Wake Up Call: Weinstein Co. Hires Debevoise

• Film production company Weinstein Co. hired Debevoise & Plimpton partner John Kiernan Friday to lead an investigation into allegations that its co-founder Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed women for decades. (Bloomberg) The company, which fired Weinstein Sunday, joins Uber and Fox News on a list of companies dealing with fallout after bosses misbehaved or didn’t do anything to stop misbehavior by others at their companies. (New York Times DealBook)

• Fox News’ head lawyer, Dianne Brandi took “voluntary” leave, amidst a federal criminal investigation of the company’s and her handling of a raft of sexual harassment complaints against executives and other personnel at Fox. (New York Times) Even as Fox dumped one executive after another in the widening scandal, Brandi had seemed untouchable. (Vanity Fair)

• Apple Computers said its longtime general counsel Bruce Sewell will retire at the end of 2017 and be replaced by Katherine Adams, the former general counsel of Honeywell. (BLB) Honeywell promptly announced a replacement for Adams, promoting Anne Madden, vice president of corporate development and global head of mergers and acquisitions, to the job. (GovCon Wire)

• Winston & Strawn is seeking to force ex-partner Constance Ramos’ sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit into arbitration. (Law.com)

• Atlantic Media general counsel Aretae Wyler is combating scammers posing as editors and senior staff. Read about top developments in the general counsel community in BLB’s weekly GC column. (BLB)

• Norton Rose Fulbright reappointed Peter Martyr for a sixth three-year term as its global CEO. (Legal Week)

• U.S. public companies are paying their top lawyers more, reflecting GCs’ increasing involvement in strategic decision-making, a new report found. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• California passed a law requiring pharmaceutical companies to explain their price increases, escalating states’ battle to force the industry to bring more transparency to its practices. (Bloomberg via BLB)

 

 

Law Firm Business/Legal Market

• Victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting and families of victims will need help dealing with the onslaught of legal challenges they face as a result. Because America has so many mass murders by firearm, lawyers for legal aid groups have been training to help. (Bloomberg)

• Law firms including Baker McKenzie, Perkins Coie and DLA Piper are increasingly using data to improve how they price their services. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

• GCs, chief operating officers and strategy directors of major companies told a survey they expect their law firms to use artificial intelligence to improve service delivery, collaboration and talent development, a new Herbert Smith Freehills report says. (Gadget)

• Big law firms are nowhere near as profitable as they might appear by conventional measures. In fact some generate virtually no “true” profit at all. (Am Law Daily)

 

 

 

Legal Actions

• A special prosecutor said he will add a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Michigan’s chief medical executive in a criminal investigation of the tainted water crisis in Flint and an extraordinary outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

 

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Chai Feldblum, the first openly LGBT member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is Washington’s strongest champion for the idea that antigay and antitrans biases constitute unlawful discrimination “because of sex.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)

• Amazon’s sales tax fight is heating up as states crack down on third-party merchants that use the site. (Bloomberg)

• As the European Union prepares to usher in sweeping new data-sharing rules for finance, antitrust authorities are probing whether the banking industry is preventing rival services from accessing customers’ accounts. (Bloomberg)

• Estonia, the country which helped create Skype and hosts NATO’s cyber-defense center, is also trying to stay ahead of the pack in regulating robotics. (Bloomberg)

 

 

The Trump Administration

• Attorney General Jeff Sessions advised federal agencies to follow 20 principles of religious freedom, including a recognition that religious employers can discriminate in hiring, as he elaborated on an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May. (Bloomberg) New rules let employers opt out of providing health insurance that covers birth control and pave the way for religious businesses and employees to discriminate based on their closely held beliefs. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Wearing pants to court, arguing cases when pregnant: women SCOTUS lawyers talked about breaking those and other barriers at a recent panel discussion. (National Law Journal)

• AbbView lost a second bellwether court case over AndroGel as a Chicago federal jury ordered the drugmaker to pay more than $140 million to a man who blamed the testosterone medication for his heart attack. (FiercePharma)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Haynes and Boone, LLP, said it hired veteran employee benefits lawyer Lori Troutman, a former Baker Botts LLP special counsel, as counsel in its Houston office in its employee benefits and executive compensation practice. (Haynesboone.com)

• Cincinatti-based First Financial Bank named senior attorney Amy Thompson Hock as its new general counsel. Hock has worked for New York offices of law firms including for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Mayer Brown, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. (Tribune Star)

• Cable One’s senior vice president, GC and secretary, Alan Silverman, announced plans to retire in December. (Multichannel News)

 

 

 

 

Technology

• With big technology companies facing criticism over potential manipulation by Russians trying to influence the U.S. presidential election, Twitter Inc. shareholder and former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said the companies can’t do more to police the spread of fake news. (Bloomberg)

• Facebook published full-page newspaper ads listing “immediate” actions it is taking to fight efforts to use its site to manipulate U.S. elections. But the company faces serious questions from Congress over Russia’s “weaponization” of the site to sway the U.S. presidential vote. (Financial Times)

• Facebook Inc.’s platform was a crucial messaging tool for Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to the campaign’s digital director. (Bloomberg)

• Arbitration could address the tech sector’s concerns about budget and time costs linked to dispute litigation, but the alternative dispute mechanism also raises problems, according to a report. (Legaltech News)

• Andrew Torba, a 26-year old entrepreneur from Pennsylvania, founded social network Gab.ai as a “free speech” alternative to other social networks (Bloomberg)

• No use honking: The robot driving the car can’t hear you. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Legal Education

• Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal is scheduled to speak tomorow at the University of Toledo College of Law. Katyal is now a partner at Hogan Lovells and teaches law at Georgetown University. (The Blade)

• An immigration debate at Seattle University School of Law is the latest front for the hot-button issue of campus speech rights. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• What’s the ugliest law school campus in America? (Above the Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.