Reed Smith Partner Named PNC Top Lawyer: Business of Law

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. appointed Gregory B. Jordan general counsel and head of regulatory and government affairs.

Jordan, currently the global managing partner and chairman of the senior management team and executive committee of Reed Smith LLP, will also join the executive committee of Pittsburgh-based PNC. He replaces Bob Hoyt, who left PNC last month to become group general counsel at Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets. Jordan will join PNC Oct. 15.

William S. Demchak, PNC’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that Jordan’s leadership “helped make Reed Smith a top global firm, and he has extensive banking experience, having represented many of the largest U.S. financial institutions in significant court cases.”

Jordan joined Reed Smith after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1984, and he was elected the firm’s managing partner five times. In 13 years of leading Reed Smith, Jordan helped quadruple its size to 1,800 lawyers in 25 offices worldwide. He serves on several boards and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bethany College, from which he received his bachelor’s degree.

Alexander “Sandy” Thomas, the global chairman of litigation at Reed Smith, will succeed Jordan as global managing partner.

Law Firm Moves

Steptoe & Johnson Gets Tax Partner From O’Melveny & Myers

Robert Rizzi is joining Steptoe & Johnson LLP as a partner in the firm’s tax group. He will be based in Steptoe’s Washington office, and will also work in the office in New York.

According to a statement from the firm, Rizzi focuses on the federal and state income tax aspects of corporate and partnership business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, joint ventures and workouts, as well as tax advice on executive compensation plans and equity participation arrangements.

He has provided tax planning for major transactions, principally in international markets, in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, real estate and hospitality, and technology, and he has provided tax advice and structuring for mid-market and private-equity transactions in the U.S. and abroad.

Rizzi also helped prospective political appointees through the executive branch vetting process, Senate confirmation, and post-confirmation ethics, compliance and tax advice. His clients have included cabinet and subcabinet members, administrators and commissioners at various agencies, and numerous ambassadorial appointees in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Steptoe’s tax group includes former senior government officials from congressional offices, the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department and Justice Department who have vast experience in sophisticated tax-planning, audit and controversy work.

Rizzi teaches a course in government ethics at Harvard Law School. He has also taught at Georgetown University Law Center and Catholic University Law School. He was previously a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Clifford Chance Re-Elects Litigation and Dispute Resolution Head

The partners of Clifford Chance LLP elected Jeremy Sandelson to serve a second four-year term as global head of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice.

Sandelson became head of the practice in 2009. Before that, he was regional managing partner for Clifford Chance in the U.K. and the Middle East from 2005.

Managing partner David Childs said in a statement that Sandelson “has done a terrific job as global head of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice since his election soon after the start of the financial crisis, overseeing revenue growth of nearly 30 percent in that time.”

Bracewell & Giuliani Adds Public Finance Lawyers in San Antonio

Four public finance attorneys are joining the San Antonio office of Bracewell & Giuliani.

The attorneys -- Jane H. Macon, Michael D. Bernard, Blakely L. Fernandez and William T. Avila -- will join as partners, working in public finance, public law, corporate law and litigation. Macon is the chairman of Siebert Financial Corp. and Bernard is the San Antonio city attorney, a position he has held since 2005.

“We have been looking to expand in San Antonio and Jane, Michael, Blakely and Bill are strong additions, along with Carey Troell, who joined us earlier this year,” partner Ben Brooks, co-head of the public finance practice, said in a statement.

Kilpatrick Townsend Chooses Partners for Leadership Positions

Henry Walker, the managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, was elected chairman of the firm. Partner Susan Spaeth was chosen to serve as managing partner.

Walker succeeded Paul Aguggia, who recently announced that he will become chairman and chief executive officer of longtime Kilpatrick Townsend client Clifton Savings Bancorp. Aguggia will remain with the firm as a partner until the end of the year, the firm said in a statement.

The two lawyers “know this firm inside and out,” Aguggia said. “Henry has been associated with Kilpatrick Townsend either as a firm attorney or as a firm client for nearly 30 years and Susan for almost 25 years. I look forward to working with them during this seamless transition period.”

Walker, a litigator based in Atlanta, became the firm’s managing partner in 2012. He’s also active in the State Bar of Georgia, currently serving on the board of governors.

Spaeth, located in Silicon Valley, focuses on intellectual property and complex and technical litigation, particularly patent litigation, licensing and counseling.

Latham & Watkins Adds Corporate Partner in Hong Kong Office

Ji Liu is joining Latham & Watkins LLP as a partner in the corporate department in Hong Kong. Liu focuses on U.S. domestic and cross-border capital markets transactions and also represents companies on compliance matters under U.S. securities laws.

Liu advises on mergers and acquisitions, bank finance and venture-capital investments as well as corporate governance.

“Pairing Ji’s unique combination of substantive experience, knowledge and business relationships with colleagues in our China offices and across the region is an exciting development for our practice,” said David Miles, chairman of Latham & Watkins’s Asia practice.

Liu joins Latham & Watkins from Norton Rose Fulbright LLP in Hong Kong.

Gibson Dunn Adds Real Estate Partner in New York

Steven Klein, a real estate attorney, joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as a partner in the firm’s New York office. He previously was a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

“Steve is a terrific addition to the firm and to our real estate practice,” Ken Doran, the chairman and managing partner of Gibson Dunn, said in a statement. “He is an experienced and talented lawyer, who is highly regarded by the real estate community.”

Klein focuses on a broad range of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, financings, leasing, construction and development, restructurings and recapitalizations. He also has substantial experience in REIT offerings, REIT mergers and formation of investment funds.

Klein is also an adjunct professor at the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, where he has taught courses on commercial leasing, commercial real estate transactions and real estate development and investment.


Latham, Wilson Sonsini on Monsanto Purchase of Data Firm

Lawyers from Latham & Watkins LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati worked on Monsanto Co.’s $930 million purchase of Climate Corp., a weather-monitoring and data-analytics company that also sells crop insurance.

From Latham representing Monsanto are partners Luke Bergstrom in Silicon Valley and Hans Brigham in Boston. Also on the deal are employee benefits and compensation partner Jay Metz in Silicon Valley, intellectual property partner J.D. Marple in Silicon Valley, privacy partner Jennifer Archie in Washington and real estate partner Michelle Kelban in New York.

Wilson Sonsini represented Climate Corp. From the firm are corporate/M&A partners Michael Ringler and Rachel Proffitt in San Francisco, technology transactions partners Michael Murphy in Palo Alto, California, and Parag Gheewala in Seattle, antitrust partner Scott Sher in Washington, employee benefits and compensation partner Scott McCall in Palo Alto, and tax partner Ivan Humphreys, also in Palo Alto.

Closely held Climate Corp. was founded in 2006 by software engineers and data scientists who previously worked at Google Inc. and other Silicon Valley technology companies, St. Louis-based Monsanto said in a statement.

Using “hyper-local weather monitoring,” predictive models and other data to help farmers make optimal growing decisions can eventually boost corn yields by 30 bushels to 50 bushels an acre, Climate Corp. Chief Executive Officer David Friedberg said on a call with reporters Oct. 2. The company also helps farmers save money by avoiding badly timed pesticide use, he said.

For more on the deal, click here.

Law Firm News

Morgan Lewis Settlement With Howrey Estate Gets Court Approval

A federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 27 approved a $1.15 million settlement that Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP will pay to the Howrey LLP estate, ending litigation over unfinished business brought from the defunct firm.

Seven partners left Howrey before its dissolution and transferred 96 different hourly client matters with them to Morgan Lewis, according to court documents filed with the settlement.

The $1.15 million is one of the largest unfinished-business payments the estate received as of August 2013 and equals 9 percent of the business brought from Howrey. In August, trustee Allan Diamond settled an unfinished claim with Baker & Hostetler LLP for $41 million.

The case is In re Howrey LLP, 11-31376, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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