GE Lawyer Barbuto Joins Sidley Austin: Business of Law

General Electric Co.’s senior mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Chris Barbuto, joined Sidley Austin LLP as a partner and member of the global M&A practice in New York.

Barbuto, who spent nine years at GE, had significant roles in the company’s auction of its global plastics business and its investment in and alliance with China’s XD Electric Group, the firm said. Barbuto also spent four years with GE Energy Financial Services, where he counseled on the company’s joint venture with ArcLight Capital Partners and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., among other matters.

“Chris’s experience will enable him to provide practical advice to clients seeking to execute on complex M&A, joint ventures, strategic alliances and divestitures,” Scott Freeman, global co-coordinator of Sidley’s M&A practice, said in a statement.

Ex-White House Lawyer Galbraith Joins Kilpatrick Townsend

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP said Charles Galbraith is joining its Washington office as counsel and will be a member of the firm’s Native American Affairs team.

Galbraith was the White House’s associate director of intergovernmental affairs and public engagement from 2011 to 2013, where he managed relationships with tribal governments and American Indians, the firm said.

Construction Partner McCay Rejoins Squire Sanders From Pannone

Squire Sanders expanded its construction team with the hiring of partner Sean McCay, who joins the Manchester, England, office from the Pannone firm.

McCay, who has 20 years of experience, was head of Pannone’s construction and engineering group and corporate services division. He previously spent 16 years at Squire Sanders, seven of them as a partner.

Structured Finance Lawyer to Join Latham & Watkins in London

Latham & Watkins LLP said Lucy Oddy will join the firm’s London office as a partner in the finance department. She’s coming from Berwin Leighton Paisner where she advises clients on cross-border finance matters in the U.K. and across Europe.

Firm News

Pillsbury Winthrop Creates Unmanned-Aircraft Systems Focus Team

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP announced the creation of an interdisciplinary legal team focused on unmanned-aircraft systems. The creation of the group follows the formation of similar practices at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and LeClairRyan.

Pillsbury’s practice is led by Kenneth Quinn, a former chief counsel at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The team includes lawyers with experience in aviation, international trade, communications, privacy and data security, finance and technology matters.

“This initiative is a logical next step in our market-leading commitment to the aviation industry with depth and breadth of relevant experience with airlines, airports and aerospace companies,” Pillsbury Chairman James Rishwaim Jr. said in a statement.

McKenna unveiled its unmanned aerial systems practice group this month in a statement that said that it is a natural extension of its aerospace industry work.

“The launch of the UAS practice is particularly timely given that the Federal Aviation Administration, as mandated by Congress, is expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on small UAS in fall 2014, with large UAS to follow,” Mark Dombroff, co-chairman of McKenna Long’s new practice, said in a statement.

LeClairRyan’s group represents manufacturers and operators, according to a firm statement. Tim Adelman is the new group’s leader and a shareholder in Annapolis, Maryland.

“We understand the practical aspects of the industry but are closely tracking the rapidly emerging legal and regulatory landscape as well,” Adelman said last month in a statement.


Malaysia Jet’s Mystery Disappearance Leaves Liability Riddle

As the final hours of Malaysian Air Flight 370 remain wrapped in mystery, the question of who bears full liability for the jet’s disappearance is also unresolved.

This much is clear: Families of the 227 passengers aboard the flight that vanished on March 8 can recover some compensation from Malaysian Airline System Bhd even if the plane isn’t found. The airline is liable under international treaty for as much as $175,000 a passenger, and possibly more.

For survivors to capture significantly greater damages, wreckage would probably have to be located and a narrative of the plane’s demise assembled.

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