Jones Day Worked on 343 Deals in Quarter: Business of Law

With 7,738 deals announced in the third quarter, lawyers with M&A practices are working at a frenzied pace.

According to quarterly data compiled by Bloomberg, Jones Day was the busiest, with involvement in 343 deals.

“What’s driving this market is strategy and that’s more fun than just financial re-engineering or empire building” of years past, said Robert Profusek, chair of the Jones Day’s global M&A practice.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP was second, working on 253 deals. The others in the top 10 were Latham & Watkins LLP, Allen & Overy LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Linklaters LLP, Baker & McKenzie LLP and White & Case LLP.

Skadden worked on the most deals when ranked by volume. The others in the top 10 were Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Latham, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Weil, Freshfields, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and White & Case.

For the third quarter of the year, global mergers and acquisitions deal volume was $888.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The volume represented an increase of 29 percent over the same period last year, a nine percent decline from the second quarter of 2014.

Deals, because of their size and scope, can be quite intricate. “Fundamentally the same issues come up in the deals, but the deals are a lot more complicated,” Profusek said. “Merging itself isn’t that hard, but you’ve got to get the fiduciary stuff right as well as compensation, to name a few” of the areas at stake.

To see the complete list of league tables, click here.

In the News

Fallen Class-Action Dean Weiss to Sell Picasso Works at Auction

Melvyn Weiss, the millionaire class-action attorney who was felled by illegal kickbacks, is selling more than 140 lithographs, etchings and other works of art by Pablo Picasso.

Weiss and his wife, Barbara, have pledged the artwork to the financial services unit of New York-based Sotheby’s, which makes loans with art as collateral, according to a Sept. 23 New York state regulatory filing made by Weiss. The financial services unit makes two types of loan -- where the loan is secured by art that is committed for sale, and where the art is collateral but not intended for sale, according to a description in Sotheby’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barbara Weiss, in an interview last week, said the couple planned to put the art up for auction. She declined to comment further.

Collecting Picassos was such a passion for Weiss, 79, that the pursuit played a role in the 2007 criminal case that federal prosecutors brought against him and other founders of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, once the nation’s largest class-action securities law firm. The artwork he’s now selling includes 23-carat gold figures and a linoleum cut titled “Grand Tete de Femme,” the first of many Picassos acquired by the former litigator.

Weiss declined to comment when reached by telephone, saying the sale is a personal matter. Mary Bartow, the head of Sotheby’s prints department, said the auction house doesn’t comment on or identify specific consignors.

Weiss and Lawrence Milberg started their firm in 1965 and eventually helped investors recover about $45 billion through securities-fraud suits filed against companies such as Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc. and Tyco International Ltd.

After conducting a seven-year investigation, the U.S. Justice Department alleged that four of the firm’s partners ran an illegal program that paid millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to plaintiffs in return for filing. In 2007, prosecutors alleged that Weiss disguised a $175,000 kickback as payment for the option to acquire a Picasso known as “Reclining Nude” from the former Beverly Hills, California, eye doctor.

Milberg Weiss, now known as Milberg LLP, paid $75 million to settle federal charges related to the kickbacks, which enabled the firm to gain an edge over other attorneys in winning the lucrative lead role in securities class actions. After pleading guilty in April 2008 to charges of racketeering conspiracy, Weiss was sentenced to 2 1/2 years and served time in a minimum-security federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Law Firm News

Schiff Hardin Expands to Dallas with Squire Patton Boggs Lawyers

Schiff Hardin LLP has opened an office in Dallas with five finance, corporate and securities partners who previously worked at Squire Patton Boggs LLP. The lawyers are Larry Makel, Gina Betts, Kenneth Betts and Stan Mayo, all formerly with Squire Patton Boggs, along with Jamie Whatley, also formerly with Patton Boggs but most recently with Lillard Wise Szygenda in Dallas.

All join as partners in Schiff Hardin’s corporate and securities and finance groups. They represent clients in debt and equity public and private transactions, fund formations, corporate governance and Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, among other matters.

“We’ve worked with lawyers from Schiff Hardin for years and have tremendous respect for their legal skill, and for how the firm represents its clients,” Makel said in a statement.

Jackson Lewis Expands With Three Shareholders in Three Offices

Workplace law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. has hired shareholders in three of its offices. Christopher Johnson joined in Milwaukee, Katrina Dennis in Baltimore and Timothy Kratz in the firm’s Denver office.

Johnson, who previously worked at Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky SC, has represented employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, restrictive covenant and non-compete litigation, employer best practices, family and medical leave issues, workplace safety and wage and hour disputes.

Kratz, who previously worked at Pendleton, Wilson, Hennessey & Crow PC, defends employers against claims, including harassment and discrimination, disparate impact class allegations, non-compete disputes, wage and hour and public policy discharge. He also conducts and coordinates harassment investigations and counsels clients on ways to reduce the risk of litigation.

Dennis, who was previously a principal at Kramon & Graham PA, represents employers in claims including sexual harassment, gender and disability discrimination, trade secret misappropriation, wrongful discharge, executive compensation and wage and hour disputes. She advises clients on management issues such as hiring and termination, the firm said in a statement.

Microsoft Lawyer MacNaughton Heads to Davis Wright in Seattle

Bonnie MacNaughton, an intellectual-property litigator who has spent the past decade as a lead attorney in the digital crimes unit of Microsoft Corp., has joined Davis Wright Tremaine LLP as a partner in the firm’s Seattle office.

MacNaughton was most recently the regional lead for Microsoft’s anti-piracy enforcement programs in North America, a role in which she led hundreds of domestic and international piracy and cybercrime actions and investigations each year. She also worked closely with Microsoft’s business professionals on the development and deployment of anti-piracy technologies and supply chain security.

“Bonnie brings to our firm unparalleled experience in combating the intellectual property threats that endanger companies today,” David Baca, managing partner of Davis Wright Tremaine, said in a statement.

Stradley Ronon Hires Steptoe & Johnson Securities Law Partner

Jeffrey McFadden, who was the chair of the securities litigation and enforcement practice at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, has joined Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP as a partner in its Washington office.

McFadden represents corporations and individuals in civil and criminal litigation, administrative enforcement matters and arbitrations, and has extensive experience in private securities litigation in areas such as securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative suits and transaction injunction suits. He also has white-collar criminal defense and corporate internal investigations experience.

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