Wake Up Call: Brexit Architect Calls for New Referendum

• Nigel Farage, the former U.K. Independence Party leader and one of the architects of the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, said he now thinks the nation should have a second vote on the issue. (Bloomberg)

• Bi-partisan Senate and House probes into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential campaign appear to be disintegrating, as Democrats accuse Republicans of undermining the investigations to steer them away from President Donald Trump. Trump, meanwhile, now declines to say whether he would agree to a possible interview request coming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s separate investigation, after earlier suggesting he would. (Bloomberg) (Washington Post)

• International law firm Hogan Lovells named Hamburg, Germany-based Leopold von Gerlach, a partner in its intellectual property, media and technology practice, as chair of its board. His three-year term starts in May. He takes over from Nicholas Cheffings, a London-based commercial real estate partner, who will be winding up two terms as chair and will continue with his law practice. (BLB)

• The two new U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan may need to recuse themselves on cases involving Deutsche Bank, because of their earlier work for the bank. (Bloomberg)

• Ford Motor Co. rigged at least 500,000 heavy-duty trucks to beat emissions tests, drivers claimed in a lawsuit, as Ford joins VW among carmakers linked to diesel-cheating allegations worldwide. (Bloomberg)

• New York City said it is suing ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, and ConocoPhillips over climate change. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)



Law Firm Business

• Kansas City, Missouri-based law firm Husch Blackwell announced a new national lobbying joint venture with two lobby firms. (HuschBlackwell.com)

• Five former assistants to the U.S. solicitor general are now at various Big Law firms in Washington, D.C. The five women, who regularly meet for lunch, hope to use their unique experience to network for each other and mentor young lawyers coming up. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Global law firms including Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, White & Case, Pinsent Masons and others have been losing Chinese lawyers to rival domestic firms in China. (Law.com)

• BakerHostetler said it expanded its healthcare and life sciences industry focus, hiring partner Michael Lawhead in Costa Mesa, California. Lawhead, whose practice focuses on corporate matters, particularly capital markets transactions for companies in the healthcare and life sciences industries, comes from local firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth. (Bakerlaw.com)



Legal Market

• Litigation funder Burford Capital said it invested over $1.3 billion in 2017, more than triple what it put in in 2016, fueled by capital from its 2016 acquisition of Gerchen Keller Capital, its biggest rival. (American Lawyer)

• Bitcoin’s value shrank as South Korea’s justice minister reiterated his proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges. (Bloomberg)

• As of Jan. 1, sales of recreational marijuana to adult consumers are legal in California. Here’s a look at the tax and legal implications. (Bloomberg Law) Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ war on pot sets up a potential battle between states and federal prosecutors and could split the Republican party. (Bloomberg Businessweek)




• Legislation to beef up U.S. vetting of foreign investments is gaining steam despite some concerns in the business community. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• While legislatures in several states propose bills that aim to better protect employees from sexual harassment, they’re also looking at policies to end misconduct within their own ranks. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)


Legal Actions

• Inventor Gilbert P. Hyatt’s legal fight with a California audit board, 24 years long and still going, has become a law school case study for the ages. (Bloomberg Law)

• Surfers riding Lake Michigan’s waves close to a U.S. Steel plant plan to sue the manufacturer, alleging its pollution made them sick. (Bloomberg Law)

• A BP Plc unit settled a lawsuit claiming it overcharged California for natural gas, averting a trial before a San Francisco jury with the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. (Bloomberg)




Regulators and Enforcement

• New Democratic Senators Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota were assigned to fill vacant seats on the labor committee, but Republicans will still have a 12-11 majority over the panel as it considers some of Trump’s controversial Labor Department nominees. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is under Trump control, attorneys that represent financial services companies are trotting out wish lists of changes they’d like to see at the agency they’ve often clashed with. (Bloomberg Law)

• The Trump administration is trying to get a Boston judge to water down Massachusetts’ lawsuit accusing a major U.S. student-loan contractor of mismanaging a federal loan forgiveness program. (Bloomberg)

• Walt Disney Co.’s planned $52.4 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox’s major content assets could face antitrust analysis of the streaming market that includes Hulu LLC and Netflix Inc. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Eighteen states from New York to California are pressing the nation’s top energy regulator to ensure utilities pass on hundreds of millions of dollars of tax savings to customers. (Bloomberg)

• The Labor Department released new guidelines that make it easier for companies that want to hire interns but don’t want to pay them. (Bloomberg)



Russia Probes

• Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was sued by a company tied to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who claims he was defrauded after giving $18.9 million to Manafort to invest in a Ukrainian cable television venture. (Bloomberg)


The Trump Administration

• Unhappy about a recent book that portrays him as incompetent, Trump called for a “strong look at our country’s libel laws.” (Bloomberg)

• Opponents of the Trump administration’s plans for offshore drilling got some ammunition from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s tweet declaring Florida’s coast off limits. (Bloomberg)

• 7-Eleven stores across 17 states got visits from immigration agents checking on employees’ ID and immigration status. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)




Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments yesterday suggested it will bless Ohio’s process for purging voters from its voting rolls. (Bloomberg Law via BLB) Justice Sonia Sotomayor confronted U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco about the Justice Department’s “dramatic” change of position in the case. (National Law Journal)

• The multiyear copyright battle between Google and Oracle could bring drastic change in 2018 to a software industry that’s used to creating compatible products by freely copying computer code. Text and podcast. (Bloomberg Law)

• Fueled by Republican fears they might lose the Senate in elections this year, the fast pace at which Trump’s judicial nominees are being confirmed is likely to continue. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Anthem Inc. and Express Scripts Inc. defeated a proposed class action challenging their drug pricing methods under federal benefits, racketeering, and health discrimination law. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)




• A bipartisan Senate effort to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s December rollback of net neutrality rules drew mixed reactions from FCC commissioners at a Las Vegas trade show. (Bloomberg Law)

• States are picking up the slack on net neutrality laws after FCC chairman Ajit Pai rolled back the Obama-era internet rules. (Bloomberg Radio via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.