Wake Up Call: Kasowitz Donated to Cy Vance During 2012 Trump Probe – Report

• In 2012, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., were close to being indicted for criminal fraud for allegedly misleading investors about a Trump real estate project, according to a report by the New Yorker, ProPublica, and WNYC. The report says that after Trump senior’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, made a $25,000 donation to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., and personally visited the prosecutor, Vance killed the criminal investigation. Vance and Kasowitz deny any connection between that decision and Kasowitz’s campaign donations. (New Yorker) (ProPublica)

• The Real Deal published a plaintiff’s letter that supposedly convinced Vance to kill the probe. (The Real Deal)

• A Bloomberg Businesssweek feature takes us into the efforts of Mike Moore, the 65-year-old former Mississippi attorney general who negotiated a 50-state, $246 billion agreement with Big Tobacco that went to fund smoking cessation and prevention programs. Today, Moore is practicing at The Mike Moore Law Firm, specializing in complex disputes between states and companies, and he has a new target in his sights: drug companies that have made easy access to powerful pain medication spark a new deadly crisis. (Bloomberg Businessweek via BLB)

• IMF Bentham Ltd. is the latest litigation funder to announce a big fundraising haul. The Australian-based firm said it raised more than $115 million from two institutional investors to finance cases in Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe. (Am Law Daily)

• How much will the lawyer who replaces Uber chief legal officer, Salle Yoo, earn? If that person turns out to be Salesforce.com Inc. CLO and chief of corporate and government affairs Burke Norton, it will likely be a lot. (Corporate Counsel)

• Houston-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon and Richmond, Virginia-based Hunton & Williams are said to be in the early stages merger talks. (New York Law Journal)

• Wells Fargo & Co.’s home state of California passed a law aimed at curtailing the bank’s use of closed-door arbitration to shroud complaints from aggrieved customers affected by its scandals. (Bloomberg)

• The European Union’s order for Amazon to pay $294 million in back taxes to Luxembourg sent a warning to any company using fees on intellectual property rights to shift profits away from the taxman. (Bloomberg)

• Elite firms Kasowitz, Benson Torres, Kirkland & Ellis, Convington & Burling, and Kramer Levin announced promotions to partner for dozens of lawyers. (BLB)

• Boston Scientific Corporation said Desiree Ralls-Morrison will become its senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary on Nov. 30, replacing Timothy Pratt, who is retiring. Ralls-Morrison has held executive and top lawyer jobs at pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim USA and before that was GC for the Johnson & Johnson consumer group. She has been a senior attorney and assistant counsel at Merck & Co, Inc., and a litigator at law firms Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and Shipman & Goodmand LLP. (PR Newswire)



Law Firm Business/Legal Innovation

• The move by Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC — to enter the turf of law firms has definitely caught the eye of Big Law, but how big, really, is the challenge? Seyfarth Shaw Chair Emeritus Stephen Poor said that if the Big Four deploy their substantial resources to develop innovative legal services using tech and people, they could pose a real risk to Big Law firms. (BLB)

• Law firms have a long way to go on using so-called competitive intelligence functions for proactive decision-making, according to a new survey report. (Am Law Daily)

• As they grow rapidly, China’s biggest law firms are relying on lateral hires to keep up. (The Lawyer) Leaders of Chinese law firms still view the U.S. market as the “land of opportunity,” and other observations from a law-firm consultant’s recent visit to the country. (LawVision)

• Another report finds that market changes and clients’ needs are forcing law firms to get over fear of failure and experiment with new technologies, processes and business models. (Financial Times)

• In-house lawyers increasingly get opportunities to work with innovative technologies that change industry and wider society.(Financial Times) Lawyers are taking key roles in transformational business deals. (Financial Times) More from the FT’s special “Innovative Lawyers” series. (Financial Times)



Legal Actions/Market

• Apple Inc. and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. are fighting a billion-dollar war over an $18 part in iPhones. (Bloomberg)

• Miami-based law firm Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya worked with international firm Amsterdam & Partners to help the South American Football Confederation, known as Conmebol, beat civil corruption and bribery allegations in Florida federal court. (Daily Business Review)

• In a Senate hearing, Equifax Inc.’s former CEO Richard Smith drew wrath from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over stock sales initiated by three of his former deputies just days after the company learned of a potential hack. (Bloomberg)





Regulators and Enforcement

• The Bank of England’s head of supervision said a Brexit transition deal must be reached by the end of the year to provide assurance to financial firms as they prepare for life after the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union. (Bloomberg)

• After North Carolina lawmakers slashed $10 million from the budget of Attorney General Josh Stein earlier this year, they now want to keep him from shifting work to deal with the cuts. (News & Observer)


Russia Probes

• The House Intelligence Committee is gearing up to interview several key figures as part of its Russia probe, including former U.S. diplomat Samantha Power and Michael Cohen, an attorney for President Donald Trump. (Bloomberg)

• Russia-financed Facebook ads turned over to congressional panels show that Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Maryland were targeted along with the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan, according to an official on the committee. (Bloomberg)

• Facebook Inc. is pledging greater transparency about who’s behind election-related ads online. For years, the company fought to avoid it. (Bloomberg)


The Trump Administration

• After the Equifax hack, the Trump administration is exploring ways to replace Social Security numbers as the main method of protecting people’s identities. (Bloomberg)

• Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in Alabama defended his decision to hang a portrait on his chamber wall of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, citing its “historical significance.” (Bloomberg)

• Trump’s labor nominees faced “pointed” questions during their Senate confirmation hearing yesterday. (National Law Journal) But Reuters said the nominees “sailed through” the session, as only two senators asked questions for Cheryl Stanton, Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, and Peter Robb, his choice to be the National Labor Relations Board’s next general counsel. (Reuters)



Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A New York appeals court considered a lawsuit that is testing the so-called Baseball Rule, a century-old legal doctrine that blocks fans from suing a ball club if they get hurt by a foul ball or a shattered bat. (Bloomberg)

• The “hero” bankruptcy judge who spent 107 pages excoriating Bank of America Corp. over its “heartless” foreclosure on a California couple is not happy that the homeowners now want him to erase his words. (Bloomberg)

•  The judge in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal cases granted special prosecutors’ request to postpone the trial until at least early 2018. (Dallas News)

• Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Backpage.com fought over a state subpoena for records and data in the criminal trial of Backpage executives accused of money laundering, bank fraud and operating as a portal for the global online sex trade. (Sacramento Bee)




Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Baker McKenzie hired Vinson & Elkins energy lawyer David A. Lang as a Houston-based partner to lead its global liquified natural gas practice. Lang, who focuses on energy infrastructure development, acquisition and disposition, spent seven years in Hong Kong for V&E, including two as the office’s managing partner. (LNG Industry)


Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.