Wake Up Call: Hot Boston Market Spurs Firms to Seek Specialized Talent

• Pennsylvania-based Pepper Hamilton and Saul Ewing are among the latest out-of-town law firms to make significant lateral hires in Boston, as the area’s growing healthcare, biotechnology, life sciences, and technology sectors, and a strengthening private equity sector, spur firms to expand in specific industry-focused practices. Todd Feinsmith, partner in charge of Pepper Hamilton’s Boston office, said that, with the city now a “buyers’ market” for clients, “To compete as a generalist in this market is going to be difficult.” (American Lawyer)

• The American Bar Association said 13 Big Law firms, running from Akin Gump to Wiley Rein, have signed its seven-point pledge to target substance-use disorders and mental-health issues among lawyers. (ABA Journal)

• Crypto-currency company Ripple lost its general counsel, Brynly Llyr, to crypto-payments startup Celo. Ripple, facing several investor lawsuits, recently turned for help in one of them to SEC chair Mary Jo White and her ex-enforcement chief at the agency, Andrew Ceresney, both now partners at Debevoise, to advise the company alongside Skadden. (CoinDesk)

• Celo’s new GC Llyr, a former O’Melveny & Myers attorney who’s also spent time inhouse at PayPal and eBay, was one of the first lawyers from inhouse, Big Law, or government to make the jump to a crypto company, as the fast-growing sector encountered regulatory and other legal hurdles. Former Cooley fintech attorney Marco Santori, now at digital currency wallet company Blockchain, former McDermott financial institutions adviser Lee Schneider, now GC at Block.one, are among other examples. (Corporate Counsel)

• Now that sexual harassment allegations have pushed out CBS Corp’s Les Moonves, the company’s new board features women who are experts in mergers & acquisitions. Among them is Hughes Hubbard & Reed senior partner Candace Beinecke. (Bloomberg)

• Reston,Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. agreed to acquire Virginia-based Engility Holdings in a $2.5 billion transaction that would create the second-largest independent U.S. government services contractor. Morrison & Foerster and Arnold & Porter advised SAIC, while Engility got legal advice from Weil, Gotshal, & Manges and Bass, Berry and Sims PLC. (Wall Street Transcript) (Wall Street Journal)

• Bain & Co. said it hired Baker McKenzie to do an internal investigation of work that the company has done for the South African Revenue Service. Bain has faced allegations of mismanagement and corruption during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma. (Bloomberg)

• MoFo client Yahoo! Inc. and investors won final approval of an $80 million settlement resolving claims the web services provider failed to disclose four data breaches. Pomerantz LLP and Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP represented the shareholders. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)


 Lawyers and Law Firms

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says regulators are looking at how online retailers that also offer a platform to other sellers might collect “sensitive data” that could aid their own sales.  (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Speaking of online retailers, the Times profiled 29-year-old lawyer Lisa Khan, who it says became “Amazon’s antitrust antagonist” with her scholarly article in the Yale Law Journal that “reframed decades of monopoly law.” (New York Times)

 • Washington police say they are investigating the August death of Stanford University law student Leon Cain, who was about to start his third year at the school and who had just accepted an offer to join Wachtell in New York after he gradated. (Law.com)

• Allen & Overy expanded its reverse mentoring program to include more offices, practice areas, and partners. (LegalWeek)


 Laterals, Moves

• Steptoe & Johnson LLP added two attorneys to its employee benefits and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation practice, getting former Labor Department trial lawyer Sara Pikofsky as a partner and Treasury Department counsel Bill Bortz as senior counsel. Pikofsky most recently spent nearly 11 years at Jones Day, while Bortz, who also practices in Steptoe’s tax group, spent 21 years at the former Dewey Ballantine. (Steptoe.com)

• Schiff Hardin said veteran workplace law attorney Derek G. Barella joined the firm in Chicago as a partner in its labor and employment practice group, which represents management in labor matters and employment-related litigation. Barella was previously at Winston & Strawn. (SchiffHardin.com)


 Legal Actions

• FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said a recent court ruling that limits state regulation of cable company offerings supports his contention that the Federal Communications Commission can trump state-level net neutrality rules. (Ars Technica)

• Google heads back to the European Union’s top court today as it seeks to limit the geographical scope of a landmark 2014 ruling that granted EU citizens the right to have items about them de-indexed, or removed, from search engines. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.