• Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw says it was one of the first law firms to defend an employer in a lawsuit asserting violations under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Now, it’s launching a biometrics privacy compliance & litigation group, with over 25 attorneys, led by labor & employment attorneys Karla Grossenbacher and Thomas Ahlering. Earlier this month, the firm said it added commercial litigator and privacy specialist Tracee E. Davis in New York. (Seyfarth.com)

  • As companies expand use of fingerprint, facial recognition, and palm print technology, Kansas City, Missouri-based Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Detroit-based Dykema Gossett, and L.A.-based Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, are among other firms that have started biometric privacy groups to handle a surge in Illinois biometric privacy litigation under the BIPA. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Lawyers from 13 law firms are fighting over a potential $64 million in legal fees stemming from a proposed $2.2 billion class-action settlement over a failed nuclear plant construction project in South Carolina. (HeraldSun.com)

  • New York-based firm CKR Law, led by former Blank Rome partner Jeffrey Rinde, is struggling to pay its partners amidst a cash-flow problem, a report says. (New York Law Journal)

  • As the controversial litigation finance industry expands rapidly, both commercial- and consumer-oriented litigation finance companies are facing an increasing number of lawsuits, according to a report. (Law.com)

  • Reed Smith appointed healthcare lawyer Paul Pitts the firm’s new managing partner for its San Francisco office, which has 108 attorneys. The Pittsburgh-based firm said Pitts takes over from senior counsel David Thompson, who is now leading the integration effort for Reed Smith’s newest office, in Dallas. (ReedSmith.com)

  • Latham & Watkins is working with smart contracts leader OpenLaw on a blockchain based tool that generates convertible notes with built-in protections on regulatory concerns linked to new token projects. The tool is aimed at helping startups raise capital, according to this report, which also looks at some other OpenLaw projects. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Artificial intelligence tools have yet to catch on with lawyers, according to a survey. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Meanwhile, DLA Piper launched an artificial intelligence practice to help clients navigate legal and compliance risks arising from the creation and deployment of AI systems. (DLAPiper.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Akerman opened an office in North Carolina and expanded its recently opened Atlanta office, continuing its strategic expansion. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Some lawyers for President Trump and his family may have to lawyer up themselves as the House Intelligence Committee investigates whether they helped obstruct the panel’s probe into Russian election interference. (NYT) (WSJ)

  • A California wine country lawyer got a 30-day suspension from practicing law for failing to tell the court and opposing counsel that his client was dead for more than a year, even as he kept litigating the case. (The Recorder)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Vedder Price said former chief intellectual property legal counsel at Reynolds Group Holdings and FRAM Auto Group, Daniel Shulman, joined the firm’s IP group as a shareholder in Chicago. (VedderPrice.com)

  • Carlton Fields added prominent Reed Smith trademark attorney Clark W. Lackert in the firm’s IP practice as a shareholder in New York. According to his LinkedIn, Lackert has been a partner at Reed Smith, Dickstein Shapiro, which no longer exits, and at King & Spalding. (CarltonFields.com)

  • Littler, the management-side worklaw firm, added Crowell & Moring partner Mark A. Romeo as a shareholder in Irvine, California. (Littler.com)

  • Perkins Coie said 30-year veteran trust-and-estate planning lawyer Lois Tilton joined the firm in New York, arriving from Kurzman Eisenberg Corbin & Lever. (PerkinsCoie.com)

  • DLA Piper added two attorneys in Argentina. Mariana Lozza, former legal advisor for the Argentine Treasury Attorney General, joined as a partner in its international arbitration practice, arriving from law firm Guglielmino & Asociados. Former Cleary partner Nicolas Teijeiro joined as a partner in DLA Piper’s corporate finance practice. (DLAPiper.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Uber drivers aren’t legal “employees” for the purposes of federal labor laws, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office said in an advisory memo released yesterday. (BLAW)

  • The Walt Disney Co.'s “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise didn’t lift copyright protectable elements from a screenplay of the same name that Disney had rejected, a California federal court ruled. Munger Tolles and Olson represented Disney. (BLAW)

  • Stung by near-record levels of federal securities class-action lawsuits, firms that insure company executives are taking action. (BN via BLAW)

Legal Education

  • Litigation funder Validity Finance announced it launched a paid summer fellowship to help first-year law students from underrepresented backgrounds get meaningful experience and begin building professional networks early in their careers. (Validity-Finance.com)