Baker Botts Advises Regency in PVR Deal: Business of Law

Baker Botts LLP is representing Regency Energy Partners LP on its agreement to buy PVR Partners LP for about $3.88 billion in stock and cash to expand natural gas transport and processing capabilities.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is advising PVR.

Baker Botts lawyers on the deal include partners Neel Lemon, Breen Haire, Joshua Davidson, Steve Marcus, A.J. Ericksen, Rob Fowler, Paul Cuomo, Scott Janoe, Doug Rayburn and Luke Weedon.

The V&E team is led by capital markets partners Michael Swidler and Mike Rosenwasser. Also assisting are partners Price Manford, Gary Huffman and David D’Alessandro.

Regency is a pipeline partnership controlled by billionaire Kelcy Warren’s Energy Transfer Equity LP. PVR holders will get 1.02 common units of Regency for each unit they own and a one-time cash payment estimated at about $40 million in total, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday.

The transaction, expected to be completed in the first quarter, will extend Regency’s operations into the Marcellus Shale, the largest U.S. shale-gas basin, the Utica Shale in Ohio and the Granite Wash fields in Texas and Oklahoma, Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Bradley said in the statement.

For more, click here.


Libor Trader Hayes Switches Lawyers Ahead of U.K. Plea Hearing

Tom Hayes, the former UBS AG and Citigroup Inc. trader who became the first individual charged in the U.K. over the rigging of interest-rate benchmarks, switched lawyers ahead of a plea hearing.

Hayes hired U.K. law firm Garstangs Burrows Bussin in place of Fulcrum Chambers to advise him as he approaches the Oct. 21 hearing, Lydia Jonson, his former lawyer at Fulcrum Chambers in London, said in an e-mailed statement.

Hayes is charged with conspiring with employees of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Rabobank Groep and Deutsche Bank AG, as well as Tullett Prebon Plc, ICAP Plc and RP Martin Holdings Ltd., over a four-year period to manipulate yen Libor rates.

He’s scheduled to enter a plea at a court hearing this month in London. Two former RP Martin brokers also charged with manipulation of the London interbank offered rate will appear at the hearing as well.

Firm News

Herrick Feinstein Opens Istanbul, Washington Offices

Herrick, Feinstein LLP opened sites in Washington and Istanbul, giving the firm a total of five offices.

“This expansion is an important milestone in Herrick’s 85-year history,” Irwin A. Kishner, chairman of Herrick’s executive committee, said in a statement.

The Washington office will enhance the firm’s state and local government-relations capabilities in Albany, New York, and New York City, according to the statement. Members of Herrick’s government-relations team will contribute to the growth of the office, including Michael E. McMahon, former representative for New York’s 13th congressional district, and Elizabeth Holtzman, who for eight years represented New York’s 16th congressional district, the firm said.

Herrick has represented the Turkish government and many Turkish companies. The firm’s relationship with Turkey began in the late 1980s, when the co-chairman of the firm’s Turkish practice, Lawrence M. Kaye, led a team that recovered Turkey’s Lydian Hoard antiquities and 1,800 ancient Greek and Lycian coins, the firm said.

Herrick’s Istanbul office will be led by partner and Turkish practice group co-chairman Barbaros M. Karaahmet, who began his career at the firm in 1995. Kaye, a senior partner and member of Herrick’s executive committee, and McMahon, who served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was a member of the Turkish Caucus, will also play a role in the Istanbul office.

Herrick has 170 lawyers and is based in New York City.

John Martin Named Head of Baker Botts’ Palo Alto Office

Corporate lawyer John Martin, chairman of Baker Botts LLP’s technology sector, will become the partner in charge of the Palo Alto, California, office.

Martin succeeds founding partner-in-charge B.C. Boren, who opened the office in 2008 and managed its growth from four lawyers to more than 20, the firm said.

“John is well-equipped to take on the challenge of building on the foundation B.C. established during his more than five years developing our Palo Alto office into a strong and vibrant resource for our clients,” Baker Botts managing partner Andrew Baker said in a statement.

Martin’s corporate practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and corporate governance. He recently relocated to Palo Alto from Dallas to bolster the firm’s corporate practice in Silicon Valley and to leverage his technology sector leadership role within the firm, according to the statement.

“Our clients -- well established in Silicon Valley or with major interests in the region -- have been instrumental in fueling our growth since we opened our doors five years ago,” Martin said.

Baker Botts has about 700 lawyers at 15 offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and China.

Partner Moves

Reed Smith Adds Tax and Transfer Pricing Trio From Dentons

Reed Smith LLP added an international tax and transfer pricing team of three partners along with one counsel and one economist from Dentons LLP.

The group is led by partner David Hryck, formerly U.S. head of international tax at Dentons, and includes partners Jeffrey Korenblatt and David Mason.

Hryck and Korenblatt join Reed Smith’s tax, benefits and wealth planning group. Mason is a member of the firm’s corporate and securities group. Hryck and Mason join the New York office while Korenblatt is resident in Washington.

“This group complements the firm’s tax practice, and adds greater depth to our international tax capabilities,” James Tandler, chairman of Reed Smith’s tax, benefits and wealth planning practice, said in a statement. “Adding an entirely new transfer pricing practice to our international tax capability will benefit a broad range of Reed Smith clients. Transfer pricing is a highly specialized and increasingly important area of global commerce that we are happy to now be able to offer our clients.”

Hryck advises high-net-worth individuals and multinational companies on their business transactions and corporate structures. Korenblatt advises on the tax-efficient structuring of domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, and other matters. Mason focuses on transactional matters, including M&A, capital markets, private equity and corporate governance.

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

Clifford Chance Private Equity Partner Joins Latham in London

Latham & Watkins LLP said Tom Evans will join the firm’s London office as a partner in the corporate department. He was previously at Clifford Chance LLP, where he was part of the private equity group.

His practice focuses on domestic and international transactional work for private equity clients.

“While we have seen improvements in liquidity in European leveraged finance bank lending, accessing the high yield and U.S. bank finance markets is increasingly attractive for European private equity deals,” Nick Cline, Latham & Watkins’s London office managing partner, said in a statement.

Evans is the fourth partner hired by Latham’s London office since May, when David Walker, former global head of private equity at Clifford Chance, joined the firm. Dean Naumowicz, former head of derivatives at Norton Rose Fulbright, and Simon Bushell, former co-chairman of corporate fraud at Herbert Smith Freehills, also recently joined the firm.

Latham & Watkins has about 2,100 lawyers in offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.

Crowell & Moring Adds to Government Contracts Lawyers

Crowell & Moring LLP added Gail D. Zirkelbach and David J. Ginsberg to the firm’s government contracts group in Los Angeles. They joined the firm from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

Zirkelbach’s and Ginsberg’s practices include internal fraud and ethics investigations, bid protests at the federal and state levels, litigation and arbitration of disputes involving government contractors, and government contracts compliance counseling.

“The addition of Gail and David to our group in Los Angeles gives further depth to our West Coast presence and continues to enhance our national government contracts bench,” Angela B. Styles, co-chairwoman of Crowell & Moring’s government contracts group, said in a statement.

Zirkelbach focuses her practice on internal investigations, defense of fraud actions and white-collar criminal defense for aerospace and technology companies in government contracts and compliance areas.

Ginsberg’s background includes counseling clients in establishing and adhering to government contract compliance programs, federal and state bid protests, and cost accounting matters.

Crowell & Moring has more than 500 lawyers at offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, California, Anchorage, Alaska, London and Brussels.

Foley Adds Health Care Lawyer Lisa Estrada in New York

Foley & Lardner LLP said Lisa Estrada joined the firm’s health-care industry team as a partner in the New York office. She previously led Arent Fox LLP’s national health-care practice group.

Estrada has represented clients in government investigations, False Claims Act litigation and other enforcement matters. She also counsels dialysis providers, medical-device suppliers, hospitals, hospices and home health-care providers on compliance with the FCA, anti-kickback statutes, physician self-referral laws and regulations.

“As the government continues to roll out new regulations and increase enforcement actions against health-care providers, Lisa will be a key strategic adviser to our clients in New York and nationally,” Lawrence Vernaglia, chairman of Foley’s health-care industry team, said in a statement.

Foley has about 900 attorneys in 21 offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

FordHarrison Adds Fred Gaona in Dallas From Crain Cubbage

Labor and employment law firm FordHarrison LLP added Fred Gaona III in the Dallas office. He was previously at Crain Cubbage Healy Hedgpeth Johnson & Wilson PLLC.

Gaona has litigation experience on behalf of management in connection with all types of employment disputes. He also handles general litigation matters and resolves disputes related to noncompetition agreements.

FordHarrison has more than 200 attorneys in 25 U.S. offices.


Dean Says Law Schools Use Merit Scholarships to Boost Rankings

Law schools need to find ways to cut the expense of merit scholarships, which they “use to buy students” with high LSAT scores to improve the schools’ US News rankings, Brooklyn Law School Dean and Patton Boggs LLP partner Nicholas Allard tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

The money would be better spent on scholarships for students with financial need, he says. This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.