Wake Up Call: Trump’s Top Court Pick Could Affect Big Law Firms, Clients

Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

• Donald Trump is expected to name his choice today to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat soon to be left by Justice Anthony Kennedy. That pick could give conservatives the upper hand for years in legal fights on issues including abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights. (Bloomberg) But partners at major law firms say the choice could also have a direct impact on their clients, in cases involving administrative law and class actions, among other areas. (National Law Journal)

• White House Counsel Donald McGahn has played an “outsized role” as curator of Trump’s “Who’s Who” list of conservative jurists, whose 25 names include the four said to be on Trump’s top candidates for the seat. (Washington Post)

• Germany’s top court ruled Volkswagen AG can’t keep Munich prosecutors from using a report they seized from Jones Day, which the carmaker had hired to investigate its diesel-emissions scandal. The court separately ruled that Jones Day can’t invoke rights under Germany’s constitution, because it’s incorporated under U.S. law. (Bloomberg)

• AT&T hired lawyer Margaret Peterlin–who was chief of staff to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and has advised leading congressional Republicans–as a lobbyist reporting directly to the company’s general counsel, David McAtee. (Bloomberg)

• Law firm librarians are doing more research on the business of law, rather than on the practice of law. But that means their departments, whose budgets are already shrinking, can bill less of their hourly work to clients, according to a recent survey. (American Lawyer)

• Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen has hired lawyer and crisis manager Lanny Davis–an outspoken Trump critic best known for advising the Clintons–to help deal with a federal probe of his businesses and finances. (Bloomberg) (Vanity Fair)


Supreme Court

• Of the four reported top candidates for the Supreme Court seat, Judge Thomas Hardiman, of the Third Circuit, was runner-up for the seat that went to Justice Neil Gorsuch. Hardiman hasn’t done much lobbying for the job this time, but he’s a friend of Trump’s big sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. (Above the Law)

• The four federal judges known to have auditioned for job have varying levels of experience deciding health-care cases. (Bloomberg Law)


Lawyers and Law Firms

• Otis Carter, the first general counsel at TriMark, the country’s largest food service equipment and supplies distributor, says it’s critical to stay involved in every aspect of an M&A transaction. He should know: in his four years at the company he has guided it through four major acquisitions, and two sales of the company itself. (BLB)

• Casino company Wynn Resorts Ltd., whose founder stepped down earlier this year over allegations of sexual harassment, said general counsel Kim Sinatra is leaving her position July 15. (Wall Street Journal)

• BakerHostetler said a team of its lawyers represented Milstein Entertainment LLC and Northfield Park Associates LLC in a $1.06 billion transaction in which MGM Growth Properties LLC acquired the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. (PR Newswire)

• Linklaters hired attorney Shilpa Bhandarkar to take on its new role of head of innovation, based in London and Amsterdam. With an MBA from Harvard, Bhandarkar was previously legal network director at Lexoo, a European legal digital marketplace. (Artificial Lawyer)

• Pepper Hamilton lawyers are representing a Delaware author who is trying to compel the FBI to release records regarding its investigation into U.S. soldiers’ theft of crown jewels belonging to a German royal family, at the close of World War II. (Delaware Law Weekly)


Laterals, Moves

• Stephen Kunin, the former deputy commissioner for patent examination policy at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has joined Maier & Maier PLLC, Alexandria, Virginia, as a partner. And other recent moves at prominent intellectual property law firms and other IP-related organizations. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)



• Under California’s new Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, companies hit by cyber attacks or data theft will liable for statutory damages claims of up to $750 per consumer and incident, writes Baker McKenzie’s Lothar Determann. (Bloomberg Law)


Legal Education

• Four law schools are suing the American Bar Association for arbitrary enforcement of accreditation standards, which may lead to more transparency about how the ABA makes accreditation decisions. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.