Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg
Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg

Wake Up Call: Yahoo Has a New Top Lawyer

• Yahoo Inc. has a new top lawyer, Arthur Chong, a former general counsel at Broadcom Corp. who has worked as Yahoo’s outside legal adviser and previously worked for law firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. The announcement in a regulatory filing Monday came about two weeks after Ronald Bell left as general counsel, in a bloodletting linked to the tech giant’s huge data breaches. The company also named leaders of  “Altaba,” the investment firm that will remain once Verizon completes its acquisition of Yahoo’s main internet operations. (Financial Times)

• As Toshiba Corp. mulls selling a majority stake in its troubled Westinghouse nuclear unit, Westinghouse has reportedly hired bankruptcy attorneys from Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, as it moves to put together a legal team. (Bloomberg)

• Burford Capital Ltd. looks set for a $50 million payday from a bankruptcy judgment stake it acquired when it bought rival funder Gerchen Keller Capital LLC last December. If the ruling stands, Burford would be the first litigation funder to reap such a profit. That apparent success could inspire other bankruptcy trustees to make similar deals, a lawyer said. (Am Law Daily)

• California’s Department of Motor Vehicles proposed revisions to existing state regulations that, if approved, could soon allow driverless cars on the state’s roads and in the process restore the state’s recently dented reputation as a top spot for testing autonomous vehicles. (Car and Driver)

• Volkswagen AG contends that a key plaintiffs attorney in the diesel emissions litigation, Steve Berman of Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, is tallying his billable hours twice. (The Recorder)

 

 

Law Firms and Legal Market

• In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire 46 Obama administration attorneys, the question percolating among top New York white collar defense lawyers is: Where is Preet Bharara, now the ex-U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, headed? (BLB)

• Holland & Knight associate Andrew Choi isn’t the first Big Law attorney to play music outside of the office. But he might be the first one to play in a showcase at South by Southwest, the annual music festival in Austin, Texas. (BLB)

• Viacom said it’s promoting deputy general counsel Christa D’Alimonte to be its next GC, executive vice president, and secretary. D’Alimonte, who replaces the company’s longtime top lawyer Michael Fricklas, joined the company in 2012 from Shearman & Sterling, where she was deputy practice group leader. (BLB)

• DLA Piper saw mixed results in 2016, with the post-Brexit currency plunge hitting revenue, even as profits rose on the strength of cost cutting, productivity gains and a focus on higher-value work. The firm’s revenue fell 2.9 percent, compared with 2015, to $2.47 billion, while profits per equity partner rose 5.4 percent to $1.655 million. (Am Law Daily)

• Gowling WLG said it will consider two new mergers by 2020 as part of a strategy to widen the firm’s footprint in Europe. (The Lawyer)

• U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to trigger Brexit in the last week of March after getting a green light from Parliament to begin two years of talks with the European Union. (Bloomberg)

• The U.K. government added Linklaters and PwC to its roster of go-to law firms, while dropping more than 30 law firms from the list. (The Lawyer)

• Hong Kong’s securities regulator is investigating whether realtors selling overseas properties are illegally marketing investment plans, according to a lawmaker helping investors who lost money on such deals. (Bloomberg)

 

 

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• Robert Lighthizer, the Skadden partner whom Trump nominated to be his chief trade negotiator, says legal work he did for industry groups associated with the Brazilian and Chinese governments shouldn’t block his confirmation by the Senate. (Bloomberg)

• The Justice Department asked for more time to find evidence to back President Donald Trump’s accusation that his predecessor Barack Obama tapped his phones, as Trump’s press secretary backpedaled on his boss’s claim. (Bloomberg)

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled that employers aren’t barred from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation, in a setback for gay rights advocates. (Associated Press)

• Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly used an email alias, “Wayne Tracker,” to discuss risks posed by climate change while he was Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chief executive, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company. (Bloomberg)

• JPMorgan Chase & Co. stuffed two investment accounts with risky mortgage bonds almost a decade ago as the housing market started to crumble, causing two insurers to lose more than $1 billion, lawyers for the two insurance companies told a New York state judge. (Bloomberg)

• A Phil Mickelson fan won’t be on a jury at a Las Vegas gambler’s insider-trading trial in Manhattan after a judge concluded she looked too eager to participate when the famous golfer’s name was mentioned. The woman’s dismissal during jury selection is the clearest indication yet that Mickelson, a three-time Masters tournament winner, may be called to testify in the trial of Billy Walters. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Life

• Pierce Sergenian, an L.A.-based litigation shop that two former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan lawyers launched in January has hired two litigators, getting Joseph Ashby from Quinn and Darin Beffa from Kirkland & Ellis. (The Recorder)

• Holland & Knight said it hired Erez Tucner as a New York City tax partner in the firm’s corporate, M&A and securities practice group. Tucner, who advises on international, corporate and personal tax matters, was a partner with Chadbourne & Parke LLP. (HKlaw.com)

• Pushed out by the Trump administration, Chicago federal attorney Zachary Fardon resigned Monday, closing a three-and-half-year tenure in which he managed the hush-money prosecution of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and helped aim federal scrutiny at local police, among other things. (Associated Press)

 

 

Technology

• Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that deleting any tweets by Donald Trump could violate the Presidential Records Act. Audio. (Bloomberg Radio)

• Hogan Lovells recently took the unusual step of publishing documents from its work on behalf of Hawaii’s court challenge to Trump’s latest travel ban. Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal told Legaltech News the firm considers protecting the public a “critical duty,” and has created a web site for allowing people to read all relevant filings from the case. (Legaltech News)

• Bitcoin has seen a recent price surge, but the infrastructure underpinning the world’s most popular virtual currency is teetering amidst bitter infighting among the global bitcoin community. (Bloomberg)

• Intel Corp. will acquire Mobileye NV for about $15 billion, paying one of the highest takeover premiums this century to play catch-up in the market for technology that helps cars drive themselves. (Bloomberg)

• Google and Levi’s recently unveiled an interactive commuter jacket that allows the wearer to send commands to a smart phone. (TechRepublic)

 

Legal Education

• Researchers from Harvard Law School and Vermont Law School released a “blueprint” from a collaborative project that argues that the United States needs a national food strategy. (VT Digger)

 

Miscellaneous

• Texas is set to execute a man who has been on the state’s death row for nearly 26 years. (Texas Tribune)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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