Rights Lawyer Allred Joins N.Y. Bar: Business of Law

Civil-rights lawyer Gloria Allred, known for handling high-profile cases involving women’s issues, joined the New York State bar.

“I look forward to asserting, protecting and vindicating the legal rights of women and minorities in New York and assisting them in their right to enjoy equal protection under the law,” Allred said in a statement.

Allred, 71, has practiced for 37 years and is a partner in the Los Angeles law firm Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. Most recently, she represented the former San Diego communications director who sued the city and ex-mayor Bob Filner for sexual harassment. She also was counsel to Jodie Fisher, whose accusations of sexual harassment against Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd led to his departure from the company and a confidential settlement.

Allred has several cases in New York, including representing more than two dozen people who say they were sexually abused at the elite Horace Mann School. She said she previously received temporary permission to argue cases in the state and joining the bar seemed like a natural next step.

She was sworn in to the New York bar Sept. 25 by Karen K. Peters, the first woman to serve as a presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York for the Third Judicial Department. While Allred doesn’t anticipate opening a New York office, she expects an increased case load in the state, beginning with interviews all day today.

“Two days after being admitted, I’m going to be seeing clients all day,” Allred said yesterday in a phone interview. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Companies Increase Legal Spending by 3 Percent, Survey Shows

Legal spending by companies around the world increased by 3 percent to a median of $32 million, according to a survey by HBR Consulting.

“This modest growth reflects stabilization in the efforts to control and manage legal costs for law departments,” Lauren Chung, senior director and survey editor, said in a statement.

The survey of 280 companies focuses on legal spending, staffing, organization, compensation and management practices.

According to the survey, inside legal spending jumped more than outside spending, rising 5 percent as 52 percent of survey participants said they increased the number of lawyers between 2011 and 2012. The median company reported 32 lawyers worldwide.

The survey also found a slight increase in the outside counsel rate, with an average hourly rate for the three top-billing firms of $461 in the U.S., up from $458 reported in the last survey.

Firm News

Ashurst Slates Full Financial Integration for Nov. 1

The final step in the merger between Ashurst LLP and Blake Dawson will be completed Nov. 1, creating a 1,800-lawyer firm with 28 offices in 16 countries and combined revenue of more than 550 million pounds ($882 million).

Ashurst announced its intention to combine with the Australian firm in 2011. In March 2012, Blake Dawson was re-branded Ashurst Australia. The firm will have a single profit pool, with partners paid under a managed lock-step system, and a unified management structure.

“We have been operating as one firm for some time,” James Collis, global managing partner, said in a statement. “Full economic integration will facilitate even greater collaboration and flexibility across teams and practices globally, thereby enhancing client service and opportunities for revenue growth as well as driving greater efficiency.”

In July, Asia Pacific law firm King & Wood Mallesons and London-based SJ Berwin LLP announced plans to form a law firm with about $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,700 lawyers, also as of Nov. 1. That deal added SJ Berwin to Asia’s largest law firm, formed last year by the combination of Beijing-based King & Wood and Sydney-based Mallesons Stephen Jaques.


Former Washington Mayor Fenty Join Perkins Coie

Former Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty joined Perkins Coie LLP’s business development department in Silicon Valley, where he will focus on the firm’s emerging companies and venture capital practice and strategic initiatives. He was most recently special counsel at Klores Perry Mitchell PC.

“Adrian is an incredibly intuitive business thinker and a savvy strategist,” Buddy Arnheim, firmwide chairman of Perkins Coie’s emerging companies and venture capital practice, said in a statement. “His experience in the public and private sectors will be invaluable to many of our emerging company clients.”

Fenty was mayor of Washington from 2007 to 2011. After leaving office, he provided strategic advice and business development consulting to companies including Rosetta Stone Inc., Everfi Inc. and Cap Gemini SA.

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

Reed Smith Adds Singapore Energy Partner Ball

Reed Smith LLP said Charles Ball will join the firm in Singapore in the global energy and natural resources group. He previously was with Herbert Smith Freehills.

Ball has more than 12 years of experience in Asia, based first in Tokyo and then for the past six years in Jakarta. He advises companies in the energy and natural resources sector on disputes, crisis management and compliance issues, with a primary focus on regulatory compliance and country risk issues.

He is dual-qualified in the U.S. and England and Wales and is admitted as an Arbitrator of the Indonesian National Arbitration Board.

“Many of our energy and natural resources clients have significant interests and operations across Asia, and in particular South East Asia, and it is important that we can support them wherever they do business,” Kyri Evagora, Reed Smith partner and co-head of the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources Group, said in a statement. “Charles’s experience across the region, and especially in Indonesia, helps us to considerably strengthen our offering to these clients.”

Reed Smith has more than 1,800 lawyers in 25 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Bracewell & Giuliani Expands IP Litigation Practice in Seattle

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP added partner Douglas F. Stewart and an associate to the firm’s Seattle IP litigation practice. Both were previously with Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Seattle.

Stewart is a registered patent attorney who focuses on patent-infringement litigation and counseling. He represents clients in wireless-network encryption, database optimization, telematics, data transmission and other matters.

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

Litigator Robert Kenney Joins Blank Rome as Partner

Blank Rome LLP added Robert J. Kenney Jr. to the corporate litigation group as a partner based in New York. He was previously a partner at Hofheimer Gartlir & Gross LLP in New York.

“With more than 20 years of experience handling a variety of complex corporate litigation matters in state and federal courts throughout the country, Rob is an excellent addition to our litigation team,” Alan J. Hoffman, co-chairman and managing partner, said in a statement.

Kenney focuses his practice on corporate and commercial litigation, including contract disputes, corporate theft, fraud, false advertising, international law and telecommunications law.

Blank Rome has almost 500 attorneys at offices in the U.S. and Shanghai.

Moppin Joins Kaufman Dolowich as Partner in San Francisco

Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP said Timothy W. Moppin joined the firm in its San Francisco office. Moppin was a partner at Jackson Lewis LLP.

Moppin has 25 years of experience in labor and employment, environmental and construction law. His employment practice focuses on the defense of management in race, sexual-harassment and age-based discrimination claims, as well as employment litigation. Moppin also provides counsel and training to clients in employment matters, including terminations, trade-secret protection and leaves of absence.

Kaufman Dolowich is based in Woodbury, New York, and has offices in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Florida.


Chevron Wins Ruling to Keep Judge in Case Over Ecuador Verdict

Chevron Corp. won a ruling to keep the judge overseeing a case over allegations of fraud in a $19 billion pollution verdict in Ecuador despite claims he has favored the company.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Theodore Olson, a lawyer for the second-largest U.S. oil company, argued yesterday to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan that U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has been “comprehensive” and “thorough,” and that a switch would be a waste of resources.

In a legal dispute that has lasted for about 20 years, Ecuador residents are seeking damages for oil pollution allegedly caused by Texaco in the Amazon rainforest. Chevron, which purchased Texaco in 2001, claims the Ecuadorians and their legal adviser, Steven Donziger, improperly influenced a court in that country to issue a $19 billion verdict in 2011.

A trial over the matter is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Manhattan federal court.

“I can’t tell you how many motions or proceedings there have been” in the case before Kaplan, Olson said. “Our opponents have won a lot of those.”

James Tyrrell, a lawyer at Patton Boggs LLP, who represents two of the Ecuadorian claimants, argued that Kaplan issued some inappropriate findings in previous orders that conflicted with an earlier decision by the appeals court. Tyrrell also contended that the judge is accommodating the San Ramon, California-based oil company’s effort to encourage courts around the world not to enforce the Ecuadorian verdict.

Chevron denies there was company wrongdoing in Ecuador and alleged that Texaco cleaned up its share of the pollution at its former oil fields, which were taken over by state-owned PetroEcuador. The U.S. company also claims that it was released from future liability by an agreement between Texaco and the Latin American country.

This month, Chevron said it won’t seek money damages against the two Ecuadorians in the fraud case. The oil company asked that a jury determine liability claims against Donziger and his law firm.

The racketeering case is Chevron v. Donziger, 11-00691, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeals court case is In re Naranjo, 13-00772, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).

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