Wake Up Call: Skadden Faces DOJ Questions Over Work for Manafort

• New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom faces Justice Department scrutiny for work it did for Paul Manafort five years ago, when Manafort was lobbying for a former pro-Russia leader of Ukraine. The DOJ’s interest in Skadden comes as special counsel Robert Mueller zooms in on Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, in the context of his investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. (New York Times)

• Uber hired Hogan Lovells for its legal challenge of a London regulator’s refusal to renew its license to operate in the city. (The Lawyer)

• Swedish telecom giant Telia Co AB agreed to pay close to $1 billion to U.S. and international authorities to resolve a long-running investigation into corrupt payments involving telecom contracts in Uzbekistan. White-collar defense lawyers will likely scrutinize the settlement, the Trump administration’s first major enforcement case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and one of the biggest such settlements ever. (Bloomberg) (National Law Journal)

• PricewaterhouseCoopers’ plan to open a law firm in Washington, D.C., is the accounting giant’s latest expansion into the market for legal services since taking over a large group of tax lawyers from General Electric in April. (BLB)

• Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates joined Georgetown University Law Center as a “distinguished lecturer.” A first-year student at the school is Tiffany Trump, daughter of the man who fired Yates in January. (National Law Journal)

 

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court could kick off its new term by deciding to revisit its landmark 2014 ruling on patent eligibility that wiped out protection for many software-based inventions. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• Out of all of the potential blockbuster cases in the U.S. Supreme Court’s fall term about to open, the one that could be the most passionately fought began as a brief discussion about a gay couple’s wedding cake at a bakery in Colorado and has grown into a clash between free speech and equality. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• In the first major application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision limiting where appeals can be filed, a federal appeals court ruled that a company’s one local salesman is not adequate grounds for the Eastern District of Texas to hear a case. (Ars Technica)

 

 

Law Firm Business

• Dentons said it has begun a review that could cut 32 business services jobs at Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, with which the global giant is merging later this year.  The announcement follows news that Hogan Lovells plans to reduce support staff in the U.K. and the United States. (Legal Week)

• Texas civil litigation firm MehaffyWeber is adding an office in San Antonio, getting five lawyers in a merger with local litigation boutique O’Connell & Avery. That gives MehaffyWeber four offices, on top of existing ones in Austin, Beaumont and Houston. (Texas Law Journal)

• New York has a new six-lawyer firm led by James Philbin, the former general counsel of international shipping conglomerate Maersk Inc. The firm, called The Philbin Law Firm, employs five of counsel: a New York University professor and four women returning to law or expanding their practices. It will advise on litigation, regulatory and investigations, and employment and labor law, among other areas. (New York Law Journal)

 

 

Legal Market

• A Florida U.S. congressman is pressuring the DOJ to start distributing $4 billion to Bernard Madoff victims from a fund that has already paid out nearly $39 million to its administrator. (Bloomberg)

• The EU’s approach in threatening fines over the way Google displays shopping results in searches could put the company at the mercy of its rivals. (Bloomberg)

• As Puerto Ricans deal with the legal aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they will need help from lawyers who can both speak and write in Spanish. (Above the Law)

 

 

Legal Actions

• A former loan reviewer at Social Finance Inc. claims in a lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working there, in the latest of at least three suits against the fintech startup. (Bloomberg)

• Fashion label Aquazzura is suing Ivanka Trump and another designer footwear company for an alleged ripoff of its successful “Wild Thing” sandal design. (Bloomberg)

• As researchers said former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of degenerative brain disease, the player’s lawyer announced a lawsuit against the NFL and the team. (AP via Bloomberg)

• A California dentist has settled the last pending lawsuit stemming from the crash of an Asiana Airlines plane in San Francisco four years ago. (AP via The News&Observer)

 

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Scana Corp., which had sought to recover $4.9 billion from customers for its canceled V.C. Summer nuclear power project in South Carolina, and a partner have received federal subpoenas for documents related to the plant. (Bloomberg)

 

The Trump Administration

• Trump plans to nominate Dana Baiocco, a partner at Jones Day in Boston, to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the White House said. If the Senate confirms the nomination, Republicans would hold a majority on the Commission. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring employees to attend training sessions on laws and rules against leaking classified or sensitive government information, as part of a broader Trump administration campaign against leaks. (AP via Bloomberg)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Dentons hired a new leader for its Australian competition practice, with Lynsey Edgar returning to the firm as a partner in Sydney after six years at K&L Gates. (Australasian Lawyer)

• Akamai Technologies, Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based cloud delivery platform, said its current deputy general counsel, Aaron Ahola, will replace Melanie Haratunian as GC, senior vice president, and corporate secretary, in a planned succession on Oct. 1. (PR Newswire)

• Hong Kong-listed Asia Satellite Telecommunications said it picked a telecom industry veteran to be its new general counsel, naming Saphina Ho to replace Catherine Chang, who is leaving the company after 23 years. (Digital TV Europe.net)

 

 

Technology

• The revelation that Russian interests used Facebook advertisements to influence the presidential election are stirring calls to end the web’s “Wild West.” (Bloomberg)  Facebook Inc.’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, said the company’s decision to turn over Russia-related ads to a congressional investigation was “difficult” but necessary. (Law.com)

• Phony law firms online are adding to cyber-risks for real firms. (Legal Intelligencer)

 

 

Legal Education

• The University of Cincinnati proposed a plan to spend $40 million to renovate an existing business school building to serve as a new home for its law school. Earlier proposals include renovating the law school’s current premises, building something new, or moving it somewhere else. (Cincinnati.com)

 

Miscellaneous

• A U.S. federal judge dismissed a $30 million lawsuit over an allegedly stolen portrait by Henri Matisse, finding that heirs of the subject of the portrait waited far too long to file the case. (Bloomberg)

• A court ordered fitness celebrity Richard Simmons to pay attorney fees and other legal costs to the National Enquirer, while Simmons vowed to appeal after his defamation suit against the tabloid failed. (TMZ)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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