Wake Up Call: Greenberg Lawyer Named Acting Health Secretary

• President Donald Trump named corporate lawyer Eric Hargan as acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, Hargan has previously been a partner at McDermott Will & Emory and Winston & Strawn. He takes over from a deputy who’s held the job since Tom Price resigned last month over his use of taxpayer dollars to travel in private jets. (Bloomberg) (Linkedin)

• Joel Sanders, the convicted former CFO of fallen firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, is out of jail but not for free. A Manhattan judge sentenced Sanders to probation, community service and a $1 million fine for his part in hiding the firm’s deteriorating finances, which eventually produced the biggest law firm bankruptcy in history. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Baker McKenzie’s brand remains the profession’s most dominant, twice as recognizable as any other law firm’s, according to a recent survey of 1,000 in-house counsel at billion-dollar companies worldwide. (Above The Law)

• Fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein hired litigator Patricia Glaser, of L.A. firm Glaser Weil, to represent him in his fight with the production company he co-founded and that fired him Sunday, Weinstein Co. Meanwhile, Weinstein faced new sexual abuse and harassment accusations, including from Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. (Hollywood Reporter) (Bloomberg)

• Big Law firms including Baker McKenzie, Katten Muchin Rosen, Latham & Watkins and McDermott Will & Emery have business executives who help manage sprawling global operations that include thousands of lawyers in an increasingly competitive, tech-using legal market. But some partners remain skeptical. (BLB)

• The disclosure filing for J. Randolph Evans, the Dentons partner Trump picked for U.S. ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, shows he raked in $2.8 million at the firm in a recent 16-month stretch, which comes out to about $1.78 million annually. (Daily Report)

• London-based Skadden Arps partner Michael Hatchard joined the then “upstart” U.S. firm decades ago when experienced English attorneys were expected to join an elite Magic Circle firm. After a career advising on some of the U.K.’s largest and most complex cross-border M&A deals, and now the firm’s most senior English lawyer, Hatchard plans to retire. (Financial Times)

• The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency tasked with fighting workplace discrimination, is about to get a Republican majority for the first time in a decade. That prospect inspires relief among employers and anxiety among workers’ rights advocates. (Bloomberg)

• Victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas have filed suit against the maker of so-called bump-stock devices, which convert rifles into semi-automatic weapons, in a new test of a law that protects the gun industry from liability for criminal actions by some of their customers. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Market

• Virginia-based LeClairRyan said it acquired boutique Pizzo & Haman, adding its two shareholders, nine senior counsel, three counsel and nine legal support professionals. LeClairRyan said the boutique brings an innovative workmen’s compensation practice advising insurance carriers and also expands its corporate practice. (PR Newswire)

• Uber Technologies Inc. said its U.K. drivers would face broad changes if required to be classified as employees with benefits, a sign the company is considering alternatives to its labor model amid tighter scrutiny from regulators. (Bloomberg)

• A technology lawyer who has spent decades working on copyright issues is now trying to fund an anthology of classic American pop music that is free from copyright restrictions. (Bloomberg BNA)

 

Legal Actions

• Yahoo Inc. is said to plan to seek dismissal of gender discrimination claims by two male former managers in the company’s media unit. (The Recorder)

• County lawmakers in Illinois voted to repeal Chicago’s two-month old soda tax amidst legal challenges, implementation problems and controversy. (Washington Post)

 

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• U.K. regulators are said to have dropped a probe into a former Barclays Plc executive over a 2008 fundraising by the bank with Qatar, despite related criminal charges against him. (Bloomberg)

• U.S. prosecutors are using charts to explain their fraud and conspiracy charges against former HSBC Holdings Plc currency trader Mark Johnson. (Bloomberg)

• The AFL-CIO wants the Securities and Exchange Commission to look for possible insider trading in shares of student loan giant Navient Corp. (Bloomberg)

 

The Trump Administration

• As the administration formally proposed rescinding the Obama Clean Power Plan, environmental activists and state leaders vowed to sue. (Bloomberg)

• Indiana officials are refusing to explain why they won’t release emails from private AOL.com accounts Mike Pence used as governor. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court asked the Trump administration for advice on a consumer lawsuit that accuses Apple Inc. of trying to monopolize the market for iPhone apps so it can charge excessive commissions. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• The court dropped one of two cases over Trump’s travel ban, suggesting it will sidestep a constitutional showdown and let lower courts take the first look at the latest version of the policy. (Bloomberg)

• Fordham Law School said it will award U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy its 2017 Fordham-Stein Prize, recognizing his contributions to the legal profession and American society. (Fordham)

• The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a West Virginia energy company executive known as the “King of Coal” of his convictions on mine safety conspiracy charges. (National Law Journal)

 • Last week some Supreme Court justices showed they still remember how to party, during oral arguments for a case stemming from a party held in a vacant Washington, D.C., home. (Read That Back on US Law Week Blog)

• The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the state’s ethics rules by alternative dispute resolution service JAMS. (New Jersey Law Journal)

 

 

Technology

• Google, Facebook and Twitter face congressional investigations into Russia’s use of their services to sway the presidential election, and pushes in the U.S. and EU to regulate them because of their size and influence. (Bloomberg) They also face proposed U.K. rules that would require social media companies to report the scale of cyber bullying in the country and could force them to pay to deal with the problem. (Bloomberg)

• Resisting the trend toward ever more mobile work, many top law firms are still using desktop PCs for their perceived security and cost advantages, according to a survey. (Legaltech News)

• A 1995 Sandra Bullock movie inspired an invention of an online pizza ordering system, and a patent dispute between companies who both say they own the idea. (Bloomberg BNA)

 

Legal Education

• Prominent educators from law schools at U.C. Berkeley; University of Southern California; and Northwestern University Pritzker responded to suggestions in a recently released second edition of Richard Susskind’s book on the future of law that schools are not doing enough to prepare students to be “lawyers of the 21st century.” (Law.com)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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