Women and Minorities Gain Marginally at Firms: Business of Law

Women and minorities made small gains among law firm partnerships in 2014, according to the National Association of Law Placement.

In 2014, minorities accounted for only 7.33 percent of partners “in the nation’s major firms,” and women comprised only 21.05 percent of partners in those firms, the association, known as NALP, said. The survey found that “the total change since 1993, the first year for which NALP has comparable aggregate information, has been only marginal.”

The placement organization found that the percentage of “minority associates has gone up for the fourth year in a row after falling in 2010 in the wake of the recession.” In 1993, just 8.36 percent of all associates were minorities, but by last year that number had risen to 21.63 percent.

NALP also found that although the number of female associates increased slightly last year after declining from 2010-2013, it hasn’t again reached the high-water mark of just under 46 percent achieved in 2009.

Chesapeake Ex-CEO McClendon Vows to Fight Claims of Theft

Aubrey McClendon, the ousted co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp., said he’ll fight a lawsuit by his former company accusing him of stealing trade secrets to start a rival oil venture.

Chesapeake sued McClendon and his new company, American Energy Partners LP, on Tuesday in state court in Oklahoma City claiming he stole trade secrets by asking his assistant to print “highly sensitive maps and prospect data” in his final days as chief executive officer.

American Energy and McClendon said in a statement that the lawsuit was “meritless” and they planned to file their own claims that they had a “contractual right” to Chesapeake’s data, including information about 16,000 wells and relevant geology.

McClendon formed American Energy in 2013 after being forced from his role as chairman and CEO of Chesapeake because of shareholder unrest.

A board investigation into McClendon’s personal finances and possible conflicts of interest concluded in February 2013 and found no intentional misconduct.

Chesapeake alleges in its complaint that McClendon “began soliciting investors” in his new company before leaving his post as CEO and at one point bought shale land that had been “evaluated” in the data he allegedly stole.

Before oil prices fell by half last year, McClendon amassed about $13 billion from investors including private-equity firms KKR & Co. and Energy & Minerals Group.

The case is Chesapeake Energy Corp. v. American Energy Partners LP, CJ-2015-933, District Court of Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City).

Schwab Resolves New York’s 2009 Auction-Rate Securities Suit

Charles Schwab Corp. and New York agreed to settle a 2009 lawsuit in which the state accused the firm of promoting auction-rate securities as safe while failing to disclose the risks before the market for them froze.

New York claimed Schwab engaged in “fraudulent and deceptive conduct” in promoting the investments. Auction-rate securities are municipal bonds, corporate bonds and preferred stocks whose rates of return are periodically reset through auctions. Andrew Cuomo, then attorney general, brought the suit.

The settlement was disclosed in a filing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. No terms were provided. Schwab and New York said in a November filing that they were in talks to end the case.

The $330 billion worldwide market for auction-rate securities collapsed during the 2008 credit crunch as potential buyers vanished. The crisis sparked regulatory investigations and lawsuits alleging that underwriters and brokers had falsely promoted the securities as safe, cash-like investments.

Liz DeBold, a spokeswoman for current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, confirmed the settlement but declined to comment further. Sarah Bulgatz, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Schwab, said in an e-mail that the company is pleased to have the matter resolved.

Schwab was represented by Faith E. Gay, Richard Schirtzer, Isaac Nesser and Jacob Waldman of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.

The case is New York v. Schwab, 453388/2009, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

Firm Moves

Lateral Hires at Jones Day, Dentons and Holland & Knight

Laura Fraedrich and Grayson Yeargin have joined Jones Day as partners in the Washington office’s government regulation practice. Fraedrich, who advises on international trade matters, previously was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, while Yeargin, who focuses on government contractor compliance and investigations, was a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP.

Jones Day has also lost two partners to Dentons. Giovanna Cinelli and Kenneth Nunnenkamp, who focus on international trade and national security issues, are joining Dentons as partners.

They will practice in the firm’s new Tysons Corner office in McLean, Virginia.

Dentons has also hired Jeffrey Dunetz as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice in New York. Dunetz, who represents financial institutions in commercial lending and cross-border debt financings, was previously a partner at Mayer Brown LLP.

Holland & Knight has hired Gary Schoenbrun as a partner in New York. Schoenbrun, previously a partner at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, specializes in tax and executive compensation.

New Partners Join Fox Rothschild, Perkins Coie and Ropes & Gray

Fox Rothschild LLP has added two partners. Sabina Bramlett is joining the firm’s taxation and wealth-planning practice based in Dallas. Before joining Fox, Bramlett was a partner at Glast, Phillips & Murray PC in Dallas. The firm has also hired Paul Labov as a partner in the financial restructuring and bankruptcy practice. He was previously a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

LaDale K. George has joined the Chicago office of Perkins Coie LLP as a partner in its health-care industry group. LaDale was previously a partner at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.

Matthew Posthuma has joined Ropes & Gray LLP as a partner in its private investment funds practice in Chicago. He focuses on funds in the U.S. and Latin America, with a specialty in real estate funds. He was previously a partner at Mayer Brown LLP.

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