• DLA Piper was the top Big Law firm overall at using social media for digital marketing in 2019, followed by White & Case; Norton Rose Fulbright; Baker McKenzie; and Orrick, according to a latest social law firm index by consulting firm Good2bSocial. The study, which started in 2013, says law firms are getting more sophisticated at using social media but still have a lot to learn. Overall, they sharply reduced their use of Facebook for marketing this year, while increasing their use of LinkedIn, Instagram, and paid social marketing. (American Lawyer)

  • Lawyers and employees of U.S. law firms have shelled out nearly $17 million to presidential campaigns so far this election cycle, with Democrats getting 95% of that amount, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (BLAW via BLB)

  • California ($171,550) has the country’s best-paid lawyers on average, while Montana ($88,600) has the lowest-paid, according to a study. (Forbes)

  • O’Melveny & Myers lawyers yesterday answered questions from D.C. Council members for more than five hours about the firm’s report citing “repeated ethics violations” by longtime Democratic council member Jack Evans. (WaPo) Evans earlier this year got a council reprimand for allegedly using his government staff and email to solicit business from law firms that lobby the city. (BLB)

  • The California State Bar task force looking for ways to expand access to legal services has gotten thousands of comments about its proposals, many weighing in on whether nonlawyers should be allowed to help consumers with legal matters. The bar’s Board of Trustees gave the group an extension until March to make its final recommendations. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Morrison Foerster added veteran finance attorney Jay Gavigan as a partner in New York in its lending + financial transactions group. He arrives from Clifford Chance, bringing an “extensive cross-border practice,” MoFo said. (MoFo.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Butler Snow added 17 lawyers in Baton Rouge through a merger with local firm Kantrow Spaht Weaver & Blitzer. (GlobeNewswire.com)

  • Warner Bros. Television’s general counsel, Jody Zucker, got a promotion, as the company added the new role of “executive vice president of legal affairs” to his title. (Corporate Counsel)

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City hired Craig Zahnd as its new senior vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer. He joins from reinsurance company Swiss Re, where he served as managing director and general counsel of the Americas reinsurance business. He’s also had top roles at General Electric and was a trial attorney at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. (KansasCityFed.org)

Deals

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher client Wellington Management, a global independent investment management firm, announced it closed its biomedical innovation fund at $393 million. The fund — Wellington Biomedical Innovation Fund I — will invest in private biotechnology companies focused on drug discovery and development. (DealStreetAsia.com)

  • Fenwick & West represented late-stage drug development company Sierra Oncology, Inc. in a $103 million public offering of convertible preferred stock and warrants. (Fenwick.com) (GlobalLegalChronicle.com)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Honigman said worklaw attorney Jack Vrett, a former chief labor and employment counsel to the governor of Illinois, joined its Chicago office as partner. Vrett, who served as a lawyer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, joins from a local firm. (Honigman.com)

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS added former CMS Cameron McKenna head of commercial litigation and partner Tim Hardy, who spent more than 30 years at that firm based in London, to its New York panel. (JAMadr.com)

  • Clark Hill hired employment litigator and counselor Margaret (Molly) DiBiancaas a member in Wilmington, Delaware. She advises on noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements and enforces and defends those agreements in the Court of Chancery. (ClarkHill.com)

  • Dykema said corporate finance lawyer Frank Ballantine joined its Chicago office as a partner. He arrives from Clark Hill. (Dykema.com)

  • Ropes & Gray said former Hewlett-Packard in-house lawyer Ellen Sueda joined its executive compensation and benefits practice group as counsel in San Francisco. According to her LinkedIn profile, she arrives from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and has been at King & Spalding; Seyfarth Shaw; and Littler, among other places. (RopesGray.com)

Technology

  • A syndicate led by Google’s artificial intelligence investment fund, Gradient Ventures, raised 3.5 million euros ($3.87 million) for Contractbook, a platform for end-to-end contract lifecycle management. It’s the fund’s first investment in a legal tech company, according to a report. (ArtificialLawyer.com)

Legal Education

  • Law students from schools across the country are planning coordinated protests against so-called tampon taxes, to raise awareness and pressure lawmakers to scrap the levies. (Law.com)