Wake Up Call: As Trump Bill Passes, Tax Lawyers Swamped With Work

• The Republican tax bill that President Donald Trump is set to sign into law Jan. 3 is the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in three decades. (Bloomberg) Tax attorneys have been swamped with work explaining to their corporate clients how it will impact them. (Law.com)

• The bill includes a provision that would increase tax liabilities for investors looking to exchange bitcoin, ether, and other virtual currencies that have soared in value. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A California IP firm filed a $60 million antitrust lawsuit against alternative legal-services firm LegalZoom, alleging it violates rules on practice of law by using “nonlawyers” to do legal work on trademark applications. The suit by LegalForce RAPC and its owner also alleges that federal and state regulators turned a blind eye to the practices. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Wal-Mart Inc., Discover Inc., Jack in the Box Inc., and liberal think tanks all agree that the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse a federal appeals court decision siding with American Express Co. and how it treats retailers. American Express has no one in its Supreme Court corner. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Tax Bill

• Lawyers and other professional services businesses, such as doctors and investment managers, thought they were going to get big tax deduction, but they came up short. (Wall Street Journal)

• A late version of the tax bill approved by Congress included a measure eliminating a tax deduction that businesses can currently take for settlements, payouts, and legal fees tied to sexual harassment or abuse claims within nondisclosure agreements. (National Law Journal) (New York Times)

 

Law Firm Business

• The law firm Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC wants you to know that it isn’t merging with Orrick. That would be Morvillo LLP, from which 15 lawyers are leaving for Orrick offices in New York and Washington. It turns out the Morvillos from the two similarly named firms are related. (BLB)

• Morvillo LLP, Chadbourne & Parke, and Lindquist & Vennum were among dozens of law firms that ceased to exist in 2017, either by getting acquired or just going out business. (New York Law Journal)

• Many lawyers are getting new titles for the holidays this year, as firms announce hires and promotions before the calendar runs out on 2017. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Quinn Emanuel announced partner promotions in five cities: In Washington, Deepa Acharya and Gabriel Soledad; in New York, Rollo C. Baker IV, Rachel E. Epstein, Yelena Konanova, and Ellison Ward Merkel; in Chicago, Nathan Hamstra; in Los Angeles, Ryan Landes; and in San Francisco, James D. Judah. (Quinnemanuel.com)

• Transatlantic firm Womble Bond Dickinson LLP said it is expanding in California by acquiring L.A. firm Blakely Sokoloff Taylor Zafman LLP, with its 24 intellectual-property and patent lawyers. (Winston-Salem Journal)

• The characteristics of law firm partnerships can make it more difficult for them to avoid or deal with sexual misconduct issues, legal industry insiders said. (American Lawyer)

Legal Actions

• Amazon.com Inc., T-Mobile US Inc. and Cox Communications Inc. are among hundreds of employers named in a California federal class action that alleges the companies discriminated against older workers by aiming advertisements at a specific age range on Facebook. The suit doesn’t name Facebook as a defendant. (The Recorder)

• Law firms Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Kasowitz Benson Torres are getting sued for malpractice by the former CEO of a Florida company on the verge of bankruptcy. (Daily Business Review)

• Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney was forced to sign a confidential settlement with the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts to keep allegations that she was sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar a secret, according to a lawsuit. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

• A controversial herbicide has been found in samples of green tea produced and marketed as “natural” by R.C. Bigelow Inc., according to a lawsuit. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• EU Regulators said they will grant financial firms a six-month delay in implementing part of the sweeping MiFID II overhaul of rules that’s set to take effect on Jan. 3., as both companies and countries struggle to meet the deadline. (Bloomberg)

 

Russia Probes

• Special Counsel Robert Mueller is avoiding pitfalls by giving Trump the “silent treatment.” (Bloomberg)

• Trump expects Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election to conclude soon, and he expects to get some kind of written exoneration from Mueller. Lawyers said he’s unlikely to get one. (CNN) (National Law Journal)

• What could happen if Trump fired Mueller? Q&A. (Bloomberg)

 

In SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court said Trump’s administration doesn’t have to immediately turn over documents consulted by government officials before they acted to end a deferred-deportation program for some young immigrants. (Bloomberg)  On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup held a hearing on a challenge to the program in federal court in San Francisco. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A federal appeals court denied Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. a review of a decision granting class treatment to some 22,000 current and former workers who alleged the bank filled their 401(k) plan with expensive, affiliated funds. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• A lawyer for UBS Group AG urged a New York jury to reject allegations of a former senior bond strategist who claims he was fired for refusing to let the Swiss bank’s traders influence his research reports. (Bloomberg)

• A court declared a tie in a Virginia legislative election that one day earlier appeared to have gone to a Democrat by a single vote, the latest dramatic twist in a contest likely to decide control of the state House. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

Technology

• A week after the FCC voted to dump net neutrality rules, a New York state legislator proposed a law that would require state and local governments to only do business with internet service providers that adhere to net neutrality principles. (Ars Technica)

• The EU top court’s ruling yesterday that Uber is a taxi service, not just a tech app, means new costs not just for the ride-hailing giant, but also for other sharing economy companies, notably Airbnb. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

• A new Accenture chatbot lets employees anonymously ask questions on the ethical guidelines for deploying a client’s artificial intelligence programs and about use of social media. (Bloomberg Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.