Duke Breaks Top 10 in U.S. News Rankings: Business of Law

U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings for 2015 are led by the usual schools, with one exception: Duke University’s School of Law broke into the top tier for the first time since 2010 by tying for 10th with University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Yale University was ranked first and Harvard University second on the list released today.

“A graduate degree is a major investment of both time and money,” Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report, said today in a statement. “Our Best Graduate Schools rankings are designed to help prospective students research and identify the right programs to pursue in their field of interest.”

The schools are ranked based on new students’ standardized test scores, expert opinions on program quality, acceptance rates and job placement success, among other factors.

Stanford University was ranked third and Columbia University and University of Chicago tied for fourth. New York University was fifth, followed by University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and University of California at Berkeley.

Several schools that didn’t crack the top 10 were ranked first in specialty programs, including Georgetown University’s clinical training program. Stetson University took first for trial advocacy while Pepperdine University was first for dispute resolution.

Click here for U.S. News website.

Partner Moves

Morgan Lewis Adds Bingham Team focused on Energy Clients

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP added a cross-practice team of four lawyers from Bingham McCutchen LLP, who will work for the firm’s energy clients.

The team includes three partners. Mark Williams joins the energy practice in Washington. In Boston, Daniel Nelson joins the tax practice, and Gerald Kehoe joins the business and finance practice’s private investment funds group.

“The ability to leverage knowledge and experience across practices sets us apart and enables us to address the constantly evolving legal demands of our clients investing in energy and infrastructure,” Kathryn Sutton, co-leader of Morgan Lewis’s energy industry practice, said in a statement.

Cisco Systems’s Golodner Joins Kaye Scholer to Lead New Group

Adam Golodner joined Kaye Scholer LLP as a partner in the Washington office from Cisco Systems Inc., where he created and led the company’s global cybersecurity and privacy policy initiatives.

He will be a member of the firm’s complex commercial litigation department and lead Kaye Scholer’s new global cybersecurity and privacy group, the firm said in a statement.

“Of all the strategic risks C-level executives face, perhaps none threaten to undermine a company’s reputation and business model more than the disruption of the provision of core functional services, the loss of proprietary data or the breach of confidential customer information,” Kaye Scholer managing partner Michael Solow said in a statement. “Nearly every one of our clients can potentially benefit from the insights and counsel Adam offers.”

Ex-SEC Regional Director Carmen Lawrence Joins King & Spalding

King & Spalding LLP announced that Carmen J. Lawrence, a former director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Northeast region, is joining from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where she was co-head of securities enforcement and white-collar criminal defense.

She joins former Fried Frank practice co-heads Dixie L. Johnson in Washington and William F. Johnson, who is with King & Spalding in New York.

The government investigations and special matters practice at King & Spalding includes 37 veterans of posts at the Justice Department and SEC, the firm said.

Oil and Gas Attorney Michael Byrd Joins Akin Gump in Houston

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP announced the addition of Michael J. Byrd as a partner in the Houston energy practice. He joins from Baker & McKenzie LLP, where he was chairman of the North America oil and gas practice group.

Byrd’s practice emphasizes upstream M&A transactions.

Cooley Adds Capital Markets Group New York Partner Divakar Gupta

Cooley LLP said Divakar Gupta, formerly of Latham & Watkins LLP, joined the firm in its business department. He will be a member of the capital markets practice group, based in New York.


Cravath Swaine Advises Minerals Technologies on Amcol Deal

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is advising Minerals Technologies Inc., which agreed to acquire U.S. clay-products maker Amcol International Corp. for $1.49 billion, ending a monthlong bidding war with France’s Imerys SA. Amcol’s advisers include Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

The Cravath team included partners Scott A. Barshay and Andrew R. Thompson, mergers and acquisitions; Stephen M. Kessing, finance; Eric W. Hilfers, executive compensation and benefits; and Lauren Angelilli, tax.

The Kirkland team of partners included Scott Falk and Richard Brand, corporate; Scott Price, executive compensation; Keith Villmow, tax; and Bilal Sayyed, antitrust and competition.

For more, click here.


GM Picks Former Lehman Investigator Valukas for Recall Probe

General Motors Co. hired Jenner & Block LLP Chairman Anton Valukas, who served as a U.S. Justice Department-appointed examiner of the downfall of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., to help lead an internal investigation of an ignition-switch failure tied to at least 13 deaths.

The probe of the handling of the flaw that prompted the recall of 1.6 million vehicles is being conducted jointly by a team led by Chicago-based Valukas and GM General Counsel Michael Millikin, the automaker said in a statement. Attorneys from King & Spalding LLP are also part of the team conducting the investigation, GM said.

For more, click here.


ABN Amro Lawyer’s Unfair Firing Not Due to Race, Judges Say

A London employment tribunal ruled that a former U.K. lawyer at ABN Amro Group NV was unfairly fired by the bank even as it rejected claims she was discriminated against because of her race, gender or religion.

ABN Amro’s former U.K. head of legal, Angela Cobbina, 41, who is black, sued the Dutch lender saying she was subjected to racial discrimination by an executive, Paul Schuilwerve.

For more, click here.

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