Wake Up Call: Trump Eyes Tax Lawyer for IRS Chief

• U.S. President Donald Trump is set to name California tax attorney Charles “Chuck” Rettig to head the IRS, a job in which Rettig would implement the nation’s tax code revamp, and oversee an audit of the president’s tax returns. The 35-year veteran at Beverly Hills firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, Rettig has expressed support for Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns. (Bloomberg) (Forbes)

• Steve Wynn, the casino billionaire credited with shifting the industry’s focus from gambling to all-around entertainment, stepped down as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd, the latest big name to fall in a sexual harassment scandal. (Bloomberg)

• Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. have thrown their support behind proposals in Congress to deal with cross-border data requests from law enforcement–even as the issue heads for the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bloomberg)

• Little more than a year after Arnold & Porter merged with Kaye Scholer, the combined firm offered voluntary buyouts to 140 legal secretaries, but the firm’s chairman, Richard M. Alexander, said it is not laying people off. (BLB)

• Kirkland & Ellis expanded its deal team again, this time hiring a co-chair of Latham & Watkins’ private equity practice, Jennifer Perkins, as a partner in its New York corporate practice group. (BLB)

• Citigroup Inc. won a ruling forcing a former broker to go to arbitration over her claims that she was demoted because of her gender and fired for reporting a superior for violating rules designed to prevent insider trading. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Trump Administration/Russia Probe

• Trump was briefed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on a Democratic memo countering Republican claims of FBI and Justice Department bias in the Russia probe. Meanwhile, former White House strategist Stephen Bannon is still negotiating his interview with the House intelligence committee. (Bloomberg)

• While Trump claims vindication, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is honing in on several targets. (Wired) Trump’s associates are urging him to find a compromise with Mueller about a sit-down interview, rather than risk a Supreme Court clash by just telling Mueller to “shove it.” (Politico)

• Career Justice Department lawyers, but no political appointees, represented Mueller in court as he petitioned to dismiss a civil case by Paul Manafort. (National Law Journal)

• Almost a dozen states sued the Trump administration for suspending a 2015 rule that was supposed to update the Clean Water Act of 1972. (Bloomberg)

• Republican labor board member William Emanuel, the management-side senior partner and shareholder at Littler Mendelson appointed by Trump, already faces a reported ethics investigation and a probe by Democratic senators. (Bloomberg Law)

 

 

 

 

Law Firm Business/Legal Market

• Lawyers representing Facebook Inc. shareholders are asking a Delaware court for $129 million in fees, which law professors called “unusual” and “very, very high.” (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• In today’s deregulatory environment, private sector lawyers need to step up and be “the adults in the room,” said former SEC Chair Mary Jo White, now a litigation partner and senior chair of Debevoise & Plimpton. (Bloomberg Law)

• Arent Fox said veteran sports law attorney Jennifer O’Sullivan, a former commissioner of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, joined the firm’s sports group. O’Sullivan previously led Hand Baldachin & Amburgey LLP‘s sports and entertainment group. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Chase T. Rogers, the retiring chief justice of the Connecticut’s Supreme Court, is joining Day Pitney, the state’s largest law firm, as a partner in its litigation department and a member of its appellate practice group, the firm said. (Hartford Courant via Bloomberg BNA Convergence)

• Withers Bergman said it is launching a joint venture with its New York-based immigration law partner Reaz Jafri, to be called Withers Global Advisors. With Jafri as CEO, the venture will help “internationally mobile high net worth” clients participate in countries’ programs to obtain citizenship by investment or residency by investment. (WithersGlobal.com)

• Haynes and Boone said corporate partner Bill McDonald joined its Houston office as a partner in the firm’s capital markets and securities practice, bringing 30 years’ experience representing oil and gas service companies, most recently at Andrews Kurth Kenyon. (HaynesBoone)

• Mintz Levin said O’Kelly E. McWilliams is returning to the firm as a member in its employment, labor & benefits section, coming from Gordon & Rees, where he was office managing partner in that firm’s Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland offices.  McWilliams was a member at Mintz Levin from 2005 to 2007. (Mintz.com)

 

 

 

Legal Actions

• The House passed legislation to overhaul how members of Congress and their staffs report sexual harassment. (Bloomberg)

• Target Corp. is getting sued by luxury furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware Inc., which accuses the discounter retailer of infringing four design patents covering outdoor furniture. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Houston-based drilling-services provider Halliburton Co. wants the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel some of Schlumberger Ltd.’s fracking-related patents. (Bloomberg)

• A conservative think tank wants the SEC to investigate its allegations that California officials are downplaying risks of climate change to bond investors while citing those same risks to justify a lawsuit against oil companies. (Bloomberg)

• A painter known for thumbing his nose at the art establishment sued five New York City museums, accusing them of conspiring to eliminate competition for contemporary art. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Labor board General Counsel Peter Robb faced a protest by agency workers who say his recent reform proposals would undermine the agency’s central mission of protecting workers’ rights. (Bloomberg Law)

• A Labor Department office said it sent letters to 1,000 federal contractor establishments letting them know they’ve been selected to be evaluated for compliance with federal equal employment opportunity laws. (Bloomberg Law)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had a lot of explaining to do as he testified in the first day of Waymo’s trade-secrets theft trial against the ride-hailing giant. (Bloomberg)

• Anthem Inc.’s settlement of a consumer class action stemming from a 2015 data breach is hung up after a federal judge raised concerns about nearly $38 million in proposed attorneys’ fees. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A former Brooklyn assistant district attorney was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for wiretapping her former boyfriend’s mobile phones. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

 

Technology

• Walmart bought small virtual reality shop Spatialand as part of its plan to remake its websites and stores. (Recode)

• Uber’s information security chief, John Flynn, defended the company’s practice of paying hackers to find security flaws as he faced lawmakers over the massive 2016 data breach that the company took over a year to report. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.