Winston & Strawn Expands in Houston: Business of Law
By Elizabeth Amon - Dec 6, 2013 12:00 AM ET
Two oil and natural-gas partners joined Winston & Strawn LLP’s energy practice group in Houston.
The arrival of Denmon Sigler, most recently with Baker Botts LLP, and Craig S. Vogelsang, with Norton Rose Fulbright, follows the firm’s hiring in October of four partners from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP who joined the litigation and bankruptcy practices.
“The addition of Denmon and Craig significantly advances our commitment to offering the best and most comprehensive legal services to our oil and gas industry clients,” John Keville, the Houston office’s managing partner, said in a statement.
Sigler and Vogelsang concentrate their practice on U.S. and international energy and resource acquisitions and sales, joint ventures and projects. Vogelsang advises on oil and gas, real property and related business transactions.
“The Winston & Strawn Houston office corporate transactional practice began with the addition of Chris Ferazzi and me in January of this year, and the firm has pursued and been able to add a number of transactional lawyers during this past year, all of whom have an energy focus,” Dick Wynne, a partner in the Houston office, said in the statement.
Winston & Strawn has lawyers at 17 offices in North America, Asia and Europe.
USPTO Acting Director Rea Returns to Crowell & Moring
Crowell & Moring LLP said Teresa Stanek Rea, former acting director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and ex-acting undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property, returned to Crowell & Moring as a partner in the intellectual-property group.
She also joins as a director with C&M International Ltd., the international trade and investment-consulting firm affiliated with Crowell & Moring.
Rea will work with clients on global IP policies and strategies, patent enforcement and post-grant administrative proceedings, trade secrets policy and enforcement, and digital-and Internet-related copyright issues, the firm said.
Rea led the USPTO through the implementation of the America Invents Act. She was also involved in writing regulations created by the law.
“With her knowledge of international markets, especially in the Asia Pacific region, and her hands-on industry and government experience, Terry is in a unique position to advise clients on complex intellectual property issues,” Mark Supko, chairman of Crowell & Moring’s intellectual-property group, said in a statement.
Crowell & Moring has more than 500 lawyers at offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Anchorage, London and Brussels.
Willkie Farr Hires Private-Equity Lawyer Kirk Radke
Kirk A. Radke, formerly at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s private-equity practice in New York.
He has experience handling matters involving private and public offerings of debt and equity securities, credit facilities and venture capital. Radke represented WideOpenWest in its purchase of Knology Inc.
“The addition of Kirk caps off a stellar year for our private-equity practice,” Gordon Caplan, chairman of the group, said in a statement.
Willkie actively represents more than 75 U.S. and international private equity sponsors and more than 200 portfolio companies and management teams, the firm said.
Transactions handled by Willkie in 2013 include representing Hudson’s Bay Co. in its $2.9 billion acquisition of Saks Inc., Insight Venture Partners in the closing of its $2.57 billion private-equity fund, and Pearl Therapeutics Inc. in its $1.15 billion sale to AstraZeneca Plc.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia Bleich Rejoins Munger Tolles
Jeffrey L. Bleich, a former U.S. ambassador to Australia, is rejoining Munger Tolles & Olson LLP as a partner in the San Francisco office.
Bleich will focus on international and domestic litigation and counseling, with a focus on privacy and data security, investigations, trade and cross-border disputes, the firm said. He will also lead the firm’s efforts in the international arena, with an emphasis on Asia.
As ambassador, Bleich worked to expand the alliance between the U.S. and Australia by promoting security, advancing free trade, promoting human rights and expanding collaboration in education, space, energy and technology, the firm said.
Immediately before his nomination for ambassador in 2009, Bleich was special counsel to President Barack Obama in the White House.
“Jeff is a leadership lawyer whose strategic vision will add value for our clients and whose community commitment will continue to advance our state and country,” Ronald L. Olson, Munger Tolles senior partner, said in a statement. “We are delighted to welcome him home and back to our firm.”
Bleich joined Munger Tolles in 1992 and became a partner three years later. As a litigator, he represented such clients as Hewlett-Packard Co., Applied Materials Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc.
Munger Tolles has 185 lawyers at offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Global Head of Disputes at King & Wood Joins Quinn Emanuel
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP said Beau Deleuil, the global head of dispute resolution for King & Wood Mallesons, will join the firm as a partner in the Sydney office.
Beau specializes in commercial litigation, with a focus on insolvency, banking, professional indemnity and competition law, including pricing, access and regulatory matters, the firm said.
“Since opening, we have met with many of Australia’s leading companies and their general counsel,” Michelle Fox, co-managing partner for the Sydney office, said in a statement. “Beau’s name constantly came up as one of the most highly rated litigators in Australia.”
Quinn Emanuel has more than 700 lawyers at offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Washington, Chicago, Tokyo, London, Mannheim, Moscow, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Sydney, Munich and Paris.
Bankruptcy Attorney Geoghan Joins Cole Schotz in New York
Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard PA said Daniel F.X. Geoghan joined its bankruptcy and corporate restructuring department as a member in New York. He was previously with Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP.
Geoghan has represented debtors and creditors in Chapter 11 proceedings and out-of-court restructurings. His practice also includes representing liquidating trusts in preference and fraudulent conveyance actions, selling assets and objecting to claims, the firm said. His clients have included Chrysler LLC, Fletcher International Ltd. and Delphi Corp.
“Dan represents a strong and welcome addition to our bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice,” Michael Sirota, co-chairman of both the firm and the bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice, said in a statement.
Financial Institutions Boutiques Combine in Washington
Financial institutions boutique law firms Silver, Freedman& Taff LLP and Elias, Matz, Tiernan & Herrick LLP plan to merge Jan. 1, creating a firm called Silver, Freedman, Taff & Tiernan.
The combined firm will have acted as counsel to issuers and underwriters in more than 1,000 securities offerings raising more than $40 billion, according to a statement. Together, they will have acted as counsel for buyers and sellers in more than 800 mergers and acquisitions valued at a total of more than $50 billion, the firms said.
“With this combination, we have assembled under one roof the leading attorneys in our industry,” Bob Freedman, senior partner of Silver Freedman, said in a statement. “We are acutely aware of the needs of our bank and credit union clients, the regulatory environment they face and the strategic paths available to accomplish their goals.”
Silver Freeman has 15 lawyers, according to its website. Elias Matz has 11 lawyers, according to its website. Both were founded more than 40 years ago.
“Through the combining of our firms, we gain additional depth in not only our securities and regulatory practice, but also in our ability to help structure transactions with startup and private-equity firms, assist management in the establishment of employee benefit and compensation programs, develop and implement corporate defense planning and tactics, and provide real estate, litigation support and tax planning advisory services,” Ray Tiernan, managing partner of Elias, Matz, said in a statement.
Insider Trading Suspects’ Defense Stymied by U.K. Legal Aid Cuts
Four men charged with insider trading lost their trial lawyers because of cuts to legal aid in the U.K., days before they were scheduled to enter pleas, according to four people with knowledge of the case.
The men, who include former Deutsche Bank AG managing director Martyn Dodgson, are among six defendants in the U.K.’s biggest insider-trading investigation, known as Operation Tabernula, who will appear in court in London today. The trial lawyers, known as barristers, withdrew because of cuts to government funding of legal cases that came into effect earlier this week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
The U.K. government overhauled legal aid as part of austerity measures to trim the deficit. Officials are trying to cut 350 million pounds ($570 million) from the annual budget for legal aid of about 2 billion pounds, according to the U.K. Ministry of Justice. The issue in the Tabernula case highlights the difficulties defendants with even less resources may face.
“The cuts to fees will lead to the destruction of the criminal justice system,” said Nigel Lithman, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association. “There will be no barristers either coming into the profession or prepared to continue doing criminal legal aid work. There will be no quality people representing the everyday person.”
The cuts to legal aid include a 30 percent reduction in fees for lawyers in high-cost cases, such as Tabernula, that are expected to run for a long period of time and require a large number of lawyers.
Grant Harrison, a former managing director at Altium Capital Ltd.; Iraj Parvizi, a former director at Aria Capital Ltd., Dodgson; and three other men are all scheduled to enter pleas today though that may get pushed back because of the lack of barristers, the people said.
Parvizi and one of the other men, Benjamin Anderson, have kept their trial lawyers because they’re able to pay them, according to the people. All six still have solicitors, lawyers who don’t usually argue before courts in the U.K.
One of the people, a lawyer for one of the defendants, said they’ve asked about 60 barristers to take the case on the reduced legal-aid budget, without success.
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Traders in FX Probe Said to Face FCA Taping of Lawyer Interviews
Banks under investigation for currency rate-rigging were told to record all questioning of employees and hand them over to investigators, as the U.K. markets regulator seeks to prevent interference with the probe, according to four people with knowledge of the case.
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority sent letters to the banks about six weeks ago, outlining how they should conduct internal interviews, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
It’s a stricter approach than the FCA took previously. The regulator allowed finance firms targeted in global investigations like the one into manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, to conduct reviews mostly independently. Some of the banks’ lawyers say it is a breach of attorney-client privilege, three of the people said.
“A regulator should not be dictating how companies conduct their own internal investigations, even if there is an expectation that the results of the internal investigation may be turned over to regulators or law enforcement at some point,” said Jacob S. Frenkel, a U.S.-based lawyer and former federal prosecutor.
The FCA opened a formal probe of currency-rate trading in October amid allegations the $5.3 trillion-a-day market was manipulated. The U.S. and Switzerland have also opened investigations and the European Union is considering one.
At least 12 traders have been suspended because of the currency probe and about 11 banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc (BARC), have said they’ve been contacted by regulators. Banks including Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) have announced their own internal reviews.
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