Carlton Fields Merges With Jorden Burt: Business of Law

Carlton Fields PA is merging with the class-action defense boutique Jorden Burt LLP, creating a firm with 370 legal professionals at 10 offices. The new firm will be led by Carlton Fields Chief Executive Officer Gary Sasso and called Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.

“The fit between our law firms is natural and powerful,” Sasso said in a statement. “Both firms have strong national practices in class-action defense and high-stakes litigation. We see an opportunity to match strength with strength, putting together highly capable professionals who like and respect each other.”

Carlton Fields has about 300 attorneys and government consultants in Florida, Atlanta and New York. The firm’s core practices include national class-action defense, national and international trial and appellate litigation, health care, white-collar defense and government investigations.

Jorden Burt has more than 70 lawyers in Washington, Miami and Hartford, Connecticut. The firm focuses on national class-action defense, litigation and corporate and regulatory representation of the financial-services industry, including insurance, banking, securities and health care.

“Over the past 25 years, we have built a strong national practice in class action defense, trial work, and representation of the financial services industry,” Jorden Burt’s managing partner, Jim Jorden, said in a statement. “In weighing alternatives about how best to grow our practices in the years to come, we concluded that Carlton Fields offers a unique combination of talent, platform, practices, values and philosophy.”

Jorden will be on the combined firm’s executive committee.

Nixon Peabody Names Seth Levy as Los Angeles Managing Partner

Nixon Peabody LLP named IP lawyer Seth Levy managing partner of the firm’s 55-lawyer Los Angeles office. Levy succeeds Rick Jones, who opened the office with Travis Gibbs in 2005

Levy’s practice focuses on intellectual-property protection, strategy and disputes, particularly in life sciences and health care, the firm said. He also handles a range of technology, clinical research and entertainment transactions and acts as outside general counsel to emerging growth companies.

Jones will continue representing educational institutions, nonprofit entities, underwriters and technology companies in structuring and executing financings, the firm said.

Nixon Peabody has more than 600 attorneys at offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Batista Said to Hire Quinn Emanuel Firm as OGX’s Default Looms

Former billionaire Eike Batista hired U.S. law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP to represent him as his oil company considers filing for bankruptcy protection, two people familiar with the matter said.

Quinn Emanuel was hired to work on restructuring and potential litigation matters in the U.S. for Batista, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA is considering filing for bankruptcy protection by the end of this month, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said last week. The filing would be done in Rio de Janeiro, where OGX is based, said the people, asking not to be identified as discussions are private. While Batista is negotiating with creditors to avoid the same process for shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA, the most likely outcome is that both companies will seek legal protection, they said.

OGX, the centerpiece of Batista’s commodities group, missed a $45 million Oct. 1 bond payment that puts Batista on the brink of Latin America’s biggest corporate default after oil deposits he valued at $1 trillion turned out to be commercial failures.

A representative for EBX, Batista’s holding company, didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on Quinn Emmanuel’s hiring yesterday.

Companies based outside the U.S. can file for court protection in the U.S. under Chapter 15 of U.S. bankruptcy law. Companies use Chapter 15 to protect their U.S. assets while they reorganize operations under the jurisdiction of a foreign bankruptcy court.

Quinn Emmanuel specializes in corporate litigation. The firm’s bankruptcy lawyers have worked on litigation tied to the bankruptcies of energy trader Enron Corp., futures trader Refco Inc. and oil-trader SemGroup LP, according to the firm’s website.

Partner Moves

Ninth Weil Partner in Month Joins Sidley in Dallas

Former Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP partner S. Scott Parel will join Sidley Austin LLP in Dallas as a member of the global private-equity and M&A practices.

Parel is the latest Weil partner to leave the firm from the Texas offices. He joins eight former Dallas partners who are moving to Sidley from Weil’s Dallas office, including two who were also members of the private-equity practice.

Weil lawyer Nicolas Barzoukas, who specializes in patent litigation, last week also announced plans to leave. He is joining Baker Botts LLP as a partner in the Houston office.

Multiple publications have reported that at least five other partners are leaving Weil in Texas. Above the Law reported that a Dallas corporate partner is leaving to join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The American Lawyer magazine reported that four partners, including Weil’s Houston office managing partner, are joining Winston & Strawn LLP in Houston.

Weil declined to comment on the departures. Winston Strawn didn’t return a phone call seeking confirmation of the hires.

Parel focuses his practice on complex corporate and transactional matters, representing private and pension fund sponsors and their portfolio companies in connection with leveraged acquisitions, minority investments, divestitures, joint ventures and restructurings, the firm said.

“We are extremely pleased to further expand our private-equity and M&A practices with a lawyer of Scott’s caliber,” Larry Barden, vice chairman of Sidley’s management committee, said in a statement. “He has built an impressive practice representing several leading private-equity sponsors.”

Sidley’s Dallas office, which opened in 1996, now has almost 60 lawyers including 16 associates and counsel from Weil who have accepted offers from Sidley, the firm said.

Sidley has about 1,700 lawyers in 19 offices worldwide.

Former AUSA Heidi Wendel Joins Jones Day in New York City

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Wendel joined Jones Day’s New York office in the health-care and life-sciences practices.

Wendel was chief of the U.S. attorney’s office’s civil frauds unit, which was established as the counterpart to the complex frauds unit in the criminal division, from September 2010 through last month. She investigated and prosecuted large-scale and sophisticated fraud in the health-care, mortgage, pharmaceutical and banking industries, the firm said.

As chief of the unit, Wendel oversaw the office’s civil frauds and other affirmative civil-enforcement cases outside the areas of environmental and tax law.

“Heidi’s experience at the U.S. attorney’s office puts her at the forefront of legal issues related to complex fraud investigations in a variety of industries,” Wesley Johnson, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s New York office, said in a statement.

Jones Day has more than 40 offices globally.

Mayer Brown Adds Two Securitization Partners in London.

Mayer Brown LLP said Richard Todd and David O’Connor will join its banking and finance group in London. Todd, a former Mayer Brown securitization lawyer, rejoins the firm from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. O’Connor, also a securitization specialist, joins from Allen & Overy LLP.

Todd has experience as a structured-finance partner who specializes in securitizations. He also has strong trade-finance and asset-based lending capabilities and advises both banks and companies.

O’Connor is a senior securitization lawyer whose practice includes RMBS, CMBS, covered bonds and CMBS restructuring, the firm said.

Mayer Brown has lawyers in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Commercial Litigator Steven Goldberg Returns to Manatt Phelps

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP said Steven M. Goldberg joined the firm’s Los Angeles office as a partner in the litigation practice. He was previously a partner at Russ August & Kabat.

Goldberg handles entertainment, real estate, securities, business tort, employment, insurance coverage and bad-faith litigation matters. He also works on intra-corporate disputes and antitrust, copyright and trademark-infringement litigation, the firm said.

Goldberg has twice been a partner at Manatt, in the 1980s and from 2000 to 2003.

Manatt Phelps has offices in California, New York and Washington.

Hinshaw & Culbertson Adds Three Labor and Employment Attorneys

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP said three Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith attorneys joined the firm’s labor and employment practice as partners in New York. They are Ivan D. Smith, Maureen M. Stampp and Gregory Glickman.

“The addition of these highly regarded partners in New York is a key step in advancing our strategy of growing the office in areas such as labor and employment, environment, white-collar litigation and professional liability and mass-tort defense where the firm already has strong existing practice groups,” J. Richard Supple Jr., partner-in-charge of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s New York office, said in a statement.

Smith was co-chairman of the entertainment practice and vice chairman of the labor and employment group at Lewis Brisbois. He has experience in employment-discrimination cases, with a specialty in class and multi-plaintiff cases in state and federal courts across the country.

Stampp represents clients before administrative agencies, providing legal services in the health-care, maritime, food service, trucking, engineering and media industries, and has represented teachers, lawyers and municipal unions.

Glickman practices labor and employment law and represents clients in workplace discrimination and traditional labor issues.

Hinshaw & Culbertson has 500 lawyers at 23 U.S. offices.

Barnes & Thornburg Adds to Wilmington Office with IP Litigator

Barnes & Thornburg LLP said Chad S.C. Stover joined its Wilmington, Delaware, office in the intellectual-property group. Previously, Stover was a partner at Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg LLP.

Stover, who represents financial institutions, manufacturers and technology developers, focuses his practice on patent litigation, trademark and copyright litigation, and unfair-competition and trade-secret litigation.

“Chad’s wealth of knowledge and experience will have immediate value for our clients involved in cases before the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, which is the top jurisdiction in the country for patent litigation,” David Powlen, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Wilmington office, said in a statement.

Barnes & Thornburg has more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals at its U.S. offices.


Plaintiffs Lawyers Seek $11 Million in E-Book Antitrust Cases

Lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP filed a request for $11 million in class counsel fees for the work the firm and co-counsel Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC performed on the electronic-book antitrust cases.

“When class counsel filed this case, it was willing to undertake the entire burden of this risky litigation alone,” according to the firm’s filing. “Once joined with the DOJ and the state attorneys general from 33 states, class counsel has worked efficiently to litigate this conspiracy against six sophisticated defendants.”

The plaintiffs’ firms worked with the U.S. and state governments preparing for the trials for more than two years, the firm said in its filing. Hagens Berman, Cohen Milstein and the government all filed suit, alleging a conspiracy among publishers to fix the prices of electronic books.

In July, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found Apple Inc. had conspired with the five publishers to fix e-book prices. Before the trial, the publishers -- Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan unit, CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Pearson Plc’s Penguin unit and News Corp.’s HarperCollins -- settled with the government for a total of at least $164 million.

Class counsel spent about 14,534 hours and $750,465 in expenses on the case, according to the court filing.

The case is In re electronic books antitrust litigation 11-md-02293, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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