Wake Up Call: Latham Files Suit Against Trump Transgender Ban

• Latham & Watkins, the world’s biggest law firm by revenue, filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals in the military, on behalf of LGBT civil rights group Equality California and several transgender members of the military. (The Recorder) (LGBT Weekly)

• Insurance giant American International Group Inc. named a new general counsel. Lucy Fato, a veteran of Marsh & McLennan Cos. and a current executive at global investigations firm Nardello & Co., will take over from the retiring Peter Solmssen on Oct. 16. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Houston restaurateur Tilman Fertitta is said to be buying the Houston Rockets for a record $2.2 billion.  Baker Botts, DLA Piper and White & Case are advising on the deal. (Bloomberg) (Am Law Daily)

• Kerrie Campbell’s gender discrimination lawsuit against Chadbourne & Parke, which recently merged with much bigger Norton Rose Fulbright, has riveted the legal world. It’s a window on what can still go wrong for women even at the top. (Bloomberg Businessweek via BLB)

• Ballard Spahr of Philadelphia and Lindquist & Vennum of Minneapolis said they will merge to create a national firm with over 650 lawyers in 15 offices. Another big Philadelphia firm, Saul Ewing LLP, announced the completion of its merger with Illinois and Florida firm Arnstein & Lehr LLP. (BLB)

• Greenberg Traurig expanded its Warsaw office with an 11-lawyer real estate team poached from Hogan Lovells, including the practice chief in the city, Jolanta Nowakowska-Zimoch. (Am Law Daily)



A Big Day for Job-Change Notices

• After the typically slow month of August, Big Law Business inboxes were brimming Tuesday morning with job-change announcements. Here’s a round-up of some notable ones. (BLB)

• Aaron Marks, who has been at Kasowitz Benson Torres 24 years, told BLB he’s joining Kirkland & Ellis next Monday. (BLB)

• Carmen Ortiz, the former Massachusetts federal prosecutor who once tried gangster Whitey Bulger among other notable defendants, is joining the Boston law firm Anderson & Kreiger, where she will specialize in white-collar criminal defense. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hired Skadden energy regulation and litigation lawyer James Danly as its new general counsel effective Sept. 18. (Natural Gas Intelligence)




Legal Market

• Goodwin Procter advised in a $3.9 billion merger between Mid-America Apartment Communities and Post Properties Inc. in 2016, while Gibson Dunn worked on Marriott International’s $13.6 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide LLC. The two firms are Nos. 1 and 2 on a recent ranking of the top 50 law firms for real estate deals, which sees legal counsel as increasingly important for such transactions. (Commercial Property Executive)

• The growing demand for alternative fee arrangements has given law firms in lower-rate markets a new tool to lure clients away from firms in major cities, beyond the cost savings they can already offer. (Legal Intelligencer via Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

• Boeing Co. and Airbus SE voiced skepticism about a proposed tie-up of two leading suppliers, potentially upsetting United Technologies Corp.’s $23 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins Inc. (Bloomberg)

• An $800 million business operation needs a full-time CEO,  says John Devaney, Perkins Coie’s firm wide managing partner, explaining why he no longer litigates. (Forbes)



Legal Actions

• Three Texas churches devastated by Hurricane Harvey floodwaters sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency for access to disaster relief funds routinely provided to non-profit organizations such as zoos and museums, but denied to religious groups. (Bloomberg)

• Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk A/S agreed to pay $58.7 million to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe of the company’s allegedly illegal marketing of its diabetes drugs, including its top seller Victoza. (Bloomberg)

• New York county governments are hiring law firms for lawsuits that seek to hold pharmaceutical firms responsible for an epidemic of addiction and overdoses linked to pain-killing opiate drugs they make. (The Daily Star) Other states are taking similar actions. (Bloomberg via BLB)



Regulators and Enforcement

• A Washington, D.C., disciplinary panel admonished whistle-blowers lawyer Lynne Bernabei for helping a fired General Electric in-house attorney leak damaging information about GE to law enforcement officials and journalists. The Aug. 30 admonition could end three consolidated discipline cases that have drawn the ire of the D.C. whistle-blower bar. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• Possible witnesses to the alleged looting of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Bhd are too scared to talk to U.S. investigators because they fear retaliation, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Bloomberg)



The Trump Administration

• President Donald Trump decided to end the so-called Dreamer’s program that former President Obama created in 2012 to shield young, undocumented immigrants to the U.S. from being deported. But he gave Congress six months to come up with something else. A Q&A on the background and implications of the decision, which triggered a legal, political and economic fracas. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Immigrant rights lawyers have already filed the first legal challenge to the move, and several Democratic state attorneys general indicated they plan legal action. (BuzzFeed)

• Special counsel Robert Mueller and key congressional committees are tightening their focus on some of Trump’s family members and campaign associates as probes into Russia’s interference with the 2016 election enter a new and more aggressive phase. (Bloomberg) Democrats say recent revelations mean related Congressional probes could be extended into next year. (Bloomberg)



Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• In a Manhattan federal courtroom, longtime Morgan Stanley broker and financial adviser Michael Siva pleaded not guilty to trading on secret tips about pending mergers and acquisitions leaked by a Bank of AmericaCorp. consultant. (Bloomberg)




• Web-hosting company DreamHost said it will comply with an order to give federal prosecutors data about users of an anti-Trump website, but the authorities can’t use the information until an appeals court rules on the company’s challenge to the warrant in the case. (National Law Journal)

• Banks already using algorithms to monitor traders are looking to expand surveillance to cover more employees in the wake of the Wells Fargo & Co. scandal. (Bloomberg)

• Improbable, a London-based startup backed by telecom and internet giant SoftBank, is seeking deals to get top game publishers to adopt its virtual world simulation software SpatialOS for so-called massively multiplayer online games. One such project is a Berlin company that has teamed up with Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig to use SpatialOS for a game billed as an experiment in governance. (Bloomberg)

• With a blanket ban on initial coin offerings, China has sidestepped an issue plaguing regulators worldwide: are such tokens securities? (Bloomberg)

• A federal lawsuit alleges that members of Trump’s “election integrity” commission have used personal email accounts to conduct official business, in violation of the Presidential Records Act. (Talking Points Memo)



• The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O’Connor, urged lawyers in the state to give free legal assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey. (WTOL)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.