Wake Up Call: AT&T-Time Warner Deal Could Be Headed to Court

• The Justice Department is taking a harder line than expected on AT&T Inc.’s planned merger with Time Warner Inc., with antitrust division chief Makan Delrahim reportedly asking the companies to either sell Turner Broadcasting — home to President Donald Trump’s favorite nemesis, CNN — or divest DirecTV in order to complete the $84.5 billion acquisition. (Bloomberg)

• Neither option is palatable for AT&T, so the wireless giant’s legal team is reportedly ramping up preparations to go to court if the Justice Department sues to block the deal. (Bloomberg)

• Negotiations between the Justice Department and the two companies have provided a first look at how the Trump administration may regulate large mergers and acquisitions. Until last week, the deal seemed to have a clear path to completion, but yesterday tensions boiled over between the two sides. (New York Times DealBook)

• The American Civil Liberties Union saw its membership almost quadruple, to 1.6 million members, after Trump’s election.  Seeking greater national influence, it is emulating some NRA tactics, and not all its members are happy with that. (Bloomberg)

• During Elena Deutsch’s seven years as a career coach and leadership consultant hired by law firms to advise rising associates, most of the associates she coached were women. Now, she, and other coaches, are advising women who want to leave big firms. (BLB)

• Kate O’Scannlain, Trump’s nominee to be the Labor Department’s chief legal officer, has a prominent legal pedigree and dozens of massive corporate clients as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. Still, O’Scannlain’s 12 years at K&E haven’t put her on the radar of some former DOL attorneys from the past few administrations and other nationally recognized workplace law experts. (BLB)

• Months after Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy, it lost its general counsel of only 10 months, Cornell Boggs. The retail giant named veteran inhouse lawyer James Young as its new executive VP and general counsel. Young, who has been at the retail giant 10 years, was previously corporate counsel at Cytec Industries, Inc., and before that was an associate at Reed Smith LLP. (Corporate Counsel) (Chain Store Age)

 

General Counsel

• Deutsche Bank said former Linklaters partner Florian Drinhausen will become its general counsel next year, replacing co-GCs Christof von Dryander and Simon Dodds, who are both leaving the company. Drinhausen joined the bank in 2014 as GC for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (Compliance Week)

• The U.S. Senate confirmed Peter B. Robb as the National Labor Relation Board’s general counsel. Robb, who was a Vermont-based management-side labor lawyer at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, replaces Richard Griffin. (Labor Relations Update)

• Virginia-based wireless comm company Rivada Networks said it hired the founding GC of XM Satellite Radio, Joseph M. Titlebaum, as its new general counsel, effective immediately. (Business Wire)

• New York-based crowdfunding company Kickstarter has lost its general counsel, Michal Rosenn, who left to become the first top lawyer at San Francisco-based entrepreneur network Expa, a project of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. Rosenn, a Harvard Law grad and former Paul Weiss associate, will be based in New York. (Corporate Counsel) (Linkedin)

 

 

Legal Market

• Jones Day lawyers are seeking $446,000 in fees from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after the agency lost its case alleging abuses at CVS Pharmacy Inc. The Jones Day partner leading the suit, Eric Dreiband, is the Trump administration’s pick to lead the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and a former general counsel at the EEOC. (National Law Journal)

• So-called mini-IPOs, which grew out of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, have turned out to be what may be the zaniest markets on Wall Street, and one of its riskiest. (Bloomberg)

• Private prison companies have flourished under Trump, but their access to cheap labor is imperiled by a class action by 60,000 current and former prisoners, now before a Denver federal appeals court. (Bloomberg)

•  At Uber, discrimination against women was baked into the system, a new suit alleges. (Bloomberg)

• Dallas-based Locke Lord has to pay 500,000 pounds ($654,632) fine by the U.K.’s legal profession regulator, after admitting to ethics violations that included “acting without integrity.” Locke Lord is the first firm to admit to the charge, according to a report. (Global Legal Post)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• The heads of the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission vowed a united effort to fight expensive drugs. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Federal investigators have issued subpoenas for information on Carl Icahn’s efforts to change biofuel policy while he served as an adviser to Trump. (Bloomberg)

 

 

The Trump Administration

• The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday struck a deal to obtain voluntary testimony next week from the founder of the firm that assembled an opposition-research dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia. (Bloomberg)

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A former portfolio manager of New York’s main pension fund could get as much as 21 years in prison after admitting he accepted gifts that included luxury watches and tickets to concerts in exchange for steering state business to brokerages. (Bloomberg)

• Lawyer Alan Dershowitz is hoping to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case that grew out of a dispute between two former lovers who started a $550 million translation company together but now can’t stand each other. (Bloomberg)

• Last week, Paul Manafort’s trial judge threatened to issue a gag order after his lawyer called special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against his client “ridiculous” in a blistering minute-long sidewalk speech. Now, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has followed through. (Bloomberg via BLB)

 

Technology

• The FBI hasn’t been able to access the data inside the mobile phone of the gunman in Sunday’s Texas church massacre, renewing tension between tech companies that protect devices with encryption and law enforcement agencies investigating crimes. Apple Inc. said it has not received a response to its offer of help to open the gunman’s iPhone. (Bloomberg) (Business Insider)

• Snapchat, the social media app where photo and video evidence often disappears from before police can find it, has a child-porn problem. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.