Wake Up Call: NYT Fires David Boies Over Weinstein Spy Scandal

• Famed trial lawyer David Boies has been fired by The New York Times over a perceived conflict of interest after revelations that his firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, was advising the Times even as Boies helped fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein contract private investigators in an effort to dissuade the Times from publishing explosive sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy issued a statement saying the newspaper never contemplated that Boies’s firm would contract private investigators to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at its reporters. “Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm,” she said. “Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.” (Bloomberg via BLB)

• In a memo to his firm’s employees, Boies sought to clarify his role in advising Weinstein, saying it was a “mistake” to contract private investigators that he did not select or direct. He also distanced himself from his former client, saying: “Mr. Weinstein was a client of mine; he is no longer a client of mine or the Firm,” wrote Boies. (BLB)

• Ropes & Gray got booted from a false advertising dispute in California for ignoring its client’s ultimatum, with the federal judge in the case citing the firm for breaching its duty of loyalty to the client by representing its adversary in another case. In its explanation, Ropes & Gray pointed to the spin-out in June of its patent prosecution practice to a stand-alone firm. (The Recorder)

• Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has scored work advising Qualcomm Inc., a longtime Cravath client, on a $103 billion offer from rival Broadcom Corp. The new work on what would be one of the biggest M&A deals ever is the latest return for Paul Weiss from its big lateral hire last year of Scott Barshay away from Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Barshay, now global head of M&A at Paul Weiss in New York, is taking the lead for Qualcomm. (Law.com)

• Broadcom is using a tactic popularized by corporate raiders in the 1980s to convince Qualcomm and its shareholders that it has the means to complete the deal. (Bloomberg) The proposed deal is the latest sign that Wall Street likes what it is seeing from the Trump administration. (CNBC)

 

Legal Market

• Responding to big shifts in the U.S. legal market and technology, almost every big law firm in Texas–including Baker Botts, Bracewell, Norton Rose Fulbright and Vinson & Elkin–has hired non-lawyer professionals to manage essential marketing and staff development operations. (Houston Chronicle)

• The United States Steel Corporation announced the resignation of Suzanne Rich Folsom, its general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior vice president government affairs, effective December 29. It said Deputy GC Richard Fruehauf will head the company’s legal operations while the company looks for a permanent replacement for Folsom. (Nasdaq)

• Innovari, Inc., specializing in energy-platform grid tech for utilities, said it hired former Sullivan & Cromwell corporate transactional attorney Lisa Jurinka as general counsel. Jurinka was most recently GC at Jive Software and has held assistant GC roles at various San Francisco Bay area companies. (PR Newswire)

• The Republican leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives hired a law firm to investigate a sexual harassment scandal that prompted the resignation of House Speaker Jeff Hoover. (WDRB)

• Sky Plc warned U.K. regulators it could pull the plug on Sky News if the operation gets in the way of its 11.7 billion-pound ($15.3 billion) takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. (Bloomberg)

 

Paradise Papers

• Leaked data from the offshore law firm Appleby are purported to show that tech giant Apple Inc. shifted certain subsidiaries from Ireland into the tax haven Channel Island of Jersey to avoid EU tax scrutiny. Apple disputed that, however. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• What can employees refuse to do on religious grounds, and what can they refuse?  Lawyers from the Employment Law Group and Holland & Knight LLP considered the question in a recent conversation. (Bloomberg BNA)

• Wall Street is fighting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s deal to settle allegations of shoddy collection practices on billions of dollars in defaulted student loans. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The Russian lawyer who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton at a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials last year will be allowed to phone into a hearing Thursday on a court case underpinning U.S.-Russia tensions. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Lawyers for plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging NCAA limits on compensation for athletes pressed their arguments for a pre-trial ruling in their favor. (USA Today)

• Sprint Corp. subsidiary Nextel Communications asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to rethink its ruling that found the state’s limit on certain deductions taken by Nextel to be unconstitutional without granting the company a refund. The case could affect thousands of Pennsylvania corporate taxpayers that take advantage of the state’s deduction on net operating losses. (Bloomberg BNA)

• Two former Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc executives pleaded guilty to U.S. charges that they orchestrated international bribes at the engine maker for more than a decade. (Bloomberg)

• On their first full day of jury deliberations at the bribery trial of Senator Robert Menendez, a juror asked the judge a basic question: What is a senator? (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Technology

• Law firms are lagging on using technology innovations to improve their relationships with clients, general counsel on a recent panel in London said. (The Lawyer)

• President Donald Trump’s visit to China: the Tweeter-in-Chief visits the country whose ban on Twitter and Facebook is part of comprehensive crackdown on dissent against  Communist Party rule. (Washington Post)

• Twitter doubled its tweet limit to 280 characters. (Bloomberg)

• Apple’s Inc. plan to build a data center in a tiny Irish village is on hold because of legal and other snags. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.