Ex-SEC Litigation Chief Joins WilmerHale: Business of Law

Matthew Martens, most recently chief litigation counsel for the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will be joining Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP as a partner in the securities and litigation practices.

Marten most recently won a fraud ruling in court against former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Fabrice Tourre. He joined the SEC in 2010 where he supervised the 40-lawyer trial unit in Washington as well as litigators nationally.

“We are delighted that Matt is joining WilmerHale. He has a track record of success as the lead trial lawyer at the SEC and before that as an Assistant U.S. Attorney,” Bob Novick, co-managing partner at WilmerHale, said in a statement.

WilmerHale has 1,000 lawyers at 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Law Firm News

Venable Opens Its Second Office on West Coast in San Francisco

Venable LLP opened a second West Coast office in San Francisco. It will be led by technology transactions and outsourcing partner Jim Nelson, who was previously based in the New York office.

Commercial litigator Tom Wallerstein, formerly of Colt Wallerstein, joins the newly opened office with two associates. Art Cirulnick, a Venable partner in the technology transactions practice, will also join the office, along with an of counsel from the practice.

“Through our legislative and regulatory practice, we are uniquely well-positioned to provide timely insight into, and dialog with, officials involved in the inner workings of the federal government, which is particularly relevant to burgeoning Bay Area industries and clients,” Venable’s chairman, Jim Shea said in a statement.

Venable has more than 600 lawyers at eight U.S. offices.


Willkie Advises Men’s Wearhouse, in Rejected Jos. A. Bank’s Bid

Men’s Wearhouse Inc. rejected a $2.3 billion cash takeover offer from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., saying the bid “significantly” undervalued the company and wasn’t in the best interest of shareholders.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is representing Men’s Wearhouse. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is advising Jos. A. Bank.

The Willkie team is led by partner Steven Seidman and includes partners Michael Schwartz and Laura Delanoy. Partner Jeffrey Hochman also provided assistance.

The Skadden team includes partners Paul Schnell and Jeremy London from the mergers and acquisitions practice.

Jos. A. Bank, based in Hampstead, Maryland, disclosed yesterday that it had made a nonbinding proposal on Sept. 18 to acquire Men’s Wearhouse for $48 a share, 36 percent higher than the previous day’s closing price.

The suitor is pouncing at a moment of turmoil for Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse, which cut its profit forecast last month and removed founder George Zimmer as executive chairman over strategy disagreements in June. Men’s Wearhouse’s last-reported annual sales of about $2.5 billion were more than twice those of Jos. A. Bank and it also has a higher market value.

“Jos. A. Bank’s unsolicited proposal is opportunistic, subject to unacceptable risks and contingencies, and would deprive our shareholders of the value inherent in Men’s Wearhouse for inadequate consideration,” Bill Sechrest, Men’s Wearhouse’s lead director, said today in a statement.

Partner Moves

Jones Day Adds Three Boston Partners From Holland & Knight

Three Holland & Knight LLP Boston partners with experience in real estate finance and federal and state tax credits are joining Jones Day. Partners Douglas R. Banghart, Jeffrey D. Gaulin, and John D. Kelley are joined by three associates.

“Tax credit incentives are complex, ever-changing and increasingly important to the bottom line,” Traci Lovitt, partner-in-charge of the Boston office said in a statement. “Doug, Jeff, and John have a national reputation for their mastery in this area. A broad range of our corporate and real estate industry clients, in Boston and beyond, will be well served by their counsel.”

Banghart practices in state and federal tax credit syndication, partnership taxation and nonprofit organizations. Gaulin focuses on structuring transactions involving historic rehabilitation tax credits, new markets tax credits and state tax credits, the firm said. Kelley concentrates on tax and business transactions with an emphasis on real estate syndication, partnership law and equity financing of partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations.

Jones Day has more than 40 offices throughout the world.

U.S. Senator William ‘Mo’ Cowan Returns to Mintz Levin

U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan, who was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, will return to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC. 

Cowan will be chief operating officer of ML Strategies, the firm’s government relations and strategic consulting affiliate, and be of counsel to the law firm. He will join the firm in November after finishing his term as a resident fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics.

“From his earliest years as a counselor to companies large and small to his service in the U.S. Senate, Mo has earned the admiration and respect of legions of people, from leaders in business and industry to the State House and Capitol Hill,” Robert I. Bodian, managing member of Mintz Levin said in a statement.

Cowan, a Democrat, was Patrick’s chief legal counsel and later chief of staff and senior adviser. Prior to that he was a member in the Boston office of Mintz Levin.

Mintz Levin has more than 450 lawyers at eight offices in the U.S. and U.K.

Proskauer Adds Private-Equity Buyouts Lawyer Steven Peck

Private-equity buyouts lawyer Steven M. Peck joined Proskauer Rose LLP’s corporate department and private-equity and mergers-and-acquisitions groups in Boston. He was previously at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Peck’s experience includes representing private-equity sponsors, multinational corporations and other market participants in transactional matters. He also advises clients regarding securities law issues, disclosure and compliance matters and corporate governance, the firm said.

Proskauer has lawyers at offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

White House Lawyer Michael Gottlieb Joins Boies Schiller

Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP hired Michael Gottlieb, who was the special assistant to the president and associate White House counsel for President Barack Obama. He joins the litigation practice in Washington.

“The addition of talent like Michael brings added focus to our regulatory and government litigation practices,” Jonathan Schiller, co-founder of Boies Schiller, said in an e-mailed statement. “Michael’s expertise and background will contribute to the seamless service we offer clients in understanding the regulatory and legislative environment in which they operate as part of the execution of successful litigation and problem-solving strategies,”

Boies Schiller has more than 200 lawyers in the U.S. and in a London office soon to be opened.

Former White House Independent Counsel Joins Fox Rothschild

Fox Rothschild LLP added Pryor Cashman LLP lawyer Robert Ray in the firm’s New York office.

Ray concentrates his practice on corporate governance and compliance issues, internal investigations and general litigation, including civil RICO and commercial fraud. He is a former federal prosecutor and independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation.

“Robert brings a distinctive background to the firm with his extensive experience,” Michael Slapo, Fox’s New York office managing partner, said in a statement. “His work with long-term and multidefendant federal prosecutions will prove to be a valuable asset to our clients nationwide.”

Fox Rothschild has more than 550 lawyers in 19 U.S. offices.


SEC’s White Unveils Website for Market Structure Data

Chairman Mary Jo White of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission talks about the introduction of the SEC’s website for market structure data and analysis.

She speaks at a news conference in Washington. John Ramsay, acting director of the SEC’s trading and markets division; Craig Lewis, chief economist at the SEC; and Gregg Berman, associate director of the SEC’s office of analytics, also speak.

For more, click here.

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