Kaye Scholer Hires Paul Hastings Lawyer: Business of Law

Robert Claassen, the former chairman of Paul Hastings LLP’s Silicon Valley corporate practice, joined Kaye Scholer LLP as a partner in Palo Alto, California.

“His extensive experience advising clients in the technology and emerging-growth space makes him an ideal fit,” Michael Solow, Kaye Scholer’s managing partner, said in a statement.

Claassen advises on company formations, venture capital and private equity financings, initial public offerings and other matters, according to the statement.

Law Firm News

Stockton Creditors Use Detroit’s Law Firm in Anti-Pension Stand

Stockton, California’s plan to exit bankruptcy by paying retired city workers more than some bondholders is being fought by the same law firm that helped Detroit craft a similar proposal to resolve its debt woes.

In closing arguments in Sacramento today, James Johnston of the Jones Day law firm is to argue that his client, Franklin Resources Inc., is being treated unfairly because Stockton is offering only 1 percent of what it owes the company’s funds, while public worker pensions will be paid in full.

Stockton, a city of 298,000 about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of San Francisco, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after spending too much on downtown improvement projects and property-tax revenue plunged in the housing crisis. Creditors filed $1.18 billion in claims.

The city is asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein to approve a plan that continues paying the California Public Employees’ Retirement System the full amount it’s owed. San Mateo, California-based Franklin says Calpers should be treated like any other creditor and face cuts.

In July, Bruce Bennett, Johnston’s colleague at Jones Day, is scheduled to defend Detroit’s plan to pay the city pension system at a rate six times greater than some bondholders will be paid. The plan was negotiated by Detroit’s emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr, who was previously a partner at Jones Day, where he helped shepherd Chrysler Group LLC through its bankruptcy.

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Chancery Court Litigator David Margules Joins Ballard Spahr

David J. Margules, formerly a partner at Wilmington, Delaware-based litigation boutique Bouchard Margules & Friedlander PA, joined Ballard Spahr LLP as a partner and a member of the litigation department and the firm’s commercial litigation, appellate and mergers and acquisitions/private equity groups.

Sidley Adds Corporate, Life Sciences Partner in Palo Alto

Sam Zucker, formerly of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, joined Sidley Austin LLP’s Palo Alto, California, office as a partner in the life-sciences and corporate emerging-companies and venture-capital practice groups.

Zucker focuses on corporate transactions for life sciences and health-care technology companies in the U.S., Asia and elsewhere.

Holland & Knight Adds Three Business Lawyers in Chicago

Holland & Knight LLP added two lawyers to its Chicago office from Greenberg Traurig LLP. Daniel Kraus and Edward Lam will be on the firm’s syndication group as partners, along with a senior counsel also from Greenberg.

Kraus focuses on taxation and tax-credit transactions. Lam works on matters involving tax-credit syndication, the firm said.

Allen & Overy Expands Global Antitrust Practice in Washington

Allen & Overy LLP said John Roberti joined the firm’s global antitrust practice as a partner in Washington. He was previously at Mayer Brown LLP and has also worked as an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.

Roberti represents clients in government and private antitrust litigation.


Large and Small Firm Leaders Agree on Trends, Not Responses

There’s a growing gap between the way larger and smaller firms handle permanent changes in the legal landscape, according to a poll of law firm leaders by Altman Weil, the legal consulting company.

Greater price competition, practice efficiency, commoditization of legal work, competition from nontraditional service providers and non-hourly billing are among the changes facing firms, Altman Weil found in its survey of 304 firms, including about two-fifths of the 350 largest U.S. law firms.

“Many firms, especially firms with fewer than 250 lawyers, are not making sufficient investments in a future they acknowledge will be different -- and different in seemingly predictable ways,” Tom Clay, an Altman Weil principal and the survey’s co-author, said in a statement.

The poll found that almost half of firms with 250 or more lawyers have changed their pricing strategies, while only 22 percent of firms with 50 to 249 lawyers have done so.

The differences were also reflected in the delivery of legal services, with 54 percent of the large-firm group reporting that they are pursuing change, compared with 34 percent of the smaller firms.

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Apple, Google Reshaped by Silicon Valley Judge Koh’s Gavel

The ascent of Lucy H. Koh, the California federal judge overseeing the three-year patent battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., to influence in Silicon Valley has been swift, reports Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg News.

The 45-year-old daughter of immigrants was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2010, making her one of the youngest appointees among more than 600 active federal judges and the first Korean-American U.S. district court judge.

Koh has made a mark presiding over privacy suits against Google Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. In March, she blasted Google’s privacy policy as vague and possibly misleading. Not long after, Google changed its terms.

Decades after the dawn of the Internet -- and 20 years into the age of the Web and e-commerce -- Koh is attempting to reconcile wiretap laws written in the landline era with users’ concerns about how companies use the troves of data generated when people send e-mail and surf online. No other judge has broken so much ground, lawyers and scholars say.

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