Wake Up Call: “Uber for Lawyers” App to Take Legal Queries for $20

• Set to launch in September, the mobile platform “Text a Lawyer” will allow potential clients to ask lawyers an initial legal question for about $20, then $9 for follow-up questions.  “I’m trying to bridge the gap between lawyers, at hundreds dollars an hour, that blue collar Americans cannot afford … with what they can afford,” says the app’s Portland, Oregon-based creator, Kevin Gillespie. (Legaltech News)

• U.K. legal departments are lagging their U.S. counterparts in implementing legal tech innovations, according to an Acritas survey of over 2,000 senior in-house counsel. For example, it found that E-signatures are used by 61 percent of U.S. legal departments compared with 49 percent of mainland European and 37 percent of U.K. legal departments. E-discovery is used by almost four times as many legal departments in the U.S. than by their European counterparts. (Acritas)

• With Scott Pruitt out as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, a longtime Washington lobbyist for energy companies and former partner at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, is taking over as the agency’s interim administrator. (Bloomberg) (National Law Journal)

• As Baker & Hostetler partner Irving Picard approaches 10 years as trustee for Bernie Madoff’s victims, he and his firm have recovered over $13 billion, or about 75 percent of the estimated $17.5 billion lost. Picard and the firm are also approaching $1 billion in fees for that work. (American Lawyer)

• The financial disclosure for Geoffrey Berman, now the court-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, shows he earned about $3.5 million in salary and bonus last year as a white collar defender at Greenberg Traurig. But it doesn’t seem to shed any light on why Berman is recused from the office’s criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney to President Donald Trump. (New York Law Journal)

• Perkins Coie was hired to do an independent investigation into allegations that a former doctor in Ohio State University’s athletics department abused male wrestlers decades ago. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, a former assistant wrestling coach at the school, denied reports that he knew about the allegations, but said he had talked to lawyers doing the probe. (Washington Post)

• U.K. arms of the biggest accounting firms have expanded aggressively into the legal services area in recent years, changing their legal status to compete with attorneys and capitalize on their global presence to win multinational clients. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A federal court rejected a Philadelphia-based Locks Law’s renewed bid for elevated class counsel status in the $1 billion NFL concussion class settlement, but it withdrew one basis for the original ruling denying that status–the law firm’s role in facilitating third-party funding agreements to class members. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Keila Ravelo, a former partner at Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr & Gallagher, was disbarred in New York for approving payments of nearly $8 million to her ex-convict husband’s companies in exchange for “little or no services.” Ravelo faces sentencing on federal wire fraud and tax evasion charges. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Lawyers, Law Firms, Laterals

• Labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis named two co-chairs to take over when its current chief, Vincent Cino, who has led the firm since 2012, steps down at year’s end. Kevin Lauri, managing principal of its New York City office, and William Anthony, a principal in its Albany office , will serve four-year terms, with one extension possible. Anthony previously managed the firm’s Hartford, Connecticut, office, and founded its class actions and complex litigation practice group. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Fallen former New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will get about $64,000 a year from his state pension. (New York Law Journal)

• The now former assistant general counsel of Harley Davidson, Stephen Boettinger, has become the top lawyer at Rev Group Inc., a maker of buses, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles which recently moved its headquarters to Milwaukee. Boettinger is taking over from Pam Krop, who will stay on as an adviser until Sept. 30, then be available to consult through Sept. 30, 2019. (Milwaukee Business Times)

• Hogan Lovells International hired Nicola Fulford, currently head of data protection and privacy at Kemp Little, as a partner in its privacy and cybersecurity practice in London, to start in September. The firm pointed to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation as the catalyst for the hire, and said it’s adding six more London-based attorneys for the practice later this year. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Technology

• As growing use of connected devices makes cyber attacks more likely in critical infrastructure facilities, a systems-based approach to cyber security is needed, writes an official at the Geneva-based  International Electrotechnical Commission, the standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology. (Medium)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.