Akin Gump’s Millett Confirmed to Circuit: Business of Law

Patricia A. Millett, co-head of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s Supreme Court and national appellate practices, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a federal appeals court judge for the D.C. Circuit.

Millett’s confirmation was stymied Oct. 31 by Senate Republicans who said there isn’t enough work to justify filling the vacancy. They didn’t dispute Millett’s professional qualifications as a Supreme Court litigator but contended that her nomination was part of President Barack Obama’s plan to “pack” the court with judges more likely to uphold rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies.

The court is considered the nation’s second-most influential because it hears appeals of regulatory cases.

On Nov. 21, the Senate changed its rules to let a simple majority to confirm most presidential nominees, defying opposition from Republicans who called it the most dangerous revision of its process in more than two centuries.

“We are incredibly proud of Pattie for this significant achievement, which speaks both to her tremendous knowledge and experience, as well as to her unquestionable work ethic and integrity,” Akin Gump Chairman Kim Koopersmith said in a statement. “While she will be missed, our Supreme Court practice is in excellent hands with Pratik Shah, who will continue to lead the practice.”

Shah joined the firm in August from the solicitor general’s office. He has argued more than a dozen cases before the Supreme Court while authoring merits briefs in 10 others, the firm said. The firm’s national appellate practice will continue to be led by Los Angeles partner Rex Heinke.

Also benefiting from the rule change is U.S. Representative Mel Watt, a North Carolina lawyer who has served in the House since 1993. Watt will oversee the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after winning Senate confirmation to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a 57-to-41 vote yesterday.

Akin Gump has more than 850 attorneys in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


S&C, Wachtell, Dechert on CVS, Cardinal Health Deal

CVS Caremark Corp., the largest supplier of prescription drugs in the U.S., and Cardinal Health Inc. plan to start a venture that will be the biggest source of generic medicines in the country. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP represents CVS, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is advising Cardinal Health.

S&C’s New York-based team for CVS includes corporate partners Matt Hurd and Brian Hamilton. CVS Caremark antitrust counsel was handling by Dechert LLP’s Mike Cowie.

Wachtell Lipton’s team is led by corporate partners David A. Katz and David K. Lam and includes Nelson O. Fitts, antitrust; David E. Kahan, executive compensation and benefits; and Deborah L. Paul, tax.

The venture, set to debut as soon as July 1, will be owned equally by CVS and Cardinal Health, the second-biggest drug distributor, the two companies said in a statement. Cardinal also agreed to make payments totaling $435 million to CVS during the life of the accord.

CVS, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal will combine sourcing and supply-chain expertise for the venture. No physical assets will be contributed to the enterprise.

Firm News

Littler Mendelson Expands with Puerto Rican Combination

Employment and labor law firm Littler Mendelson PC will combine with 22-lawyer Puerto Rican firm Schuster Aguilo on Jan. 1, adding the firm’s sixth location in Latin America.

“Our partnership with Schuster Aguilo, one of Puerto Rico’s most respected law firms, immediately provides Littler with the most significant presence in the region of any global law firm,” Jeremy Roth, Littler’s co-managing director, said in a statement. “Their local expertise and deep ties to the Puerto Rican legal and business communities, supported by our deep domestic and global platform, creates an extremely advantageous position for both firms.”

Littler’s combination with Schuster Aguilo gives the firm more than 150 Spanish-speaking attorneys at its 60 offices.

It is the latest of several recent mergers for Littler. In October, the firm announced it was combining with Columbian law firm Godoy Cordoba Abogados and Central American law firm BDS Asesores. The firm first expanded internationally in October 2010, opening an office in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2012, the firm opened two offices in Mexico.

Schuster Aguilo, based in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, is led by managing partner Rafael Aguilo-Velez and partners Carl Schuster, Carlos Villafane-Real, Anabel Rodriguez-Alonso, Mariela Rexach-Rexach, Lourdes Hernandez-Venegas and Shiara Dilone-Fernandez.

“There is no other national law firm in our market that can offer such extensive resources and exceptional talent to handle our clients’ complex labor and employment issues,” Aguilo-Velez said in a statement. “Littler is the ideal stateside partner and we are excited about the tremendous opportunities this will open up for our firm.”

Littler has more than 1,000 attorneys.

Douglas Masters Named Loeb & Loeb Chicago Office Head

Loeb & Loeb LLP announced that Chicago office founding partner Douglas N. Masters was named head of that office. He will succeed Elizabeth Majers, who has been in the role since early 2012 and will be retiring from the practice of law at the end of the year.

Masters will be responsible for general oversight of the office and working with firm management to broaden the firm’s presence in Chicago, as well as to expand its services in the region.

“We know that Doug will continue to build on the great work that Elizabeth has done, ensuring that the Chicago office is operating effectively and efficiently from both a staffing and client services perspective,” Loeb & Loeb Chairman Michael D. Beck said in a statement.

Masters will also continue his work litigating and counseling clients in intellectual-property, advertising and unfair competition matters. He advises sports leagues, athletes, advertisers, corporations and individuals on how to protect and manage branding, marketing and other intellectual property assets, the firm said. He also counsels clients on trademark and copyright clearance, registration, policing and enforcement, as well as consumer protection issues.

Loeb & Loeb has more than 300 attorneys in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Nashville, Washington and Beijing, as well as an affiliate office in Hong Kong.


Former Air Force General Counsel Blanchard Joins Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter LLP said Charles A. Blanchard, who spent 4 1/2 years as general counsel of the U.S. Air Force, will join the firm as a partner in its government contracts and national security practices in January.

Blanchard will provide guidance to the firm’s defense clients, particularly on major weapon systems procurement and acquisition, enforcement, classified programs and cyber security, Arnold & Porter said in a statement.

“With a unique 28-year legal career that includes presidential appointments, as well as a highly regarded law practice, Chuck brings an important combination of government and private-practice perspectives to clients doing business with the federal government,” Arnold & Porter Chairman Thomas Milch said in a statement. “His experience at the intersection of law and national security will greatly benefit our clients.”

Blanchard’s government service also includes a tenure as general counsel of the Army and chief counsel to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He served two terms as a member of the Arizona Senate and was interim homeland security director for Governor Janet Napolitano in 2003.

Arnold & Porter has almost 800 lawyers in the U.S. and Europe.

McDermott Hires Private-Equity Leader Von Jacobs in Munich

Nikolaus von Jacobs joins McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s Munich office in its corporate advisory practice. Von Jacobs, who headed the German private-equity practice at Ashurst LLP, will lead McDermott’s German private-equity activities.

Von Jacobs specializes in private-equity, venture-capital and mergers-and-acquisitions work. His clients are mainly private-equity funds and DAX/MDAX-listed companies, the firm said.

“We are gaining a highly regarded colleague who is an ideal complement to our German transaction practice, which continues to gain an excellent reputation among our clients as well as in the market,” David Goldman, head of the firm’s international corporate advisory practice group, said in a statement. “Further growth is planned as we continue our strategic expansion.”

McDermott has more than 1,100 lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Energy Lawyer Lloyd MacNeil Joins Dechert’s Los Angeles Office

Dechert LLP said Lloyd J. MacNeil joined the firm as a partner in the corporate practice in Los Angeles. He was most recently a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

MacNeil focuses his practice on the energy and infrastructure sector, advising on project development and financing, as well as mergers and acquisitions. His experience includes representing project sponsors, developers, lenders and investors on renewable and nonrenewable energy transactions.

Dechert has lawyers in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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