Reed Smith Adds DLA Privacy Chairman: Business of Law

Reed Smith LLP said Michael O’Neil joined as a partner in the Chicago office, where he will be a member of the firm’s global regulatory enforcement group.

O’Neil was chairman of the privacy litigation group at DLA Piper LLP and vice chairman of that firm’s Chicago litigation practice group.

“Michael enjoys a stellar reputation for an outstanding career defending class-action privacy claims,” Debra H. Dermody, co-chairwoman of Reed Smith’s global regulatory enforcement group, said in a statement.


Senate Blocks Obama’s Civil Rights Nominee

The Senate blocked Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, bowing to objections from Republicans and law-enforcement groups over his role in helping overturn the death sentence of a convicted Philadelphia cop killer.

“As a lawyer, Mr. Adegbile has played by the rules,” President Obama said. “And now, Washington politics have used the rules against him. The fact that his nomination was defeated solely based on his legal representation of a defendant runs contrary to a fundamental principle of our system of justice -– and those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant.”

That decision came a quarter-century after the conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black Panther activist who has become known as a jailhouse author. He’s now serving a life sentence after prosecutors declined to retry the case.

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Partner Moves Roundup

Manatt, King & Spalding, Squire Sanders: Lateral Partner Moves

Jesse M. Brody joined the Los Angeles office of

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP in the advertising, marketing and media practice group. He was previously at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, where he was co-chairman of the gaming practice group.

King & Spalding LLP established a Paris tax practice with the addition of partner Aurelia de Viry, who has experience in French real estate and corporate tax law. De Viry joins the firm from Clifford Chance LLP.

Squire Sanders announced the appointment of Michelle Chen in the global corporate practice in London. She was previously director of China business at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Leaving Squire Sanders is Jordan A. Kroop, who joined Perkins Coie LLP’s Phoenix office as a partner in the financial transactions and restructuring group.

Holland & Knight LLP announced that Stefanie G. Box joined the firm’s public companies and securities team in Atlanta. Most recently, she was senior division counsel for Georgia-Pacific LLC’s consumer-products division.

Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP announced that Yoram Keinan, who was at Greenberg Traurig LLP, joined as a partner in the tax department.


U.S. Supreme Court Seeks Middle Ground on Shareholder Suits

U.S. Supreme Court justices sought out a middle ground to preserve class-action shareholder lawsuits as they heard a case testing the legal rules that have fostered thousands of cases during the past quarter century.

Hearing arguments yesterday in Washington, the justices considered a bid by Halliburton Co. to overturn a 1988 decision that forms the legal basis for 80 percent of the group securities suits filed each year.

The one-hour session suggested that two potential swing votes, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, weren’t willing to go that far. Kennedy repeatedly asked about a proposal by two law professors to give defendants more tools to stop shareholder lawsuits at an early stage, without abolishing class actions altogether.

The shareholders, led by the Erica P. John Fund and represented by David Boies, contend that from 1999 to 2001 Halliburton falsified earnings reports, played down estimated asbestos liability and overstated the benefits of a merger.

Backed by business groups, Halliburton is seeking to overturn a watershed Supreme Court ruling, known as Basic v. Levinson, that four of the nine justices have previously called into question.

The idea behind the Basic ruling was that securities markets operate efficiently. Halliburton’s lawyer, Aaron Streett, argued that experience and research have shown the market to be much less efficient than the court thought.

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Firm News

Anderson Kill Opens Dallas Office, Hires Richard Y. Cheng

Anderson Kill PC, known for its work in insurance recovery, opened an office in Dallas, its seventh U.S. location.

David P. Bender Jr., an insurance recovery shareholder in the firm’s office in Ventura, California, will divide his time between the two locations. Also resident in the new office will be Richard Y. Cheng, a solo practitioner with experience as senior in-house counsel, who joins the firm as a shareholder.

Cheng concentrates his practice in the health-care and hospitality industries, providing counsel in regulatory matters, transactional work, litigation, insurance recovery and other matters.

James Rowley

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