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Wake Up Call: Big U.K. Firms Slash Salaries for New Associates

June 23, 2020, 12:45 PM

In today’s column, a new ABA report finds a huge attrition rate for minority female lawyers, but the researchers said they had a hard time finding people to survey; Munger Tolles hired a former DC federal prosecutor who was on the team that won a conviction of President Trump’s friend Roger Stone; a Katten Muchen Rosen insolvency & restructuring partner jumped in-house to a Boston-based investment company; Latham & Watkins poached a restructuring partner from Willkie in Paris; Brown University student athletes hired Tom Brady’s Big Law attorney in Deflategate to help them force the school to reinstate their sports.

  • Leading off, London elite firm Clifford Chance cut salaries 5.5% for its new junior associates in the latest Covid-19 cost cutting move by the firm, which froze salaries in April. Big London-based firms usually have a bidding war this time of year for what they call “newly qualified"associates, or NQs, similar to U.S. firms’ year-end announcements of junior lawyer bonuses. But as the pandemic causes firms to try to hold on to their cash, Clifford Chance; Allen & Overy; and Slaughters and May so far have moved to reverse last year’s increases in the salaries they offer to NQ associates, reports say. (Law.com International) (The Lawyer)

  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS said it’s reopening resolution centers in Los Angeles, Century City, Seattle, and two Northern California locations, as Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders are lifted. With the Chicago and San Francisco office reopenings it announced last week, that brings to 19 the number of offices JAMS has reopened for in-person hearings since May, it said. (JAMSadr.com)

  • Home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc, whose sales have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and shutdown, got advice from Proskauer Rose for $850 million in new financing. (TheStreet.com) (Proskauer.com)

  • Legaltech News published a slideshow round-up of the various approaches that states are taking to their bar exams during the pandemic. (Legaltech News)

The Legal Profession Reacts to George Floyd Protests, Systemic Racism

  • An American Bar Association survey found that 70% of minority female lawyers responding had either left or are considering leaving the legal profession, discouraged by firms that don’t adequately recognize or reward their contributions. The report said the researchers couldn’t find enough women of color in longtime practice to be able to do a statistically “significant” analysis. It notes only 2% of equity partners at large law firms are women of color, a statistic that hasn’t changed for 20 years. (ABA Journal)

  • After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked protests around the world, Dorsey & Whitney recently ended its 40 years of cooperation with the Minneapolis city attorney’s office on misdemeanor prosecutions. Now some critics are calling for other firms to end similar arrangements with cities, citing their disproportionate impact on people of color. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A lawsuit filed by Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Lambda Legal argues that a rule revision proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would allow health care insurers and providers to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The suit notes the HHS published the rule four days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that federal anti-discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ workers. (Above the Law) (Steptoe.com)

  • A malpractice suit accuses two Houston-based Littler Mendelson lawyers of making a discovery error that proved expensive for their oil and gas industry client. (Texas Lawyer)

  • A lawyer representing a black former associate suing Davis Polk & Wardwell for alleged race discrimination and retaliation asked the federal judge to let him withdraw as counsel, citing nonpayment of fees and disagreements over strategy. (BLAW)

  • Florida-based Shutts & Bowen is getting sued by its ex-chief operating officer, who alleges the firm didn’t pay him his annual bonus of about $200,000 when he left for rival firm Carlton Fields. (Daily Business Review)

  • A Winston & Strawn lawyer who represented NFL quarterback Tom Brady in the Deflategate case was hired by Brown University students suing to get their sports teams reinstated. (Yahoo! Sports) (BrownDailyHerald.com)

  • Two Virginia attorneys pleaded guilty to their roles in a $200 million scheme to extort an unidentified chemical company that made a chemical used in Monsanto Co.'s Roundup weed killer, which has been hit by billions of dollars of verdicts for allegedly causing cancer. (BLAW)

Laterals, Moves

  • Munger, Tolles & Olson hired veteran Washington federal prosecutor Jonathan Kravis as a partner in Washington. Kravis was on a team that won a conviction of longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Kravis was among four federal prosecutors who in February quit in protest after the Justice Department cut by more than half their recommended prison sentence for Stone. (MTO.com)

  • Paul Hastings’ entertainment and media practice in Los Angeles got longtime O’Melveny & Myers entertainment litigator James “Bo” Pearl as a partner in Century City, California. Pearl represented pop music star Kesha in her suit against her former producer. (PaulHastings.com)

  • Management-side worklaw firm Fisher Phillips added litigator and former U.S. Air Force captain Edward Hopkins as a partner in Denver. He previously ran his own firm and focuses on data security and workplace privacy. (FisherPhillips.com)

  • Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle added China veteran Frank J. Marinaro as a partner in New York. He was most recently at Warburg Pincus as Beijing-based managing director and general counsel for China and Southeast Asia. He’s been a Loeb & Loeb partner in Beijing; Sherman & Sterling associate in New York and Toronto; and in-house at Merrill Lynch. (Curtis.com)

  • Latham & Watkins poached Willkie Farr & Gallagher lawyer Alexandra Bigot as a partner on its restructuring team and special situation team. According to her LinkedIn, she’d spent over 25 years at Willkie, with a nearly four year pause as investment director at Lazard Freres. (Lw.com)

In-house

  • Gordon Brothers, a Boston-based advisory, restructuring, and investment firm, said it hired Katten Muchen Rosen insolvency & restructuring partner Cindi Giglio as an associate general counsel with primary responsibility for retail and commercial & industrial transactions in North America. (Globenewswire.com)

  • As Wells Fargo & Co. works to put its scandals in the past, the banking giant hired a veteran financial industry in-house leader as a top policy adviser to work with its new general counsel, Ellen Patterson. Michael Lipsitz joins from Santander Holdings USA, where he was a senior executive vice president and chief legal officer. (BLAW)

  • Specialty chemical manufacturer Ingevity Corp., in a Covid-19 cost-cut, said its first-ever top lawyer, Kathy Pryor Burgeson, will take early retirement and be replaced on an interim basis by current deputy general counsel Ryan Fisher. (BLAW)

Technology

  • Law firms’ switch to remote work during the Covid-19 shutdown has allowed associates to prove they can work productively from home. (Legaltech News)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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