Wake Up Call: Richard Susskind Lays Out Future of Big Law

Photo by trophygeek (flickr/ creative commons)

• Video: Richard Susskind, co-author of “The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts,” lays out the challenges facing law firms today, and what he believes will make the difference between success and struggle. (Big Law Business)

• In an unprecedented move, Senate Republican leaders said Tuesday they would refuse to even meet with any nominee by President Barack Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia during an election year, no matter what qualifications that nominee may have. (New York Times)

• Debevoise & Plimpton posted record per-partner profits and a third consecutive year of profitability growth in 2015, on the strength of multibillion dollar M&A deals and major litigation, the firm reported Tuesday. (American Lawyer)

• Early data show Crowell & Moring’s gross revenue declined 1.5 percent in 2015, and profits per partner stayed flat, but the firm’s new chairwoman, Angela Styles, said the firm is “financially very healthy.” (National Law Journal)

 

Legal Market

• A real estate company is suing Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan for what it alleges is at least $745,000 in overbilling for the firm’s work defending a former president against federal bank fraud and conspiracy charges. (The Recorder)

• Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is advising the London Stock Exchange Group on a potential merger with  Germany’s Frankfurt-based stock market, the Deutsche Boerse, a client of Linklaters. (The Lawyer)

• Kansas City-based Polsinelli PC is set to have one the country’s largest intellectual property practices by absorbing the 40 or so attorneys in the IP group of Houston-based Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg LLP. (Big Law Business)

• BLB talks to Chelsea Grayson who left Loeb & Loeb, where she was a partner, to take on new challenges as general counsel and chief administrative officer of American Apparel, the troubled LA-based clothing manufacturer. (Big Law Business)

• As dwindling demand puts pressure on coal mining companies to cut costs and climate rules threaten their survival, many are shifting scarce resources from lobbyists to lawyers in the belief that energy policy is a matter for the courts rather than Congress. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg News)

• The National Labor Relations Board is mulling a move that would boost the power of its general counsel over settlement offers, reducing the ability of administrative law judges and employers to quickly end labor disputes. (National Law Journal)

• The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could affect the outcomes of several labor and employment law cases pending before the high court, employment law professors and other observers told Bloomberg BNA. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg BNA)

• The law is clear around whether Sony Music can cancel its contract with pop star Kesha Sebert, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by her producer, but the public relations is complicated. (Big Law Business/ Bloomberg News)

• Chinese information technology company Unisplendour has dropped plans for a $3.8 billion investment in Western Digital, due to concerns that the transaction would fail to an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, WD said. (Law360)

 

Laterals and Moves

• Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP said it will pay market rate bonuses to all its associates, following a report that Paul Hastings LLP will match the market rate. (Law 360)

• With President Barack Obama due to make an historic trip to Cuba next month, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has taken another move to expand its practice in the communist country, hiring non-lawyer Devry Boughner Vorwerk from agribusiness giant Cargill Inc., where she was vice president of corporate affairs. (American Lawyer)

• Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, the 70-year-old labor and employment firm, has opened an office in Century City with the hire of a practice leader at Proskauer Rose, Kenneth Sulzer, and Steven Katz, a senior counsel who comes from Reed Smith. (Big Law Business)

• Latham & Watkins has picked up seven partners for its Hong Kong office, making lateral hires, internal transfers and promotions in a move aimed at expanding its private equity and leverage finance practices in the city. (The Lawyer)

 

Technology

• Microsoft founder Bill Gates strongly denied suggestions in a recent Financial Times report that he supports the U.S. government in its fight with Apple Inc. over unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, saying the article did not accurately reflect his views on the matter. (Bloomberg Business)

• Legislation afoot in the Senate intelligence committee and gaining momentum in Congress would make it illegal for Apple Inc. and other U.S. companies to refuse government orders for access to encrypted data. (Bloomberg Politics)

• Apple said prosecutors across the U.S. have asked the company to unlock iPhones at least nine times since Oct. 8. (Bloomberg News)

• Bugs in outdated mobile Java and Flash software leave networks exposed to hackers and can put firms at risks, according to a study. (LegalTech news)

• Legitimate mobile apps that “leak” data such as unique device identifiers, address books, calendars, location or others are far riskier than malware, according to a study. (InformationWeek)

• A research “white hacker” project that took two years to probe the security of 12 hospitals and various medical technologies has found that patient health is “extremely vulnerable” to cyber attacks. (Forbes)

• Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinions cite his own opinions more than any other justice, but frequently cited the work of Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to an analysis by Ravel Law. It found Scalia also cited Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg even more often than Justice Clarence Thomas. (Ravel Law)

 

Miscellaneous

• The founder and chief executive of what was once one of Florida’s biggest mortgage foreclosure firms has agreed to forfeit his state law license in a settlement of disciplinary proceedings linking to the firm’s sudden collapse in May 2015. (ABA Journal)

• Hilary Clinton’s campaign to become the Democratic candidate for president faces new complications, as a federal judge ruled Tuesday her top aides should be questioned under oath about their boss’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. (Washington Post)

• Federal prosecutors plan to ask a judge to rule that a lawyer accused of embezzling millions from Morris Hardwick Schneider, the law firm he once headed, is a serious flight risk and should be jailed until trial. (Wall Street Journal)

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is usually known for thinking through every possible angle and downside before action, but he dropped all caution when faced with an election-year battle over Justice Antonin Scalia’s suddenly empty Supreme Court seat, writes an observer. (Politico)