Wake Up Call: Allen & Overy Tests New Performance Review Model

• A pilot program at Allen & Overy that eschews performance reviews and instead relies on “feedback and dialogue” to boost lawyers’ performance is getting rave reviews, especially from women lawyers. (Legal Business) This approach gets around gender bias inherent in performance reviews. Will other Big Law firms try it? (Above The Law)

• Antitrust enforcement will continue under the Trump administration, says Bill Baer, who is returning to Arnold & Porter as a partner in its Washington, D.C., and recently talked to BLB. Over the last four years, Baer climbed to the number three position in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, and served as its antitrust chief. (BLB)

• Former King & Spalding commercial litigation associate David A. Joffe is accusing his firm of firing him because he reported possible ethical breaches by two partners to the firm’s management. (BLB)

• A German court dismissed Jones Day’s complaint against a March police raid on its Munich office aimed at getting information on its client, Volkswagen A.G., in connection with the diesel-emissions cheating scandal. (Am Law Daily) VW’s legal troubles in the case are getting worse, as German prosecutors are investigating its top two executives over allegations of market manipulation. (Bloomberg)

• In an art-imitating-life twist, David Miller, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and legal and technical adviser for the Showtime series “Billions,” is on the Trump administration’s shortlist to replace Preet Bharara as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. (Am Law Daily)

• The administration used a highly unusual personnel move to skirt Senate confirmation and standard ethics requirements when it installed Simpson Thacher financial services lawyer Keith Noreika atop a powerful banking regulator. (Bloomberg)

• The Trump administration began its search for a replacement for ousted FBI Director James Comey while fending off questions about President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to fire him. (Bloomberg)

• The Trump Administration is said to be close to nominating two attorneys, one from Big Law and one from government, to fill two vacant slots on the National Labor Relations Board, giving Republicans a majority on the board.  Marvin Kaplan is an attorney for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal agency, and William Emanuel is a management-side lawyer at Littler Mendelson. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)



Legal Market

• United Continental Holdings Inc. directors were sued by a pension fund for granting a $37 million severance package to the carrier’s former chief executive officer, Jeff Smisek, who was ousted in a bribery scandal in 2015. (Bloomberg)

• After stunning the world with a record $246 billion of announced outbound takeovers in 2016, Chinese dealmakers are now struggling to cope with tighter capital controls and increasingly wary counterparties. (Bloomberg)

• Apple, Google, Amazon and McDonalds: EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has challenged them all, and she’s got two and half years left in her term for more investigations. (Bloomberg Businessweek)



Law Firm Business

• The biggest law firms outperformed the pack in the first quarter of 2017, amidst weak demand growth, and increasing billing and collection rates, according to a report from Citi Private Bank. Soaring lawyer-compensation growth, up 9.1 percent, fueled expense growth that outstripped revenue growth overall, it said. (Am Law Daily)

• Build your skillset early, “own” your professional development: Advice for young women lawyers, from a former CEO of the D.C. Bar; chair of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee and shareholder at a Big Law firm; and a Washington, D.C., federal appeals chief judge. (BLB)

• U.K. firm Clyde & Co said it is expanding in Latin America with its first office in Mexico through a linkup with Mexican firm Garza Tello & Asociados, whose 23 lawyers, including four partners, focus on insurance, marine and energy law. (Global Legal Post)

• White & Case raised associate lawyer pay as much as 19 percent in London, to 120,000 pounds ($155,000), depending on how many years they have in, the latest U.S. firm to boost junior lawyer pay. (Legal Business)




• Barclays CEO Jes Staley said London’s financial sector is inventive enough to find a way around Brexit and remain integral to the EU’s economy, provided politicians don’t erect walls to shut out the U.K. (Bloomberg)

• As U.K. employers warn of a looming skills shortage following Britain’s exit from the European Union, a “brickie visa” has been touted as a stop-gap solution. (Bloomberg)




The Trump Administration

• Republican senators John McCain and Ben Sasse said they plan to vote against Trump’s pick for trade secretary, Robert Lighthizer, citing concerns about his protectionist rhetoric and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Bloomberg)

• Trump’s lawyers say he has “absolute presidential immunity” and can’t be sued for the magnetic effect his Washington hotel holds over a wine bar competitor’s customers. (Bloomberg) A “flood of litigation” is coming aimed at testing that “absolute immunity” holding, which appeared in the 1982 Supreme Court ruling Nixon v. Fitzgerald. (Lawfare)



Comey Firing Aftermath

• Trump was said to be furious at Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation. (Washington Post) Comey was fired right after asking for more resources for the probe. (Politico) What will happen to investigation? A Q&A. (Bloomberg via BLB) The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed documents from Michael Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser, in a sign the bipartisan probe will continue. (AP via Fortune)  Three Republicans are key to keeping the inquiry alive. (Bloomberg View)

• Opinion: Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general,  permanently damaged his reputation by helping Trump stymie the Russia investigation. (New York Times)

• Wall Street is weighing whether political fallout from Comey’s dismissal will kill any momentum the White House had for its economic agenda. (Bloomberg)




Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Trump’s nominee for solicitor general, Noel Francisco, pledged in his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to uphold a “special duty of independence and candor” to the U.S. Supreme Court. (National Law Journal)

• As Johnson & Johnson gears up to fight $300 million in Missouri jury verdicts linking J&J talcum powder products to ovarian cancer, its lawyers are closely watching a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that could clarify rules of jurisdiction for mass torts claims. (National Law Journal)

• The Supreme Court is set to hear a former rail worker’s suit that contends Union Pacific Railroad is liable for the Nile virus infection he contracted through a mosquito bite while working on tracks in Texas. (National Law Journal)

• A nonprofit fighting the Trump administration’s travel ban in court sued the U.S. Justice Department after being warned to stop offering legal aid to undocumented immigrants. (Bloomberg)




Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Trial firm McKool Smith said it is getting two commercial litigators from Kasowitz Benson Torres to expand its New York office. Christopher P. Johnson and Zachary W. Mazin are joining the firm as principals and will advise hedge funds and other institutional investors in disputes with major financial institutions, it said. (McKool)

• Global legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa said it has been hired by Boston Scientific to help it search for a new general counsel to replace Timothy A. Pratt, who plans to retire at year’s end after nine years in the role. (Mlaglobal.com)

• Fox Rothschild said entertainment lawyer Marc Simon joined the firm as a partner in New York in March. Simon, who spent eight years as a partner at entertainment boutique Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, is known, among other things, for directing a documentary about the fall of his former boss, law firm founder Marc Dreier. (Am Law Daily)




• A court dealt AT&T a significant setback in its efforts to avoid regulatory supervision from the Federal Trade Commission, in a case involving throttling of unlimited data plans. (Ars Technica)

• Russian hackers’ efforts to disrupt France’s election failed because President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s team had prepared for them, with some U.S. help. (New York Times)

• For companies and organizations, a hacker attack can inflict financial losses, corporate embarrassment and legal action. For insurers jumping into the brave new world of cyber crime insurance, an attack is free marketing for what could be a $10 billion opportunity. (Bloomberg)

• After a judge examining the president’s latest travel ban noted that Trump’s 2015 call for a ban on Muslims entering the country is still on his campaign website, the site was overhauled to delete the entire archive of content published on it before January. But the internet doesn’t forget, even when you’re president. (Wired)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.