Wake Up Call: Big Law Dives Into Hong Kong LGBT Case

The Chinese national flag, left, and the Hong Kong flag fly in front a residential building under construction at the former Kai Tak airport area in Hong Kong, China. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

• More than a dozen large banks and law firms are backing a woman who sued after her application to reside in Hong Kong as a dependent of her same-sex partner was denied. The case is seen as a landmark LGBT rights dispute in Hong Kong and has drawn a motion to intervene from firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Clifford Chance LLP, and Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Andrei Iancu, director of the Patent and Trademark Office and former managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, said the PTO will focus on improving patent quality and adopting pro-innovation policies. Iancu, speaking at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that Supreme Court rulings have produced standards that are difficult to follow and lower courts are handing down inconsistent opinions as a result. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A company tied to a Russian caterer nicknamed “Putin’s chef” has hired lawyers from Reed Smith to defend against charges that it helped fund efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. Concord Management and Consulting LLC hired Eric Dubelier and Katherine Seikaly, according to filings in the case. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Young lawyers apparently want more frequent feedback from partners. That’s the driving philosophy behind Hogan Lovell’s new performance review program, dubbed “Pathways.” One element of the program is “flash feedback,” requiring associates to get three pieces of feedback from co-workers every four months. (ABA Journal via National Law Journal)

• Magic Circle firms have been doing their best to break into the lucrative U.S. legal market, with the recent rumors of a tie up between Allen & Overy and O’Melveny Myers being the latest example. However, the U.K. firms are finding the U.S. market a tough nut to crack—one reason: lockstep pay structure. (The Economist)

• More money has been recovered for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme. The Justice Department said that the latest $504 million brings total recovery for about 21,000 victims to $1.2 billion via the Madoff Victim Fund, a government entity created to help victims of the fraud. This is in addition to money recovered by trustee Irving Picard of BakerHostetler. (New York Times)

• Recordings. That’s what people are saying Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen may have made and may have had in his office when it was raided by federal investigators this week. If such tapes exist, one law professor said they would be a “gold mine” for prosecutors. (Washington Post)


Also in Legal News

• An under-the-radar ethics dilemma brewing at the National Labor Relations Board could have a bigger impact on Trump administration policy and personnel than other allegations of hijinks getting lots more attention. A political appointment that was supposed to be a feather in prominent attorney William Emanuel’s cap is threatening to become a thorn in his side. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Could three federal appeals courts “flip” from majority Democrat-appointed judges, to majority Republican-appointed under President Trump’s watch? Bloomberg Law reporter Patrick Gregory tells listeners that the Second, Third and Eleventh Circuits are all in play and ripe for an ideological shift. (Audio) (Bloomberg Media via BLB)

• Holland & Knight said attorney James R. Paine Jr. joined as a partner in the firm’s Atlanta office, where he will lead its outsourcing and technology transactions practice. Paine was previously a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend, and before that was primary counsel for information technology and data security matters at Home Depot Inc. (Hklaw.com

• Greenberg Traurig LLP snags Jonathan Wise, a former associate general for Teva Pharmaceuticals, in its Philadelphia office, and the newly-formed Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP sheds intellectual property attorneys in Washington. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• BakerHostetler added a team of five labor and employment lawyers in Atlanta, including partners Brian Harris, Mark Zisholtz, and Jason D’Cruz, and associates Ashley Guffey and Tali Hershkovitz. The group focuses on human resources, executive compensation, restrictive covenants, and corporate mergers and acquisitions. Zisholtz concentrates on the contingent workforce and alternative workforce arrangements. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• The chief judge of California’s Supreme Court wants the state’s courts to disclose the names of judges who entered into settlements to resolve complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye wants the Judicial Council, the administrative body for the courts, to revise the current rule to make it clear that such records must be disclosed. (Los Angeles Times)