Wake Up Call: Venable Hired by Lawyers Charged with Bribery

• Federal prosecutors charged two lawyers from Alabama law firm Balch & Bingham and a coal company executive with bribing a state legislator to oppose an environmental cleanup plan. (Washington Post) Balch & Bingham hired W. Warren Hamel, chairman of Venable’s investigations and white-collar defense group, to represent it in the case. (Am Law Daily)

• Investigating sex abuse at elite private schools has grown into a lucrative practice area for Big Law firms including Cozen O’Connor, Day Pitney, Holland & Knight, and Covington & Burling, among others. (New York Times)

• In the months since Robert Mueller was named special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, over a dozen former and current White House and Trump campaign aides have lawyered up. Some of the lawyers have even hired lawyers. Here’s a list. (BLB)

• Lawyers are going bananas to stretch the limits of intellectual property law in lawsuits linked to the annual $9.1 billion spent on costumes and other Halloween stuff. (Bloomberg)

• AT&T Inc. and other broadband providers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn “net neutrality” rules barring internet service providers from slowing or blocking rivals’ content in favor of their own or a paying customer’s content. Broadband companies say the Obama-era rules discourage infrastructure investment, but defenders, including tech companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc, say they are needed to enforce fair treatment of web traffic. (Bloomberg)


Legal Market

• Twitter Inc. told a Congressional panel it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents that used Facebook for a fake news campaign to sway the U.S. presidential election. (Recode)

• President Donald Trump’s lawyers confirmed that the president blocks people on Twitter who have criticized him or his policies. Seven blocked users are suing Trump on grounds that that blockage violates the First Amendement. (Slate)

• Starting yesterday, Google implemented a small but significant change to the advertisement box atop search results pages in Europe. Will that be enough to avoid another EU antitrust fine? (Economist)

• Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP this month launched a crisis law and strategy group co-chaired by founder and managing partner John Quinn and partners Bill Burck and Susan Estrich. (Quinnemanuel.com) (The Recorder)

• U.K. law firms could be required to publish pricing information for certain services, under new rules proposed by a regulator. (The Times)

• Brexit and regulation is boosting the status of general counsel at companies, but businesses still underestimate the strategic value of these in-house lawyers, according to a U.K. survey. (The Times) (Law 360)




Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Justice Neil Gorsuch starts his first full term as a U.S. Supreme Court justice next Monday. The term, packed with ideologically divisive cases that could turn on a single vote, promises to show how much was at stake with his appointment. (Bloomberg via BLB) The court said it will try for a second time to decide whether 5 million government workers can refuse to pay union fees. (Bloomberg)

• Gorsuch spoke to a convervative group at Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C., days after appearing in Kentucky with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Bloomberg)

• Trump named Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas Solicitor General James Ho to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Austin American-Statesman)

• A Harvard Law School grad who lost her job as a Ropes & Gray associate after flunking the bar exam two times can sue the New York State Board of Law Examiners for alleged violations of federal disability law, a court found. (Am Law Daily)

• A Manhattan appeals court rejected actor Harvey Keitel’s appeal in his breach-of-contract lawsuit against E*Trade over an abandoned deal to hire him as a celebrity spokesman. (New York Law Journal)


Legal Actions

• AbbVie Inc. reached a deal with Amgen Inc. that will allow a copy of blockbuster arthritis drug Humira to be sold in Europe next year–but a U.S. version won’t hit shelves until more than four years later. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• A group of investors in Starrett City, an affordable housing complex in Brooklyn that counts President Trump as a stakeholder, sued the owners in an attempt to block a proposed sale of the property for more than $900 million. (Bloomberg)

• How businesses can find the right attorneys to defend them. (Forbes)


The Trump Administration

• U.S. regulators are reported to be planning to release American International Group Inc. from the special government oversight ordered for the insurer after its central role in the 2008 financial crisis. (Bloomberg)

• The White House is said to be investigating staff use of private email for government business. (Bloomberg)

• Allen & Overy partner Heath Tarbert, whom the Senate recently confirmed to a top Treasury Department post, earned about $1.15 million last year leading A&O’s U.S. bank regulatory team. (National Law Journal)

• Trump will soon have to make a potentially “explosive” nomination: the new IRS chief who will help implement Trump’s proposed tax cuts, while also overseeing an audit of his tax returns. (Bloomberg)

• Andrew Finch has served as temporary head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division since April. Now that Makan Delrahim has finally been confirmed as the permanent head, Finch becomes the division’s top deputy. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)


Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Attorney Lisa Page has left special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to return to the FBI. (CBS News)

• Minnesota-based Tennant Company, a cleaning solutions maker, said it hired veteran in-house lawyer Jeffrey L. Cotter as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary as of September 25, to replace Heidi Wilson, who retired. Cotter previously held a similar position at uniform maker G&K Services. (Business Wire)



• Bain Capital’s consortium plans to take Toshiba Corp.’s flash-memory unit public two to three years after closing its 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) acquisition of the business. (Bloomberg)

• Burger King Corp. won’t have to face a consumer class complaint alleging it printed receipts revealing too much payment card information, a Florida federal court held. (Bloomberg BNA)

• As technology giants face the threat of greater regulation worldwide, Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella says these companies should focus on greater self-policing to prevent the loss of personal privacy and other harmful side effects of innovations. (Bloomberg)

• After the recent hurricanes that hit two U.S. states and Puerto Rico, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called on Apple Inc. to activate FM radio chips in iPhones to contribute to public safety. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.