Wake Up Call: New York Immigration Firm Launches Tech Lab

• New York-based immigration services firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy said it is putting a technology innovation lab in Pittsburgh, with 40-50 engineers and other professionals to develop the firm’s software and cybersecurity tools. (Legal Intelligencer)

• Cravath, Swaine & Moore signed a deal with British legal IT company Luminance, making it the latest elite firm to look to so-called artificial intelligence to help it bring down costs and boost efficiency. London-based Luminance is part-owned by Slaughter and May, a top U.K. firm that frequently works with Cravath on cross-border transactions. (Am Law Daily)

• U.K. brokerage TheJudge’s new shop in Manhattan brokers deals between insurance companies and law firms or corporate legal departments that want to hedge the risk of filing a lawsuit. Seeing a “virgin market” in one the world’s most litigious countries, theJudge plans a new office in Los Angeles, and in Toronto, said its director for U.S. operations. (BLB)

• Fox has shown another executive the door amidst allegations of sexual harassment, this time Jamie Horowitz, president of national networks for Fox Sports. An O’Melveny & Myers lawyer for the company rejected claims by Horowitz’s attorney that his client had been treated unfairly. The allegations come at a touchy time for 21st Century Fox, which is trying to get regulatory approval for a $15.2 billion takeover of the U.K.’s Sky Plc. (Bloomberg)

• Donald Trump’s team of flamboyant lawyers has steered him through legal battles he faced as a New York real estate mogul, in New York and New Jersey court rooms. But the team may not be up to all the legal challenges piling up on the president in Washington, D.C. (New York Times Magazine)

 

 

Law Firm Business

• London-based Withers Worldwide said it has hired a team of seven corporate attorneys from Winston & Strawn in Hong Kong, including the former head of the firm’s corporate practice in Asia, Mabel Lui, who will lead the firm’s greater China commercial department. The move comes about a month after Winston said it shuttered its offices in Beijing and Taipei. (BLB)

• Paterson, New Jersey’s city council approved $218,750 worth of increases on contracts with 11 private law firms that handle municipal matters. (Northjersey.com)

 

Legal Market

• Ukrainian cyber police are seeking criminal negligence charges against a tax software company said to be the first victim of last week’s NotPetya malware attack, which also hit DLA Piper and global companies, according to a report. (Associated Press via Gizmodo)

• Uber Technologies Inc. faces another EU setback after an adviser to the bloc’s top court issued an opinion that is unfavorable for the company, though nonbinding. The advocate general’s opinion backed a French law that led to 850,000 euros ($965,000) fines in 2016 of Uber and two executives over claims that UberPop, a service that lets non-professional drivers use their own cars to pick up riders, broke the law. The Luxembourg-based court follows the advocate’s advice in most cases. (Bloomberg)

• Federal prosecutors asked a judge for help shutting up former hedge fund manager and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, because they’re worried his talking and social media posts could taint the jury in his trial for securities and wire fraud. (New York Times DealBook)

• Boston-based lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Goodwin Proctor had prominent roles in an IPO, valued at about $1.89 billion, by New York-based meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (Am Law Daily)

• South African state-owned port and freight-rail operator Transnet SOC Ltd. has hired a local law firm, Werksmans Attorneys, to help its board probe allegations of corruption linked to a 2014 program to buy more than 1,000 locomotives. (Bloomberg)

• A Spanish government official said a decision to force a write down of Banco Popular SA’s junior debt came from European authorities, not Spain. The comment came after a group of bondholders hired Quinn Emanuel Uruhart & Sullivan LLP, and Spanish consumer associations and law firms seek to represent retail investors, to seek possible claims for damages in the bank’s collapse. (Bloomberg)

• An ex-Merrill Lynch investment banker is suing the billionaire owner of a U.K. sports equipment retailer over an unpaid 15 million-pound ($19.5 million) bonus. A lawyer for Mike Ashley argues that the unorthodox businessman never intended to make a serious offer in the two’s “alcohol fueled” conversations in London Pubs. (Bloomberg)

• A company owned by an actress wrote fake news articles to push up stock prices of specific companies, according to an SEC complaint among more than a dozen that the agency has filed recently in similar so-called “pump and dump” schemes.  (Washington Post)

 

 

The Trump Administration

•  After citing 29 companies for dubious “made in USA” claims last year, the Federal Trade Commission has eased off a bit, and has so far cited 11 companies in 2017, including retail chain Target. (National Law Journal)

• The House Intelligence Committee is accelerating its probe of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, with plans to hold closed-door interviews with former campaign officials Michael Caputo and Paul Manafort. (Bloomberg)

• Not long after Trump’s election as president, a U.S. government official wrote to his company to say that he considered conflict-of-interest concerns over Trump International Hotel Washington DC to be “nonsense.” Months later the same official cleared Trump’s lease for the hotel, potentially saving him millions of dollars. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and other Courts

• Last week, U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed to hear a tax case that could lead to a narrowing of the definition of “obstruction” in white-collar prosecutions. (New York Times DealBook)

• The Justice Department asked a Honolulu federal judge to deny Hawaii’s request for clarification on Trump’s travel ban, asking critics to to leave questions about the scope of the immigration restrictions to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bloomberg)

• A U.S. appeals court rebuked the Environmental Protection Agency for unilaterally suspending Obama-era methane emissions regulations while the regulator reviewed the rule. (Bloomberg)

• Four former Barclays Plc executives, including the bank’s ex-chief executive officer, told a London court that they will plead not guilty to charges that they conspired to commit fraud over a 2008 fundraising with Qatar. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Technology

• As Silicon Valley venture capitalists deal with a recent sexual harassment scandal, rather than “grandstanding” about decency they should address the industry’s culture of secrecy by reining in tech companies’ use of nondisparagement and nondisclosure agreements. Opinion. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

• Companies should take note of several recent court decisions that illustrate that communications through short and multimedia message services, otherwise known as “texts,” are discoverable. Two attorneys make policy recommendations for avoiding problems. (Corporate Counsel)

• Cyber criminals are increasingly using text, imposter and other phone scams to launch attacks, according to recent reports. (TechRepublic)

 

 

Miscellaneous

• Latham & Watkins’ New York real estate practice co-chair, Michelle Kelban-Carteron, is suing the board of her Chelsea coop in Manhattan for “dog racism.” (Am Law Daily)

Greenberg Traurig can continue representing Universal Pictures in its defense against a defamation lawsuit linked to the rap biopic film “Straight Outta Compton,” a court ruled, finding the firm’s “ethics wall” adequate to protect against a potential conflict. And a roundup of other entertainment legal news. (Hollywood Reporter)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.