Legal Industry News for October 1, 2019: Law Firm Mergers, New Additions and the Best Paralegal Programs
With fall officially upon us, the legal industry continues to whirl with change, innovation and movement. Read on to learn about some of the developments from the past two weeks, covering law school changes, law firm updates and legal technology developments.
Law Firm Moves: Mergers, Practice Group Additions and New Hires
Mr. Povich says: “As I return to the private practice of law, I wanted to join a firm that offered challenging work in both the public and private sectors as well as an inclusive and supportive culture that prioritizes practicing law with the highest professional standards.”
As Chief Legal Counsel, Povich oversaw the confirmation process for 130 judges across the commonwealth, including 4 on the Supreme Judicial Court. Additionally, he counseled on the regulation of new industries, such as gig economy staples like Uber, short term rentals like Airbnb and the legal marijuana industry. Povich also contributed to the 2018 criminal justice reform bill and the 2015 reforms for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). David Mackey, Managing Partner at Anderson & Kreiger says, “Lon will bring to the firm experience with the wide variety of issues he dealt with in the Baker administration as well as a diverse set of experiences in the private sector and as a federal prosecutor. We know that he will be an excellent colleague and he will further strengthen our ability to serve our clients.”
James V. Drew has joined Katten in the firm's New York office as a partner in its Insolvency and Restructuring practice. Drew has fifteen years of experience advising clients across a variety of industries on insolvency matters. He has particular experience in “conflicts counsel” or as an independent director role on investigations or litigations of claims and causes of actions on behalf of debtors, secured and unsecured creditors and indenture trustees. Additionally, he has experience handling matters as lead counsel for debtors, lenders and other creditors, equity holders, liquidators and defendants in avoidance actions or bankruptcy litigation.
Steven J. Reisman, the head Katten’s New York Insolvency and Restructuring practice, says, "Jim is a highly skilled attorney who is respected by his clients for his practical advice and business-minded approach to addressing their most pressing insolvency and restructuring issues.”
DLA Piper attorneys Claire Hall (Los Angeles), Richard Hans (New York), Marc Horwitz (Chicago) and Isabelle Ord (Los Angeles) are leading the firm’s new LIBOR Transition practice, assisting companies with impact assessment and advising on benchmark reform implementation across multiple jurisdictions and products. This transition from interbank offered rates to alternative reference rates poses challenges to companies that are operational, legal, related to taxes, accounting and compliance. DLA will assist companies with these challenges by monitoring developments across industry working groups and addressing benchmark transition across jurisdictions like ISDA, SFIG/SFA, LSTA, SIFMA and the ARRC.
Hans points out that DLA Piper, with its track record of advising some of the largest financial services companies and institutions on operations and strategic planning, is well suited to assist with the LIBOR transition. He says, "Our LIBOR transition team will be able to assist clients in creating and implementing strategic and customized action plans that lay out the steps needed to implement benchmark transition."
Karen Mangasarian has joined Haley Guiliano, a boutique IP law firm as a Partner. She will join the firm in their New York office, but she was attracted to the firm’s presence in not only New York, but also Silicon Valley and London. She says: “I was attracted by Haley Guiliano’s entrepreneurial spirits and business value-based approach to intellectual property, as well as its commitment to diversity and the mentoring of junior lawyers and technical advisors.”
Mangasarian has over twenty years of experience in life sciences practice, including patent filing and prosecution, freedom to operate and landscape analyses, and contested proceedings in the USPTO and other patent offices. Mangasarian earned her JD from New York Law School while working as a post-doctoral fellow in microbiology at the New York University Medical Center. She has also studied a pharmacology, earning a PhD, and a BS Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.
Jim Haley, head of the Life Sciences practice at Haley Guiliano, says "Karen is a marvelous addition to our firm and to our Life Sciences practice."
Full-service business law firm based in Portland, Oregon, Ater Wynne will merge practice into Buchalter, bolstering the latter’s presence in the Pacific Northwest. Ater Wynne’s 22 attorneys will join Buchalter on in October, bringing Buchalter to roughly 300 attorneys in nine locations across the country, and adding Buchalter’s second office in the Pacific Northwest in under three years.
Todd A. Mitchell, Ater Wynne’s Managing Partner will become Managing Shareholder of the Portland office and a member of Buchalter’s Board of Directors. Mitchell calls the move “an opportunity to provide stronger counsel to our clients in Portland and the surrounding region,” and he says the two groups have a strong cultural fit.
Adam J. Bass, President and CEO of Buchalter, has overseen more than 130 attorneys added to the firm and has opened offices in California and in Washington State. He calls the move a chance to “stay ahead of the curve. This move is about looking to the future and the right cultural and business fit.”
Law Firm Awards, Recognitions and Achievements
Zuckerman Law principal Eric Bachman was named to the prestigious “Top Lawyers in America” list for 2020 by Best Lawyers in the field of Labor and Employment. Lawyers are nominated for this achievement, and then evaluated by their peers based on professional expertise. Bachman was included in the 2020 Edition of Washington D.C.’s Best Lawyers.
Bachman is the Chair of the discrimination and retaliation practices at Zuckerman Law, and prior to his work with Zuckerman he served in senior roles at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel where he worked on class actions and whistleblower protection act settlements.
Preeminent workplace law firm Jackson Lewis once again was listed on the BTI Litigation Outlook 2020 report, earning “Powerhouse” rankings in Complex Employment Litigation and the Employment Litigation categories. These rankings are based on in-depth interviews with legal decision-makers, involving data from more than 9,000 corporate counsel client interviews.
Jackson Lewis is on track to have a record number of trial victories in 2019, and this is in part due to the firm’s forward-thinking approach through innovative programs like its Advanced Trial Techniques Academy, which enhances the already strong litigation strength of the firm’s attorneys.
Firm Co-Chairs Kevin G. Lauri and William J. Anthony: “Jackson Lewis remains committed to staying abreast of national litigation trends faced by employers and delivering the best possible results, by both providing exceptional client service and retaining a deep bench of top-notch litigators.”
BTI reaches out to legal decision-makers at large organizations, with more than $1 billion in revenue, targeting decision-makers in the industries that have the largest legal spend, consulting Chief Legal Officers, Chief Legal Operating Officers and other executives with a say in the selection of outside counsel. BTI’s 2019 report indicates an expectation of growth in litigation for the third year in a row. More information about the BTI Litigation Outlook 2020 report can be found here.
The law firm of Sills Cummis & Gross received top ranking as one of the “highly recommended” New Jersey litigation firms in the 2020 edition of Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys. This is the third year in a row Sills Cummis & Gross received this honor. Focusing solely on litigation in the United States, this guide is published by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. Firms recognized are chosen based on interviews with the country’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel. Thirteen members of Sills Cummins & Gross were also included.
MoginRubin LLP is representing a class of non-bank ATM operators across the United States arguing that Visa, Mastercard and its affiliated banks conspired to fix ATM fees, requiring anticompetitive overcharges for network processing fees, resulting in higher ATM surcharges and foreign transaction fees when customers use ATM’s not associated with their bank.
The proposed class represents 60% of the U.S. ATM market and includes the following: ATMs of the South, Inc., Business Resource Group, Inc., Just ATMs USA, Inc., Wash Water Solutions, Inc., ATM Bankcard Services, Inc., Selman Telecommunications Investment Group, LLC, Scot Gardner d/b/a SJI, Turnkey ATM Solutions, LLC, Trinity Holdings Ltd, Inc., and T&T Communications, Inc. and Randal N. Bro d/b/a T&B Investments. Roughly five years ago Visa and Mastercard attempted to have the case dismissed, even taking the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, the Supreme Court found that the companies had changed their argument after the court granted certiorari and dismissed the writ as “improvidently granted.”
Jonathan Rubin of MoginRubin LLP calls the rules governing the fees “absurd” designed to punish consumers who choose less expensive networks or the defendant’s competitor’s networks. He says, “The independent ATM operators and regional networks are providing a necessary service that banks are unwilling to provide or to invest in, but Visa and Mastercard are using their market power to impose anti-competitive fees and bleed the operators and consumers for their own profit,” he added. “Mastercard and Visa have no business telling independent ATM operators what to charge.”
Duane Morris LLP Trial partner Dominica C. Anderson has been elected President and Board Chair of Professional Business Women of California, or PBWC, effective September 1, 2019. Anderson is managing partner of Duane Morris’ Las Vegas office and practices in both the firm’s Las Vegas and San Francisco offices. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and the governing Partners Board. She serves as vice-chair of the Duane Morris Women’s Impact Network for Success Steering Committee, which dovetails nicely with her work with the PBWC, a non-profit dedicated to women’s professional and personal growth.
Legal Industry News, Law School Updates
Leading legal publisher Fastcase announced today the acquisition of NextChapter, the cloud-based bankruptcy software for attorneys and paralegals.
Bankruptcy Paralegal Janine Sickmeyer used her expertise in preparing bankruptcy cases to create NextChapter, teaching herself to code and building the application from the ground up, launching in 2016. The service became known as “the turbo tax for bankruptcy filings” and its success was built on the efficiency created by understanding the best workflows and practices into an easy to use, full-circle solution used by several thousand law firms across every district in the U.S. Upon Fastcase’s acquisition of NextChapter, Sickmeyer will become Managing Director and Founder of NextChapter and Director of Practice Workflow at Fastcase. She calls the acquisition “a dream come true” and she voices her admiration for Fastcase leadership. She says, “it’s invigorating to collaborate and continue to build NextChapter’s company and products alongside them. Fastcase and NextChapter share the same core beliefs on customer-focused products. I know this opportunity will allow us to continue serving our mission."
Students in the UCI Law Graduate Tax Program will learn on the program already used by in-house tax departments--Alteryx Designer, and will learn how to use the data analytics platform to generate data-based legal tax advice, earning a certification for successful completion. This practicum is the first time Alteryx will work with a law school, and the group will provide software licenses to students who participate in the program. Omni Marian, Professor of Law and the Academic Director of the UCI Graduate Tax Program, says the program is a way to prepare students for the way practicing tax law will be in the future. He says, “Alteryx for Good’s generosity allows us to help our students to become future leaders of the legal tax profession.”
Bachelor's Degree Center which provides a free guide to bachelor degree programs across all disciplines, recently released four guides to the best Paralegal bachelor degree programs in the United States, including the 25 Best for 2020, the 15 Best Online Paralegal Programs, the 10 Fastest Online Paralegal Programs, and the 10 Most Affordable Paralegal Bachelor’s Programs.
The top 3 Best Paralegal Bachelor’s Programs for 2020 are:
Montclair State University
The Top 3 Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs for 2020 are:
University of Massachusetts Lowell
The Top 3 Most Affordable Paralegal Bachelor’s Programs for 2020 are:
Charter Oak State College
The guide points out that while law schools have been graduating new attorneys facing an uphill battle in the legal marketplace, paralegals are still very much in demand. A standard entry into the profession is a two-year associate degree, however, many paralegals combine work with further study, and a bachelor’s degree in legal studies can be the key to moving ahead in the profession. Whether an online program or a traditional program, this guide provides important information so students—non-traditional or otherwise, can make the best choice for their situation.
That's it for now. We'll be back in a few weeks with more updates on the legal industry.