Wake Up Call: Trump Lawyers’ Busy New Year

• President Donald Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the president’s former top strategist, Steve Bannon, accusing him of violating a non-disclosure agreement and threatening him with legal action. The move comes amid reports that a new book quotes Bannon as saying a meeting that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., attended with a Russian lawyer during the last year’s presidential campaign was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” (Bloomberg) (Washington Post)

• Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort sued Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department claiming Mueller overstepped his authority in charging Manafort with crimes, as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian election meddling. (Bloomberg)

• 2017 marked a period of mass consolidation in the legal market as law firms combined to add clients, expand numbers and strengthen their bottom lines, according to a recent report. (BLB)

• New York state will challenge the federal government’s new tax law as unconstitutional “double taxation,” the state’s Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo said in his State of the State speech to the Legislature. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Trump dissolved the election integrity commission he had charged with delving into his claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, citing mounting legal costs as states refused to cooperate. (Bloomberg)



Laterals, Moves

• Workplace law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. said it hired Thomas P. Murphy as a principal in its Washington, D.C., region office. Murphy comes over from Hunton & Williams, where he was a partner. (JacksonLewis.com)

• Seyfarth Shaw said international employment lawyer Daniel E. Waldman joined the Chicago-based firm’s international employment law practice group as a partner in New York. Waldman’s Linkedin page says he was previously global employment law chief and partner at FordHarrison, and before that, assistant general counsel at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. (Seyfarth.com) (Linkedin)

• Holland & Knight said it hired litigation attorney and lobbyist George Meros as partner in its Tallahassee office. Meros, a more than 30-year veteran, was formerly a shareholder at GrayRobinson. (Hklaw.com)

• Cozen O’Connor said it expanded its public and project finance practice by hiring veteran tax attorney Jeremy A. Spector, a former member at Mintz Levin, for Cozen’s Philadelphia office. Spector is a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Tax Exempt Financing Committee. (Cozen.com)

• Cozen also said it hired attorney Amanda K. DiChello as a Philadelphia-based member in its private client services practice group. DiChello comes from Philadelphia-based Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, where she was a partner and co-chair of that firm’s 30-plus attorney private client services group.  (Cozen.com)

• Steptoe & Johnson is said to be the latest firm to grab lawyers leaving San Francisco firm Sedgewick, which announced plans to close. Steptoe added seven-lawyer team of commercial and class action litigators led by partner Stephanie Sheridan, a first-chair trial lawyer. (American Lawyer)

• U.K. elite firm Linklaters hired Jones Day bankruptcy partner Amy Edgy in Washington, D.C. (The Lawyer)


Partner Promotions

• Texas-based Haynes and Boone said it promoted nine lawyers to partner: Troy Christensen, Erin England, Cory Feldman, Charlie Jones, Patricia Mastropierro, Timothy Newman, Michael Parsons, Blaine Statham and Clint Wilkins. (Haynesboone.com)

• Cole Schotz P.C. said it promoted lawyers to members of the firm: Nicholas J. Brannick, Robert M. DiPisa, David S. Gold and Matthew S. Schneid. (NJ Biz)

• Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider said it promoted Jeny Maier, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney in the firm’s antitrust practice group, and Jason Murata, Connecticut-based attorney in the firm’s intellectual property practice group, to partner effective Jan. 1. (Axinn)

• Detroit-based Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP said it promoted 12 attorneys to partner, effective Jan. 1: in Ann Arbor, Michigan: Sarah Bishara and Sarah Waidelich; in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Grant Griffith and Grace Trueman; in Detroit: Becky Friedrick Glitman, Mary Hennessey, Jessica Herron, Paul Mardirosian, Nick Pedersen, Ryan Peruski and Adam Wenner; and Sarah Robison Iyer in Chicago. (Honigman)


Outlook 2018

• The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heads into 2018 poised for a potentially dramatic shift in priorities, business and employee attorneys said. One area they will be watching in particular is the agency’s position on sexual orientation discrimination. (Bloomberg Law via BLB) A Q&A about EEOC enforcement and litigation, with management-side attorney Richard R. Meneghello, of Fisher Phillips in Portland, Oregon. (Bloomberg Law)

•  The Labor Department’s commitment to apprenticeships and reconsidering Obama-era regulations is clear. Beyond that, the agency begins 2018 under Secretary Alexander Acosta without much of a policy identity, and that creates some uncertainty for both employers and workers. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)


Legal Market

• Multinational companies, when trying to protect legal communications, must keep in mind that the attorney-client privilege isn’t recognized in all countries, Deere & Co. Senior Counsel Kristin Esche said. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)


Legal Actions

• Brazil’s state-run energy explorer Petrobras agreed to pay $2.95 billion to compensate U.S. investors who lost money when a massive corruption scandal eroded the oil giant’s market value. The settlement ends three years of litigation over a bribery scheme. (Bloomberg)


Regulators and Enforcement

• Southwest Airlines Co. agreed to pay $15 million to settle a multi-district class action alleging it participated in a cartel, and it promised to help the plaintiffs make their case against the three remaining defendants in the case: American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and United Continental Holdings Inc. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)


The Trump Administration

• The White House is banning its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work, citing security concerns, White House officials said. (Bloomberg)



Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The controversial right to bear arms has gotten surprisingly little attention at the U.S. Supreme Court, compared with the huge volume of cases the court has heard around free speech and equal protection. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• The Supreme Court seems to be increasing its practice of devoting whole argument days to similarly themed cases. (Bloomberg Law)

• The Federal Communications Commission doesn’t need to compensate a now-bankrupt wireless company for airwaves licenses the agency seized for missed payments, a federal appeals court ruled. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)




• The world’s biggest chipmakers and software companies, including Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., are coming to grips with a vulnerability that leaves vast numbers of computers and smartphones susceptible to hacking and performance slowdowns. (Bloomberg)

• Soaring Bitcoin and other unregulated digital currencies are giving husbands and wives a new way to hide money in a divorce. Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.