Ogletree, Weil, Goodwin Procter, Hogan: Business of Law

Labor and employment law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC is starting an outpost in London, the firm’s second European office after its Berlin office opened in December.

Richard Linskell, who was a partner at Speechly Bircham LLP, joins Ogletree and will open the London office along with two associates.

Linskell advises employers on issues ranging from recruitment to termination and post-termination issues, as well as in relation to the law of limited liability partnerships and partnerships.

“Our expansion into London is our next phase of offering clients increased global reach, excellent value, and superior client service,” Ogletree Deakins managing shareholder Kim Ebert said in a statement.

Ogletree Deakins has more than 650 lawyers at 45 offices in the U.S. and Europe.

Edwards Wildman Opens in Istanbul With Private Equity, M&A Focus

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP opened a new office in Istanbul under the name, Edwards Wildman Danismanlik Hizmetleri Avukatlik Ortakligi. The new office will allow the firm to advise clients on cross-border private equity and corporate-backed M&A transactions throughout the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa region.

“Istanbul has become a hub for sophisticated M&A and private equity activity in the region as multinational companies and private equity firms are attracted to the increasingly active leadership role that Turkey plays economically in the region,” Ted Cominos, a partner and chairman of Edwards Wildman’s international private equity practice group said in a statement.

Edwards Wildman will work in collaboration with Ismen Gunalcin, formerly known as the Ismen law firm. Ismen Gunalcin is a boutique M&A and private equity law firm based in Istanbul. The firm is led by partners Tolga Ismen and Arzum Gunalcin.

“Our new collaboration with Edwards Wildman presents an opportunity for our lawyers to access into a larger network of sophisticated clients interested in Turkey while offering access to a broad array of international legal services to our existing clients,” Ismen said in a statement. “Our experience in M&A, private equity transactions and privatizations in Turkey complements Edwards Wildman’s strong private equity and cross-border practice groups in Turkey and the region. We are excited to join forces with our new colleagues.”

Edwards Wildman has more than 600 lawyers at 16 offices in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Legal Fees

Lehman Recovery Seen as Justifying $2 Billion Bankruptcy Bill

Harvey Miller, the lawyer guiding Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. through the biggest-ever U.S. bankruptcy, reflected on how his client’s collapse five years ago went from unthinkable to inevitable in an interview near the offices of his law firm, New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Lehman’s demise “ignited a worldwide conflagration that almost brought down the global financial system,” said Miller, who filed the Chapter 11 petition at 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2008, in New York after the bank failed to win U.S. government aid or attract a buyer. “The consequences were unknown,” Bloomberg News’ Erik Larson reports.

Five years later, Miller takes credit for helping fend off some creditors’ liquidation demands and instead turning the remains of one of the biggest failures of the financial crisis into a going concern. In the process, the Lehman estate has paid more than $2 billion in fees and expenses to professionals like him for that work, dwarfing the previous record of $757 million in Enron Corp.’s bankruptcy.

In exchange for that eye-popping payday, approved by the judge in charge of the case, Lehman creditors are poised to get 18 cents on the dollar by 2016, from an estate valued at $65 billion, according to a liquidation plan approved in December 2011. Miller, 80, estimated that recovery may rise to as much as 22 cents as the value of Lehman’s assets increases over the next three years to about $80 billion.

His estimate is a “somewhat educated guess,” Miller said. “I am sure debt traders have their own projected recovery valuations.”

Lehman, which listed $613 billion in debt when it filed, is scheduled to pay out $14 billion to creditors on Oct. 3, bringing total distributions to $43 billion since the Chapter 11 plan was approved, according to court records and Miller.

Miller’s firm, which also worked on the Enron case, has made almost $500 million since the Lehman bankruptcy started, and more than $600 million has gone to the restructuring company Alvarez & Marsal Inc., whose employees ran Lehman after the collapse and are still unwinding complex derivatives contracts to generate cash for creditors.

The case is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 08-bk-13555, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Law Firm Management

Managing Partners Pessimistic About Profit, Not Hiring

Law firm managing partner confidence levels dipped in the third quarter of 2013, according to a survey by the Citi Private Bank, which cast the firm leaders as forecasting flat profit growth.

The survey of firm leaders, which included responses from 48 of the wealthiest 200 American law firms, indicated that the firm leaders had diminished expectations for the legal industry and the wider economy.

“It validated the revised forecast we made after we reviewed the first half-year numbers,” Dan DiPietro, chairman of Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, said in a telephone interview, “from low single-digit profits to flat.”

Demand expectations for legal work also declined, though the managing partners reported an increase in outlook for equity partner and associate hiring, according to the survey.

DiPietro said the apparent contradiction could be explained by managers looking to hire qualified mid-level associates and equity partners who would bring a book of business with them.

The survey also showed managing partners as confident about managing expenses but concerned about discounted fee requests from clients.


Government Lawyer Joins Goodwin’s Securities Litigation

Goodwin Procter LLP announced that Derek A. Cohen has joined the firm’s New York office as a partner in the securities litigation and white-collar defense group. Cohen was most recently a deputy chief of the fraud section for the Justice Department’s criminal division and deputy director of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force.

At Goodwin, Cohen will focus on white-collar criminal investigations and prosecutions, regulatory inquiries and lawsuits, internal corporate investigations and complex commercial litigation, the firm said.

“Derek’s extensive experience and accomplishments are a welcome addition to our already deep talent pool of white collar attorneys,” Richard M. Strassberg, chairman of Goodwin’s white-collar crime and government investigations group, said in a statement.

In his role on the Deepwater Horizon Task Force, Cohen supervised the criminal investigation and prosecutions in connection with the April 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill disaster.

Prior to his work at the Justice Department, Cohen was an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.

Goodwin Procter has 860 lawyers at nine offices in the U.S., Hong Kong and London.

Former Federal Prosecutor Hamilton Joins Ulmer & Berne

Ulmer & Berne LLP has added former federal prosecutor Richard T. Hamilton Jr. to the litigation practice in Cleveland, where he will head the firm’s white-collar practice group. Hamilton spent most of his 20-plus-year legal career as a trial attorney with the Justice Department’s antitrust division and, most recently, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.

In his former role, Hamilton led international, national and local white-collar criminal investigations and prosecutions against individuals and corporations for violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and related federal crimes, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering and multidefendant conspiracy cases, the firm said in a statement. Among his notable cases, he led the Ohio and Florida-based cases of 16 corporate and individual participants in the scrap metal industry on criminal price-fixing, bid rigging and other charges, the firm said.

Ulmer & Berne is a full-service law firm with more than 185 attorneys at offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

Jones Walker Adds Partner in Commercial Litigation Group

Intellectual property litigator and former Exxon Mobil Corp. technology manager Jeffrey J. Phillips has joined the Houston office of Jones Walker LLP as a partner in the business and commercial litigation practice group. He was most recently at Winston & Strawn LLP.

Phillips’ practice focuses on intellectual property matters in the oil and gas, chemical processes and catalysts, foods and beverages, advanced biofuels, internal combustion engines, complex mechanical systems, and computer and software related technologies industries, the firm said.

His litigation experience includes both patent enforcement and patent defense. Phillips counsels clients on intellectual property issues, such patent portfolio management, preparing opinions relating to a company’s ability to sell its products and/or practice its valuable technology, among others.

Jones Walker has more than 375 attorneys at its U.S. offices.

Bankruptcy Lawyer Penelope Parmes Joins Troutman Sanders

Troutman Sanders LLP added Penelope Parmes as a partner in the Orange County, California, office as a partner in the bankruptcy practice. Parmes was previously a partner at Rutan & Tucker LLP.

Parmes practices business insolvency law, with a particular focus on representing non-debtors in workouts and bankruptcy matters. Her clients include secured creditors, landlords, buyers and sellers, trade creditors, and other parties affected by financial insolvency, the firm said.

A substantial amount of Parmes’s practice includes the representation of lenders regarding adequate protection and cash collateral litigation, valuation issues, avoiding actions and plan confirmation litigation.

Troutman Sanders has more than 600 lawyers at offices in the U.S. and China.

K&L Gates Hires Health-Care Partner in Seattle Office

The Seattle office of K&L Gates LLP added Carla M. DewBerry as a partner in the health-care practice. DewBerry joins the firm from Garvey Schubert Barer.

DewBerry represents clients on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, as well as on related audits and litigation. She also counsels on general corporate and transactional matters such as mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, joint venture operations, licensings, and federal, state and local taxation, the firm said.

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

Financial Institutions and Regulatory Partner Joins Covington

Covington & Burling LLP announced that Charlotte Hill has joined the London office as a financial institutions and regulatory partner. She was previously at Stephenson Harwood LLP.

Hill advises financial institutions on regulatory and commercial matters and has experience assisting fund management companies, banks, corporate finance houses, brokers and other financial institutions on regulatory, compliance and commercial matters.

“The response to the financial crisis in Europe -- both at the EU level and at the member state level -- has been equally as momentous as the passage and implementation of Dodd-Frank in the U.S.,” Bruce Bennett, co-head of Covington’s securities and capital markets practice said in a statement. “Our clients have an increased need for advice on the interplay of new regulations being adopted in the EU with corresponding regulations in the U.S., as well EU and U.K. matters on a stand-alone basis.”

Covington & Burling has lawyers at 10 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Hogan Lovells Expands Tax Practice With Partner Cameron Cosby

Hogan Lovells LLP announced that Cameron Cosby has joined the firm as a partner in its tax practice in the Washington office. He was previously at Hunton & Williams LLP, where he was a partner in the tax and real estate capital markets practices.

Cosby’s practice focuses on federal income tax and real estate capital markets matters for real estate investment trusts, partnerships and joint ventures, and private equity and other private investment funds. He also assists clients on real estate-related tax credits, energy projects and related tax credits, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions, the firm said.

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,500 lawyers worldwide.


Stringer Repels Spitzer’s Comeback in NYC Comptroller Race

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer fought off Eliot Spitzer in the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller, halting the former governor’s attempted comeback from a prostitution scandal.

Stringer, who had the support of the party establishment and the city’s three major newspapers, captured 52 percent of yesterday’s vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting, compared with 48 percent for Spitzer, according to the Associated Press. With Democrats outnumbering Republicans by more than 6 to 1, the victory virtually ensures Stringer, 53, will become comptroller after the general election in November.

The comptroller is the city’s chief financial officer, auditing agencies and overseeing $140 billion in pension assets. Stringer’s temperate public statements before his opponent entered the race contrasted with the media-driven drama of the fiery Spitzer’s return.

Spitzer, 54, resigned as governor in 2008 after his trysts were disclosed. He entered the race in July, upending a contest in which Stringer, a career politician, was expected to coast to victory. The former “Sheriff of Wall Street” vowed to use the power of the pension funds to keep corporations well managed and socially responsible.

He portrayed himself as a ready to do battle with Wall Street again, just as he had done as state attorney general. In that post, he rose to prominence by exposing conflicts of interest between Wall Street firms’ analysts and investment bankers. Stringer, he said, accomplished little in a 20-year career in politics, including 12 in the state Assembly.

As attorney general from 1999 through 2006, Spitzer disclosed subpoenaed e-mails and other evidence to persuade Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc. and other securities firms to pay $1.4 billion in pretrial settlements, rather than go to court on charges they misled consumers with biased research.

He was then elected governor, with 69 percent of the vote in 2006, serving for less than 15 months before getting caught patronizing high-priced prostitutes.

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