Perkins Names New Managing Partner: Business of Law

Washington lawyer John Devaney will be managing partner of Perkins Coie LLP at the start of the year, succeeding Bob Giles, the firm’s chairman since 1986.

“We are at a very exciting time in the history of Perkins Coie -- and the legal profession -- and I look forward to continuing Perkins Coie’s transformation into a premier national law firm,” Devaney said in a statement. “One of my key initiatives will be to continue our selective growth strategy in terms of attorney numbers, practices, profits and geographic reach while remaining true to our commitment to innovation and excellence.”

Devaney, who joined Perkins Coie in 1988, focuses on commercial litigation, political law litigation, and communications law. He has been a member of the firm’s executive and management committees and managing partner of the Washington office.

Giles will continue to work on implementing the firm’s strategy and on special projects, it said.

Perkins Coie has more than 950 lawyers in 19 offices in the U.S. and Asia.

General Counsel

McGraw Hill Names Fato as General Counsel to Succeed Vittor

McGraw Hill Financial Inc., owner of the largest credit rater, appointed Lucy Fato as general counsel, succeeding Kenneth Vittor, who’s retiring after 33 years at the company.

Fato, 47, starts Aug. 4 and joins from Marsh & McLennan Cos., where she served as deputy general counsel since 2005, New York-based McGraw Hill said yesterday in a statement. Vittor, 65, has led McGraw Hill’s legal department since 1995 and is departing in accordance with the company’s retirement-age policies.

Fato is joining McGraw Hill as it faces lawsuits including one from the U.S. Justice Department over its Standard & Poor’s unit for allegedly giving inflated grades on bonds backed by subprime mortgages in order to win business from Wall Street banks. The securities were eventually downgraded, helping to wipe out almost $11 trillion of household wealth, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s 2011 report.

McGraw Hill has called the Justice Department lawsuit “meritless” and said that it would fight the claims.

Vittor has overseen the company’s defenses, including a victory that it’s entitled to seek evidence from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the Justice Department lawsuit.

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Yale Poker Champ With $10 Million Just Wants Guys to Close Stall

Vanessa Selbst spent part of her opening day at the World Series of Poker’s main event fighting for social justice which, along with an aggressive playing style, has come to define her career.

“First break: constant flow of men in women’s bathroom, and they don’t even have the decency to close the stall doors,” Selbst said two days ago on Twitter, prompting the Las Vegas tournament’s organizers to quickly add security.

Selbst, who turns 30 today, honed her poker skills while attending Yale University, eventually playing full time after graduating in 2005 with a political science degree. Worried about wasting her potential, she returned to the New Haven, Connecticut, school and earned a law degree in 2012.

Since then she’s focused some of her time on a foundation to fund projects that challenge social inequality. She’s also returned to poker, becoming the most successful female in history, with more than $10.5 million in documented tournament earnings.

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Jones Day, Herrick Feinstein: Lateral Partner Roundup

Jones Day said Christopher R.J. Pace joined as a partner in the business and tort litigation practice in the Miami office. He was previously at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he was a partner in the litigation department and a member of the complex commercial-litigation and appellate practice groups.

Litigator and ex-federal prosecutor Victor J. Rocco joined Herrick, Feinstein LLP as a partner in New York and chairman of the white-collar defense and investigations practice. He was most recently at Hafetz Necheles & Rocco LLP and was previously Heller Ehrman LLP’s litigation department chairman.

Barnes & Thornburg LLP announced that Benjamin W. Johnson joined the governmental services and finance department as a partner in the Minneapolis office. Johnson previously was a shareholder of Kennedy & Graven, Chartered, in the public-finance practice. He concentrates on municipal finance, with an emphasis on revenue-bond work for cities, counties, underwriters and banks, the firm said.

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