Wake Up Call: Kozinksi Resigns Amid Probe into Sexual Misconduct Claims

• Alex Kozinski, a prominent federal appeals court judge known for blunt and colorful legal opinions, resigned as he was facing an investigation over sexual misconduct allegations made by 15 women, some of whom had worked for him as clerks.  The resignation makes it unlikely the complaint process will continue, an expert on judicial ethics and procedure said. (Bloomberg) (Bloomberg Law)

• In one effect from the scandal, the Federal Judicial Center released a revised handbook for federal law clerks clarifying that clerks and other judicial employees can complain about sexual harassment without violating the judiciary’s confidentiality rules. More than 300 former federal law clerks and others had sought the revision, and other measures, in a letter to judicial officials including Chief Justice John Roberts. (National Law Journal)

• London insurance law giant Clyde & Co said it is hiring 15 insurance and litigation partners from Sedgwick, the California-based firm that plans to close. The partners, representing U.S. and international insurance carriers, and corporate and public agencies and departments, are mainly from Sedgwick’s offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County, with some from Chicago, Miami and New York. The move will also include 65 other lawyers and staff. (BLB)

• Is Uber Technologies Inc. a taxi company or not?  As the European Union’s top court prepares to rule on that question the technology industry is watching, because the decision could set a precedent for how other gig economy companies are regulated across the 28-nation bloc. (Bloomberg)

•  A Trump judicial nominee whose inability to answer basic legal questions at his confirmation hearing brought him widespread ridicule withdrew his nomination. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

• Tax lawyers for corporations and wealthy individuals are ready to take advantage of loopholes and errors in the Republican tax bill, says a report by 13 legal scholars. (Mother Jones)



Legal Market

• The #MeToo phenomenon has generated work for labor lawyers. (BLB)

• The move to join Orrick by Morvillo, the litigation boutique founded by the sons and brother of the late white collar heavyweight Robert Morvillo, was sparked when a Morvillo founder told an Orrick partner that Morvillo was looking for a lateral hire. (BLB)

• New York lawyer Marc P. Berger of Ropes & Gray LLP will join the SEC in January as director of its New York Regional Office, the agency said. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Kirkland & Ellis said it hired a prominent Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer private equity partner, David Higgins, to become the co-managing partner of its London office. K&E earlier this month hired Debevoise & Plimpton investment management and funds head Erica Berthou and deputy corporate chair Jordan Murray in New York, and they’ve since been joined by Debevoise attorneys Richard Robinson Jr., Katrina Rowe and Carrie VanFleet, who become K&E partners in New York. (American Lawyer)

• More diverse legal teams, streamlined eDiscovery and “fair and reasonable” billing, are among improvements that top inside-counsel at Google and Uber said they will expect from their outside lawyers in 2018. (American Lawyer)


Legal Actions

• ABC Studios and Marvel Television Inc. will pay $1.75 million to settle claims it didn’t pay overtime to set workers, according to an agreement that received final court approval. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A pharmaceutical industry association lawsuit challenging California’s new drug pricing law adds to the list of alleged constitutional violations drugmakers have asserted in similar litigation in other states this year. (Bloomberg Law)


Regulators and Enforcement

• The National Labor Relations Board’s recent joint employer ruling changed the rules for business. Lawyers in the NLRB general counsel’s office and elsewhere will be scrambling to see how the ruling will affect a mammoth unfair labor practice case against McDonald’s USA. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• The path for the NLRB and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collaborate on workplace civility rules is clearer thanks to another renct NLRB decision, management-side lawyers said. (Bloomberg Law)


Russia Probes

• The Senate Judiciary chairman said Monday he wants Andrew McCabe removed as deputy director of the FBI, a day before McCabe is scheduled to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia investigation. (Bloomberg)

• Paul Manafort wants a court to allow him to spend the Christmas holiday at his estate in Bridgehampton, New York, according to a document filed by his legal team Monday. (Bloomberg)


The Trump Administration

• Trump considered dumping Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee over perceptions that Gorsuch might not be “loyal,” according to a report. (Washington Post)

• A group representing women in the U.S. military escalated their legal battle for equal footing in combat units, saying in court filing that the Trump administration has shown “extreme hostility” toward integrating the armed services. (Bloomberg)


Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Most major law firms today have opened their ranks to a broader spectrum of society, but very little has changed in “the old boy’s network” at the U.S. Supreme Court, as one law professor put it. (BLB)

• The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court for an emergency order that would temporarily stop a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant from having an abortion. (Bloomberg)

 • Merry Hanukkah! and more from the Read That Back: Holiday Edition. (Read That Back Blog via US Law Week)

• Jimmy John’s can’t block franchisee employees involved in overtime class actions alleging the company is a joint employer from pursuing separate wage-and-hour lawsuits against franchisee businesses alone, a federal appeals court ruled. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)



Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Holland & Knight said Lauren Maddox, a Department of Education assistant secretary during the George W. Bush administration, joined the firm as a senior policy adviser in its public policy & regulation practice group in Washington, D.C, coming from the Podesta Group, where she was a principal, directing the education sector group. (Hklaw)

• Holland & Knight also said it expanded its West Coast land use and environment practice by adding Pillsbury counsel Marne Sussman as a partner in its San Francisco office. (Hklaw.com)




• The European Commission aimed for a “deterrent effect” on Google and other technology giants when it ordered the internet search provider to pay 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for alleged violations of EU antitrust rules law over how it displays shopping ads. (Bloomberg)

• Tesla’s updated fair use policy says vehicles purchased after Dec. 15 for commercial purposes won’t be allowed to use the company’s Superchargers. The policy affects drivers for Uber or Lyft Inc. as well as taxi and other commercial drivers. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.