Edwards Joins Kilpatrick in Washington: Business of Law

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP said Robert H. Edwards Jr. joined the Washington office, where he will be co-leader of the energy, project finance and technology team and a member of the mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate governance practice group.

“Rob has been on the forefront and played an instrumental role in leading some of the country’s most important energy initiatives,” Mark Riedy, co-leader of Kilpatrick’s energy, project finance and technology team, said in a statement.

Most recently, Edwards was an executive director with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s global commodities group in New York. Before that, he was deputy general counsel for energy policy at the Energy Department, the firm said.

Akin Gump, Nixon Peabody, O’Melveny: Lateral Partner Moves

Esther Lander joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in the labor and employment practice in Washington. She moved from the Justice Department, where she was principal deputy chief of the employment litigation section in the Civil Rights Division.

Carla A. Young, most recently a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP, joined Nixon Peabody LLP as a tax partner in the public-finance practice group. She is a former assistant branch chief at the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel.

Also, leaving Greenberg Traurig is Heather Meeker, who joins O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s Silicon Valley office as a member of the technology transactions group. She will focus on intellectual-property and technology transactions with a specialty in open-source licensing requirements.

Balch & Bingham LLP announced that Jeff Wood joined the firm’s environmental and natural resources section and energy section in the Washington office. He was previously an attorney for U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, advising on environmental, energy, transportation and other issues.

Jackson Walker LLP added John Ransom in the tax practice in the Houston office. He was previously at Porter Hedges LLP, where he was head of the tax section and a member of the management committee.

Law Firm News

Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton Opens Salt Lake City Office

The Boston firm Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton PC opened a Salt Lake City office.

“Utah, with its increasing demand for lawyers who represent high-tech, medical-device, and life-sciences companies and the investors who invest in these companies, is a perfect fit for our firm,” Lisa Warren Treannie, managing partner of MBBP, said in a statement. “Like the Boston area, Utah also has a highly entrepreneurial culture in which technology-based companies are looking for a law firm that understands their businesses and their challenges.”

The office is led by two partners who have relocated to Utah, Jeffrey P. Steele and James J. Kelly.


Tax Lawyer Sued by U.S. for Aiding Unlawful Shelter Schemes

The U.S. sued attorney Harold Levine, alleging he made more than $5 million in fees for helping cheat the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue while leading the tax practice at a New York law firm.

Levine, chairman of the tax practice group at Moritt Hock & Hamroth LLP, worked with other shelter promoters and used companies with phony losses on their books to shield millions of dollars in income, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleged yesterday in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

The U.S. said Levine knowingly lied or caused corporations to tell falsehoods concerning the supposed tax benefits of the illegal shelters. He’s also accused of promoting and participating in at least 90 unlawful tax schemes and not disclosing the transactions to the Internal Revenue Service.

The corporations also improperly deducted more than $515 million in bad debt losses on their tax returns, according to the government’s complaint.

Levine didn’t respond to a voice-mail message left at his office seeking comment on the suit.

“Every one of the alleged incidents cited in the lawsuit occurred before Mr. Levine joined Moritt Hock,” the firm said in an e-mailed statement. “Although any charges like these are concerning, we firmly believe in Mr. Levine and our legal system.”

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GM’s Barra Prepares to Release Details of Valukas Investigation

General Motors Co. will reveal the findings of its internal investigation today into why it took more than a decade to recall vehicles linked to fatal flaws, according to a person familiar with the effort.

The probe, headed by Jenner & Block LLP Chairman Anton Valukas, is based partly on 1 million documents also released to Congress, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the planning is private. The trove of documents show the automaker was hobbled by engineers who failed to detect a flawed ignition switch and a dysfunctional review system that delayed a recall for 10 years, people familiar with the matter said.

GM General Counsel Michael Millikin co-led the investigation with Valukas, who served as a U.S. Justice Department-appointed examiner of the downfall of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

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