Cravath, Kirkland on Element’s PHH Deal: Business of Law

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP represented Element Financial Corp., the Toronto-based equipment finance company, on its agreement to buy PHH Corp.’s North American fleet-management business for $1.4 billion.

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP also advised Element. Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents PHH.

The Cravath team was led by M&A partner Erik R. Tavzel and included securities partner Stephen L. Burns and tax partner J. Leonard Teti II. Kirkland’s team was led by New York corporate partners Jeffrey Symons, Stefanie Wool and Stephen Fraidin.

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Partner Moves

Wilson Sonsini, Paul Weiss, Latham: Lateral Moves Round-Up

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC said Ira M. Palgon joined the energy and infrastructure finance practice in New York from Covington & Burling LLP. He specializes in structured finance.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP said that Brian Kim, formerly of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, joined the firm’s corporate department in New York, where he will focus on acquisition financing, distressed debt and other financing transactions.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s Chicago office added Ann Marie Wahls as a partner in the litigation department. Wahls’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and counseling involving patents, advertising, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. She joins from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and will be reunited with David Callahan, a partner who came to Latham from Kirkland in April.

Kara Ariail, previously of Jackson Lewis PC, joined Holland & Knight LLP’s Northern Virginia office in the labor and employment practice group.

Fish & Richardson PC announced that Danielle Williams joined the firm’s Atlanta office as a principal in the intellectual property litigation group from Kilpatrick Townsend.

Blank Rome LLP hired Alan Lieberman in the corporate litigation group based in Washington. He was formerly assistant chief litigation counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Washington headquarters, and had been an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP said that Craig Weiner joined the business litigation practice in the New York office from Hofheimer Gartlir & Gross LLP. He represents domestic and foreign hedge funds, venture companies, high-net-worth individuals and government funds, among others.

Law Firm News

Eversheds Expands with New office in Durban, South Africa

Eversheds LLP is expanding in Africa with an eighth office by joining with Durban-based South African law firm Knight Turner, which will become known as Eversheds KZN.

Since 2013, Eversheds has opened offices in South Africa, Mauritius, Tunisia and Morocco though local firm tie-ups.

“Durban offers a strong commercial and logistics hub,” Eversheds Chief Executive Officer Bryan Hughes said in a statement.


Massad Confirmed by Senate to Lead U.S. Swaps Regulator

Timothy Massad was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as chairman of the main derivatives regulator as lawmakers moved to bring the agency to a full roster by signing off on two additional nominees.

The Senate approved Massad and J. Christopher Giancarlo, an executive at inter-dealer broker GFI Group Inc., in a series of voice votes yesterday. Earlier, Sharon Y. Bowen, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP, was confirmed as a commissioner in a 48-46 vote amid opposition from Republicans and a handful of Democrats.

The agency, which started as an overseer of agricultural and commodity trading, was empowered by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to bring a broad new set of rules to the swaps market that had previously been largely unregulated. The law, and regulations put in place under previous chairman Gary Gensler, gave the CFTC new authority over trading by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and other firms.

Massad, 57, attended Harvard Law School and spent 25 years at the Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP law firm, where he focused on corporate finance including securities, banking and derivatives. He was tapped by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2010 to administer the Troubled Asset Relief Program that rescued Wall Street banks after the financial crisis.

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