Wake Up Call: Wisconsin Requires Litigation Funding Disclosure

• Litigation finance companies are thriving in Australia and the U.K., but in the U.S. they have come up against tough questions over transparency. Yesterday, Wisconsin’s governor signed a law requiring disclosure of all litigation funding arrangements for civil cases in the state’s courts. The measure, apparently a first in the U.S., got strong support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (National Law Journal)

• Many of the last decade’s law firm mergers involved larger firms swallowing smaller boutiques. By contrast, 2018 might be shaping up as the year of the “mega-merger,” with three tie-ups creating law firms of over 1,000 lawyers in the year’s first three months, a report says. (BLB)

• Law firm WilmerHale is investigating allegations of personal misconduct and misuse of company assets at advertising giant WPP Plc., as CEO Martin Sorrell’s hold on the company looks increasingly shaky. (Bloomberg)

• Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which rarely makes lateral hires, hired Selwyn Goldberg, a former partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Silicon Valley, to come to the firm as of counsel in New York. (American Lawyer)

• Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly’s settlement with an employee who accused him of sexual harassment required her lawyer to switch to O’Reilly’s side in the case and not represent any other O’Reilly accusers. A U.S. judge made public O’Reilly’s confidential settlement deals with three such accusers. (Bloomberg)

• The new managing partner of Morrison Foerster’s Washington office played a significant role defending the Affordable Care Act while at the DOJ in the Obama years, but Joseph R. Palmore said one of his most interesting cases involved government regulation of the raisin market. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Sidley Austin LLP failed to convince a federal judge to throw out a former shareholder’s claims that it tried to help two former directors of a Florida company duck liability for alleged self-dealing. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Lawyers and Law Firms

 Delaware law firm Morris James dodged liability for an injury that a paralegal sustained while playing in the firm’s after hours softball game. (BLB)

• Twenty years ago the 28 lawyers in Walmart’s legal department included only a few women, today the department is led by general counsel and executive VP, Karen Roberts, and has become a model for other companies looking to bring in more women and minorities. (Corporate Counsel)

• The Trump administration’s push for tougher quotas for immigration judges who rule on deportations is “converting the court into a deportation machine,” an official at an association of U..S. immigration lawyers said. (Bloomberg)

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

 • King & Spalding expanded its IP practice in northern California, hiring litigator James Brogan, a former chair of Cooley’s intellectual property practice who was at that firm for 17 years. Brogan rejoins IP litigator Thomas Friel Jr., who made the move to King & Spalding in February. (The Recorder)

 

Legal Market

• After revelations that Sinclair Broadcast Group had its anchors across the country read a script about “biased” mainstream media, labor activists contend the company’s newscasters should be able to refuse to participate in reports they judge phony or slanted. A former federal labor board member said “good luck” with that. (Bloomberg Law)

 

Technology

•  Facebook Inc. said yesterday that data on most of its 2 billion users could have been accessed improperly, including as many as 87 million in the U.S. With CEO Mark Zuckerberg due to testify before Congress next week, the company faces a growing legal and regulatory storm(Bloomberg)

• The new CLOUD Act may resolve questions of how U.S. companies should respond to U.S. law enforcement orders to produce consumer or business data no matter where it is. But the law may not protect those companies from data privacy laws in other countries, attorneys said. (Bloomberg Law)

• Recent fatal crashes of an auto-piloted Uber car in Arizona and a semiautonomous Tesla in California raise questions about whether U.S. legal structures are ready to deal with the technology. (Los Angeles Times)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.