Wake Up Call: Bitter Showdown Likely Over Kennedy Replacement

Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg

• After U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced plans to retire yesterday, President Trump promised to quickly pick a successor to the 81-year-old life-long Republican, and speculation mounted over who that will be. Since his choice could create the most conservative court in generations, a nasty showdown looked likely in the Senate. (Bloomberg Law via BLB) (New York Times) (Washington Post) (SCOTUSblog.com) (NPR)

• In his 30 years on the court, Kennedy became known as the court’s swing vote and wrote some of the most important and controversial decisions, ranging from abortion rights to the death penalty, gay rights to affirmative action. (National Law Journal) Kennedy has the most experience on the court, including in employee benefits cases. He played a prominent role in forming U.S. environmental policies. But his exit is unlikely to sway the court’s calculus on class action cases. (Bloomberg Law)

• Kennedy’s vote was key in the Court’s 5-4 ruling yesterday that government employees have a constitutional right not to pay union fees. The ruling, affecting 5 million workers, deals a heavy blow to the labor movement. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Charles Rettig, the tax lawyer who is Trump’s nominee to head the IRS, forgot to mention on his disclosure form that two rental properties in Hawaii in which he has a stake are at a Trump-branded resort. (Bloomberg)

• A new commercial litigation funder, Validity Finance, is launching this week with up to $250 million of initial funding from PE firm Tower Brook, and offices in New York, Chicago, and Houston. It’s headed by Ralph Sutton, who used to be chief investment officer at Bentham IMF. (PR Newswire)

• Top lawyers from Uber, PayPal, LinkedIn, and Cisco talked about key challenges facing corporate counsel, at Bloomberg Law’s In-House Forum in San Francisco yesterday. (BLB)

• Milbank said it advised Advent International on its recent $3.25 billion acquisition of GE’s Distributed Power business. The firm said it also advised German entertainment company ProSiebenSat.1 Media, which is building a streaming platform in Germany through its joint venture with Discovery Inc., called 7TV. (Milbank.com)  Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported about European broadcasters’ efforts to hook up to form online platforms to counter Netflix, Amazon.com, and HBO’s expansion in Europe, including the 7TV venture. (Bloomberg Business)

• Boston-based Foley Hoag said it is expanding parental leave by two weeks, to 18 weeks, for all U.S. legal personnel, whether they became parents by birth or adoption and regardless of gender and whether or not they are the primary caregiver.(FoleyHoag.com)

• Walt Disney won U.S. antitrust approval for its $71 billion offer to purchase 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets. (Bloomberg via BLB) Meanwhile, Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile Inc.’s $26 billion merger faces a tough regulatory review. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Lawyers and Law Firms

• Big Law leaders are stepping up and speaking out on the Trump Administration’s recently shifted policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Kansas City immigration lawyer Andrea Martinez said she fractured her foot after getting shoved to the ground by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer while accompanying her client, a 3-year-old boy. (New York Times)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

• Baker McKenzie said it elected 67 new partners effective July 1, of which 40 percent are women. The firm now has 1,600 partners worldwide, of which 400, or 25 percent, are women. Baker McKenzie said that’s the most of any law firm. (Bakermckenzie.com)

• Morrison & Foerster said Willkie Farr tax partner Anthony Carbone is joining MoFo as a partner and co-chair of its global tax department and federal tax group, based in New York. (Mofo.com)

• Locke Lord said Dallas partner Brad Weber, past president of the Dallas Bar Association and director on the board of the State Bar of Texas, has been elected chair-elect of the antitrust and business litigation section of the State Bar of Texas. He’ll become chair in June 2019. (LockeLord.com)

• Sidley Austin said Goodwin Procter M&A partner Jared Jensen joined the firm as a partner in its global private equity practice, based in its San Francisco office. Jensen’s Linkedin page says he has had previous gigs at Amazon.com as a senior corporate counsel, and at Kirkland & Ellis, and Davis Polk as partner. (Sidley.com)

• Greenspoon Marder said it appointed Denver-based partner Rachel Gillette as chair of the firm’s cannabis law group for the Western Region, focusing on its Denver, Las Vegas, San Diego, Nevada City, and Portland offices. (Gmlaw.com)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• An FBI agent said the bureau has 130 cases tied to cryptocurrencies. (Bloomberg via BLB)

 

Technology

• BLB’s new special report, “Tech Change Drives New Legal Strategies,” looks at how the changing legal, regulatory, and privacy landscape is forcing organizations to shift their strategy and operations. Free download. (BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.