• A year after corporations including Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, and Metropolitan Life Insurance announced diversity mandates for their outside law firms, the latest data show U.S. Big Law firms in 2017 made tiny gains overall on increasing minority lawyers’ percentage share of their overall legal staff. Some general counsel say they are beginning to take more concrete action to enforce their mandates.  For instance HP’s top lawyer, Kim Rivera, said the company is withholding fees from firms that still “don’t get it.” At PepsiCo, the legal department is making outside firms complete a tough diversity survey. ( American Lawyer )

• White & Case tops American Lawyer’s latest diversity rankings for the fifth straight year year, and Fragomen held on to second place. Meanwhile, Schiff Hardin’s ranking plunged after it lost several minority lawyers. ( American Lawyer )

• Hours after the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation took effect Friday, one young Austrian lawyer filed lawsuits against Facebook and Google in four EU member countries. He claims the companies should be fined billions of euros because they are illegally forcing their users to allow their personal data to be exploited.( The Recorder ) ( Global Legal Post )

• Republican aides in Congress who played a big part in writing the comprehensive Trump tax overhaul last year are leaving for jobs in the lobbying industry, at firms including Akin Gump and Squire Patton Boggs, among others. ( The Hill )

• Under President Donald Trump, conservative Christian lawyers, especially from two Texas law firms, have seen their influence surge both in private practice and public office. That rise has helped fuel a wave of anti-LGBT legislation and so-called religious-freedom laws across the country. ( Associated Press via CNBC )

• An increase in national security reviews of mergers in recent years has caused a parallel increase in demand for attorneys who have experience in dealing with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. The committee has become a likely first stop for regulatory clearance, especially if the deal involves a Chinese acquirer.( Bloomberg Law )

• On paper lawyers may seem to get a lot of time off, but in reality they commonly face long hours and pressure that can wear them out. After a recent study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation found widespread mental health problems among attorneys, the legal profession may finally be waking up to the problem. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

•Six months into his tenure, Trump’s pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is doing everything he can to transform the agency he’s said to detest. ( Bloomberg )

•Brooklyn Law School’s dean, Nick Allard, is leaving after six years, but so far Allard and the school haven’t said why. Allard, who is listed as of counsel at Dentons in its public policy and regulation practice, is a former Washington, D.C., lobbying practice chairman of Patton Boggs, which is now part of Squire Patton Boggs. ( New York Law Journal )

• Aformer administrative law judge who sued a dry cleaner for millions over a lost pair of pants could get a 90-day suspension from practicing law in a related Washington disciplinary board case. ( Law.com )

 

 

Lawyers, Law Firms, Laterals, Moves

• Ex-convicts that manage to graduate law school can face hurdles to ever getting to practice law, or even take the bar exam. Stanford’s Criminal Justice Center recently held a roundtable oflaw students, professors, and formerly jailed attorneys who made recommendations for changing the character and fitness review process for lawyers. ( National Law Journal )

• McGuireWoods hired corporate and securities lawyer Christi Davis as senior counsel. She comes from PNC Financial Services Group Inc., where she wasmanaging chief counsel and corporate secretary. ( McQuireWoods.com )

 

Legal Actions

•Northwestern University became the second prominent college to defeat a lawsuit accusing it of violating federal benefits law by offering imprudent investments and allowing excessive fees in its workers’ retirement plans. Schlichter Bogard & Denton represents the Northwestern employees. Jenner & Block represents Northwestern. ( Bloomberg Law )

 

Technology

•The companies behind two of the world’s most popular video games are squaring off in a copyright infringement fight in a South Korean court.( Bloomberg )

 

Legal Education

• Arizona Summit Law School sued the American Bar Association alleging its accreditation standards are arbitrary and unconstitutional, the fifth such suit filed recently. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.