Herbert Smith Appoints Practice Heads: Business of Law

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP partner Justin D’Agostino was appointed global head of dispute resolution for a four-year term beginning in May.

D’Agostino, based in Hong Kong, will continue to be involved with clients.

Herbert Smith Freehills also announced that London partner Tim Parkes was appointed to lead the general commercial litigation practice. Parkes is a litigator with more than 20 years of experience. His new responsibilities are in addition to his practice and his role in developing Herbert Smith Freehills’s new Germany and New York offices.


Simpson Thacher Clerk Charged in $5.6 Million Insider Scheme

A law firm clerk at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and a Morgan Stanley stockbroker were charged in what U.S. authorities said was an insider-trading scheme that netted more than $5.6 million in illicit profit.

Steven Metro, 40, the managing clerk at Simpson Thacher in New York, was accused of stealing confidential information on mergers, acquisitions and tender offers and tipping a middleman who passed it to Vladimir Eydelman, 42. Eydelman, a broker, worked at Oppenheimer & Co. and later Morgan Stanley, federal authorities said. The middleman became a cooperating witness.

The men invested more than $33 million over four years to buy securities in 13 transactions, including OfficeMax Inc. and Sirius XM Holdings Inc., authorities said. Eydelman bought securities for himself, family members, friends and clients, including the cooperating witness, they said. Metro and Eydelman were arrested today and are scheduled to appear in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

“These defendants are charged with using confidential information that Metro stole from his employer to reap huge illegal profits,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in Newark said in a statement.

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Robert S. Strauss, Top Washington Trouble-Shooter, Dies at 95

Robert S. Strauss, a consummate Washington power broker, Democratic Party leader and trusted counselor to presidents of both parties, has died. He was 95.

He died yesterday at his home in Washington, according to his son, Robert A. Strauss of Tucson, Arizona. No cause was given.

Before moving to Washington in 1970, Strauss co-founded what is now one of the largest U.S. law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Among his official roles, he led the Democratic National Committee from 1973 to 1977 and Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980. He was U.S. special trade representative and envoy to the Middle East during the Carter administration. Under Republican President George H.W. Bush, he served as the final U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, then the first ambassador to Russia after the Soviet communist system collapsed.

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Simpson Thacher, Cadwalader on JPMorgan $3.5 Billion Sale

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advised JPMorgan Chase & Co., which will sell its physical commodities unit to Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. for $3.5 billion, ending a five-year foray into owning and storing raw materials amid pressure from regulators to leave the business. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP represented Mercuria.

Mercuria’s legal team was led by Mark Greenberg, Mercuria’s top lawyer in North America, and Cadwalader corporate partners Robert Stephens and Ira Schacter, the firm said in a statement. Other Cadwalader partners on the deal included Greg Lawrence, regulatory; Richard Nugent, tax; Daryl Rice, commodities; and Jonathan Kanter, antitrust.

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Quarles & Brady Expands Chicago Office with Four Litigators

Quarles & Brady LLP added four attorneys to its Chicago office: Randall R. Fearnow, Edward D. Rickert, Jeffery M. Monberg and Mark W. Bina. All joined as partners from Krieg DeVault.

Fearnow, Rickert and Bina join the firm’s health law practice group. Monberg will be part of the commercial bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights practice group.

Foley Names Ex-Weil Lawyer as M&A Practice Co-Chairman

Joseph J. Basile, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s former Boston office managing partner, joined Foley Hoag LLP as a partner and co-chairman of its mergers and acquisitions practice.

Basile’s practice focuses on cross-border and domestic M&A transactions; control and minority investments; and joint ventures and strategic alliances, the firm said. Basile also advises publicly held companies on corporate governance, strategies for engaging with activist shareholders, securities law issues, disclosure and compliance matters.

“The variety and complexity of the transactions he has led span every element of mergers, acquisitions and investment counseling,” Foley Hoag co-managing partner William R. Kolb said in a statement.

M&A Partner Haire Joins Simpson Thacher’s Houston Office

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP added M. Breen Haire to the firm’s corporate practice as a partner in Houston. He was formerly at Baker Botts LLP. Haire’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions.

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