing practice, and his considerable experience and skills will benefit our clients significantly,” Russell J. Rogers, office partner-in-charge said in a statement.

Coleman’s practice focuses on general corporate issues, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate internal investigations, public/private transactions and business litigation, the firm said. In addition to serving as outside general counsel for a number of Atlanta-based companies, he has represented Turner Broadcasting and the Atlanta Hawks in connection with the development and financing of Phillips Arena, the city of Atlanta in connection with the development and financing of Atlantic Station and Central Atlanta Progress in connection with the creation of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, according to the firm.

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

Lander & Rogers Hires Commercial Disputes Partner Tean Kerr.

Tean Kerr joined the Lander & Rogers Sydney office in the insolvency and commercial dispute resolution practice. He was previously at Swaab Attorneys.

Kerr has experience in commercial litigation and insolvency. He advises on insolvency and corporate recovery and restructuring. He also has experience acting and advising in relation to director and officer liability and regulatory matters as well as director and shareholder disputes, the firm said in a statement.

Lander & Rogers is an Australian law firm with offices in Melbourne and Sydney.


Wells Fargo: Anemic Growth in BigLaw in 2013

Jeff Grossman, Senior Director at Wells Fargo Private Bank, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about his firm’s new report on the state of BigLaw. The survey of 120 law firms saw revenue growth of 1.5 percent for the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year. One positive finding for law firms is that rates have increased.

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U.K. Prosecutors Accidentally Lost Evidence From BAE Probe

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office said it accidentally lost evidence from an investigation into BAE Systems Plc, including 32,000 pages of documents and 81 audio tapes.

The information was from a six-year bribery probe into the defense company that ended with a 500,000-pound ($776,000) fine for accounting irregularities in 2010. The SFO, which has to return data after finishing investigations, sent the material to the wrong source, which it didn’t identify, the agency said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

“This latest debacle will do little to restore public confidence in the SFO,” Andrew Smith, a criminal defense lawyer in London, said in an e-mail. “It underlines the fact that the SFO needs radical internal reform in order to become a world-class prosecuting agency.”

BAE Systems pleaded guilty in 2010 to not keeping proper payment records from deals. The defense company had been under investigation over alleged bribes paid in six countries, including Tanzania and the Czech Republic. The lost data accounted for 3 percent of the total information used in the SFO probe, the agency said. It has recovered 98 percent of the lost material and said none of the information related to national security.

The SFO said it conducted an internal probe into the data loss and has started an independent review of its systems led by Alan Woods, a former government official. The evidence was accidentally sent between May and October last year, the agency said.

Firm News

Baker & McKenzie Elects Managing Partner in Warsaw Office

Marek Rosinski has been elected managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Warsaw office for a two-year term. He takes over from Marcin Gmaj, who held the position for two terms.

Rosinski, who heads the office’s intellectual property and technology practice, has been a partner in the Warsaw office since 2003. He was managing partner of the office between 2007 and 2009.

Baker & McKenzie’s Warsaw office opened in 1992. The office currently has more than 90 lawyers and tax advisers.


Wells Fargo Wins Trial Over Securities-Lending Plan Losses

Wells Fargo & Co. was cleared by a jury of claims it misrepresented a securities-lending program to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and other institutional investors and a demand it pay for $8.2 million of losses.

A federal court jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, yesterday returned a verdict rejecting allegations in the plaintiffs’ 2011 lawsuit that the bank marketed a risky program as safe, leading to losses the bank blamed on the financial crisis alone.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael V. Ciresi, who argued the case, declined to comment. Bart Williams, of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP made closing arguments for the bank on Aug. 6.

The case is one of at least five filed in Minnesota against Wells Fargo over the securities-lending program, which was based in the state. Under the program, Wells Fargo held its clients’ securities in custodial accounts and made temporary loans of the instruments to brokers. The brokers used the securities to support trading activities such as short sales and option contracts.

The San Francisco-based bank lost the first case to go to trial in 2010, when a state court jury awarded Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association and three foundations about $30 million. That judgment was upheld on appeal.

The current trial before U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank involved allegations by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the El Paso County Retirement Plan and 10 other nonprofit groups seeking reimbursement of losses and punitive damages. It began on June 18.

Frank will hold a separate nonjury hearing to determine losses to retirement funds operated by the nonprofits.

The bank is scheduled for a third trial on the same claims in March in a class action brought in federal court on behalf of about 100 other institutional investors. Two more cases are pending in federal court, including one by Minnesota Life Insurance Co. seeking $40 million in damages. Those cases are also set for trial next year.

The Minnesota case is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota v. Wells Fargo Bank, 11-cv-02529, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (St. Paul).

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