Holland & Knight Adds Lawyers in Bogota: Business of Law

Holland & Knight LLP is expanding its Bogota office with the addition of 13 attorneys in a local firm that specializes in energy, environmental and natural resources law and infrastructure matters.

Jose Vicente Zapata, of Suarez Zapata Partners Abogados, will join the firm this month as a partner along with 12 associates.

“We will have a critical mass of legal expertise in all of the areas that are vital to Colombia’s economy and future,” Enrique Gomez-Pinzon, executive partner of the firm’s Bogota office, said in a statement.

Holland & Knight opened an office in Bogota in 2012 and is one of three U.S.-based law firms there, the firm said. The new lawyers will allow the firm to expand beyond its transactions, arbitration, labor and tax law services.

Zapata is a former officer and legal representative of oil and gas corporations and president of Columbus Energy Sucursal Colombia.

Baker Donelson Adds a Third Florida Office in Tallahassee

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz PC opened an office in Tallahassee, the firm’s third Florida location, with the hiring of two partners and an associate.

Kelly Overstreet Johnson, who will head the new office, joins from Broad and Cassel. Dena H. Sokolow, who also joins as a shareholder, was previously with Allen Norton and Blue PA.

Baker Donelson entered the Florida market in November 2011 through a merger with the Orlando firm Litchford & Christopher. It added a Fort Lauderdale location last year.

Johnson, a past president of the Florida Bar, is a member of the business and employment litigation groups, where she handles cases in commercial, real estate and employment discrimination defense matters, the firm said.

Sokolow joins the labor and employment group.

Partner Moves

Covington Hires New European Competition Head in Brussels

Covington & Burling LLP announced that Johan Ysewyn and Peter Camesasca are joining the firm’s Brussels office in the global antitrust and competition practice.

Ysewyn, who will head Covington’s European competition practice, joins from Clifford Chance LLP. Camesasca returns to Covington after two years running his own firm.

Ex-Dallas DOJ Deputy Criminal Chief Joins Bracewell & Giuliani

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, former deputy criminal chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, joined the firm in Dallas.

His recent cases included those against Provident Royalties, for an oil and gas fraud scheme, and the Infosys Ltd. settlement, the largest immigration payment ever levied for corporate misuse of visas, the firm said in a statement.

Venable Adds U.S. EPA Deputy General Counsel Bicky Corman

Bicky Corman, a longtime government regulatory attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has joined Venable LLP in the Washington environmental practice.

Corman has almost three decades of experience in environmental regulation, litigation and policy. She worked at the EPA as deputy general counsel, senior sustainability adviser and deputy associate administrator.


U.S. Prosecutors Rarely Charge Banks Since Results Can Be Fatal

If the Justice Department follows through on a threat to bring criminal charges against Credit Suisse Group AG and BNP Paribas SA, it will depart from years of standard practice.

The government rarely charges large banks -- or any other corporation -- because it usually proves fatal for the company. The 2002 indictment of accounting firm Arthur Andersen put some 85,000 people out of work and created a public relations debacle for the Justice Department that still influences its decision-making, former officials and defense lawyers said.

“If you indict a major financial institution, absent orchestrated board-level crimes, it will have ramifications for years,” said Jamie Wareham, a partner at DLA Piper in Washington who stressed he was not commenting on specific firms.

For more, click here.


Bridge Scandal Grand Jury Said to Subpoena Christie-Tied Lawyer

A U.S. grand jury probing the George Washington Bridge scandal subpoenaed a lawyer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with close ties to Governor Chris Christie, two people familiar with the matter said.

Phillip Kwon, a deputy general counsel at the Port Authority, was summoned to appear before a panel probing the politically motivated traffic jams last September in Fort Lee, New Jersey, said the people, who weren’t authorized to discuss the subpoena because it isn’t public.

Several other officials at the Port Authority, which runs the bridge, have also been contacted by prosecutors working for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, one of the people said. Fishman is investigating whether crimes were committed in the lane closings. The pace of the probe is increasing as investigators assemble documents and talk to possible witnesses, the person said.

Kwon played a behind-the-scenes role after the traffic tie-ups by helping prepare testimony to the state Assembly Transportation Committee by William Baroni, the Port Authority’s former deputy executive director. Baroni told lawmakers on Nov. 25 that closing two of three local access lanes to the bridge from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12 was part of a traffic study.

For more, click here.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.