The National Law Review's Legal Industry Overview: July 22, 2019
The National Law Review’s editors like to highlight law firm changes, including new hires. Additionally, we like to recognize law firm awards and individual attorney achievements, as well as explore technology and software developments that make legal research and law firm management easier and more efficient.
Law Firm Additions, Promotions and Hires
Bracewell LLP announced they added two public finance partners, Bill Mahomes and E. Steve Bolden II, who have been practicing together for the past ten years. Bracewell Managing Partner, Gregory M. Bopp says, “Bill and Steve are exceptional public finance lawyers. They have a strong public finance practice in Dallas and across Texas that will deepen the capabilities of our nationally-recognized team.”
Mahomes has experience in public infrastructure projects and P3s, and has served on the board of directors of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the Texas Turnpike Authority. Bolden, along with his public finance work, focuses on bond, disclosure and underwriters’ counsel matters. He also practices in corporate and securities law; specifically, mergers and acquisitions.
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp announced that Alan M. Brunswick will join the firm as a partner in Los Angeles representing clients in labor relations matters, specifically in the media and entertainment industry. His experience includes wrongful termination, employment discrimination, wage and hour as well as ERISA disputes in union and non-union settings. Brunswick is a former Vice President and in-house counsel for the Association of Motion Picture & Television Producers.
Kevin Gaut, chairman of MSK, praises Brunswick’s reputation for creativity and intelligence, and he says, “Adding Alan to our team of sophisticated entertainment industry labor attorneys only strengthens MSK’s standing as a go-to firm for companies facing tough negotiations.”
All three attorneys counsel and represent global clients, particularly in the aerospace, automotive and manufacturing sectors.
Hankins has over twenty years of experience working with companies on a wide range of labor relations issues; including union jurisdictional disputes, successor employer claims, strikes, secondary boycotts and labor relations strategies during acquisitions and divestitures, plant openings, closings and consolidations. Additionally, Richard has argued cases in over 15 regions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in several U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.
Bolt counsels and represents management in unfair labor practice proceedings, collective bargaining, arbitrations, strikes, and secondary boycotts. Brennan handles litigation under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and related state and federal laws, as well as trade secrets and non-compete claims
Borden develops successful labor relations strategies, handles labor arbitrations, and negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of employers. Seth has testified before Congress, is frequently quoted on the labor law implications of evolving technologies, and authored the traditional labor law chapter of the first treatise on social media in the workplace. Additionally, Seth represents clients in equal employment opportunity, harassment, and wage-and-hour cases.
Ann Marie Painter, Chair of the Perkins Coie Labor & Employment practice calls the addition of the attorneys a “valuable resource.” She says, “When it comes to the labor and employment space, this group has a stellar and nationally recognized reputation as the go-to team for some of the world’s largest companies. They have successfully handled large-scale ‘bet-the-company’ labor cases, but can also nimbly aid employers of all sizes with their day-to-day labor issues.”
Additionally, Perkins Coie announced that Joydeep Dasmunshi has joined the Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) practice as a partner in the firm’s Chicago office. Dasmunshi advises private equity firms, public and private corporate clients, focusing on middle-market M&A as well as matters related to structuring and negotiating strategic and leveraged acquisitions and divestitures, executive compensation and incentive equity matters, recapitalizations and general compliance counseling. His transactional achievements include includes a $4.25 billion airline acquisition, a $1.75 billion sale of a global valuation, corporate finance, and governance-related advisor company to a private equity firm two years ago, and works with various middle-market portfolio companies in technology, media, financial services and healthcare.
Pallavi Banerjee, Ph.D. joins Womble Bond Dickinson as a Science Advisor in the firm’s Boston office. A former fellow with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Banerjee’s background in cell biology, cancer biology and immunology assists life sciences clients develop their patent portfolios. She has experience working with biotech companies and universities on IP due diligence and drafting and prosecution of patent applications with the USPTO. Her research on cellular and molecular mechanisms of diseases and how to identify therapeutic targets using in vitro and in vivo mechanisms have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cancer Research, Cancer Letters, and International Immunology.
Lawyer and Law Firm Recognition
John Allen, of Varnum, was recently appointed to the Ethics and Professionalism Standing Committee of the Tort Trial and Insurances Practice Section of the American Bar Association (ABA). Allen, who focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation, has served on this ABA several times throughout his career. Along with being certified as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he is also a certified arbitrator and mediator.
Labor and Employment Attorney Carmen Cole, with the law firm of Polsinelli, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Public Counsel. Public Counsel is a non-profit dedicated to providing legal services to individuals, families, veterans and immigrants who live below the poverty level and do not have access to legal representation. In order to address civil rights and systemic issues facing this population, the group works with volunteers from major law firms and corporations.
Cole, a Principal in Polsinelli’s Los Angeles, and San Francisco offices: “Public Counsel plays a critical role ensuring that individuals in underserved communities within the Los Angeles area have access to quality legal representation.” “I am honored and humbled to be a part of this mission. As someone from an environment where statistically it would have been more likely for me to have become a client of Public Counsel rather than a member of its Board of Directors, this appointment will provide an opportunity to pay it forward. This is a great way to give back to the Los Angeles community.”
Cole has a long list of community volunteer and leadership roles. She has been active with the California Minority Counsel Program; she has worked hard to make the legal industry more accessible to women and minorities. Cole has also contributed her time in raising awareness and funds for the African American Chamber of Commerce’s (GLAAC) Education Fund & Foundation program.
For the sixth year in a row, Davis Wright Tremaine was named one of the country's Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother magazine in conjunction with the ABA Journal. This award recognizing the firm’s success in retaining and recruiting women attorneys, the firm’s family-friendly policies and the resulting high number of women in leadership roles. Women comprise 27% of the equity partners at Davis Wright Tremaine. The magazine highlighted the firm’s Mentoring Circles program, which was recently revamped and now helps support over 100 women attorneys at all levels in the firm.
Labor and Employment law firm, Jackson Lewis was also one of the 60 firms recognized by Working Mother magazine as a “Best Law Firm for Women.” Firm Co-Chairs Kevin G. Lauri and William J. Anthony say they are pleased with the firm’s designation by the magazine, and they “consider it to be a direct result of the firm’s inclusive culture together with our commitment to fostering the promotion of women throughout every level of the firm.”
Meredith Borgas, editor-in-chief of Working Mother, says she hopes the magazine’s recognition highlights best practices for law firms and encourages others in the industry to follow suit. She says, “It’s heartening to see the progress women lawyers are making at firms committed to fully utilizing these attorneys’ abilities. The war for talent is increasing incentives for law firms to invest in retaining women lawyers, which is why we’re seeing more women’s initiatives and parental-support groups.”
Dan Wolf, an Associate with Gilbert LLP, was recently honored with the Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award by the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Wolf has an outstanding record in pro bono achievement, having worked with clients referred from Legal Aid and leading pro bono efforts at the firm; which he has done since he joined Gilbert in 2012. Wolf has worked with pro bono clients on consumer law matters, rental housing, and public benefits, and he has recruited colleagues to take on these matters as well. Scott Gilbert, the founder and Chairman of Gilbert LLP, says Wolf “sets an example for the firm. We are both very proud and quite fortunate to have Dan as a colleague.”
New Legal Industry Tech & Tools
Thomson Reuters recently announced Westlaw Edge Quick Check, designed to harness AI to streamline and supercharge legal research. Quick Check allows Westlaw users to go over documents with citations to ensure everything is covered and no major points are missed. When a user loads a document into Quick Check, it identifies the relevant legal issues, offering recommendations for matters not cited. Users can filter results based on previous reviews, plus additional indicators are assigned based on established categories. QuickCheck is integrated with KeyCite to catch cases that are bad law, to ensure the results are accurate. Additionally, QuickCheck can be used to identify weakness in briefs, highlighting invalid citations and can find citations that were passed over but are relevant.
Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president of Research & Development at Thomson Reuters:
We've built Westlaw Edge Quick Check to be very sophisticated in terms of selecting which language and citations to extract from motions and briefs, and it executes several search strategies, sifts through primary and secondary law results, follows citation networks, and finds and filters by Key Numbers, courts and other data attributes. In doing so, it often considers hundreds of thousands of possibilities - far more than any researcher could go through, even if he or she had all day to do it - yet it returns a concise report of relevant material that might have been missed in a traditional research process.
Wilson Allen, a software and technology services provider for professional services law firms, and ClearlyRated, a client satisfaction, service quality research provider, have teamed up to help law firms take client experience data creating actionable insights which highlight business development opportunities. Norm Mullock, Vice President of Strategy at Wilson Allen, “After experiencing the ClearlyRated client survey program first-hand, it became clear that real-time insight into client experience would be a pivotal improvement for the firms that we work with.”
This partnership will allow law firms to maximize the data available in both client feedback and business analytics to provide the tools needed for data-driven decision making. The companies have launched an API Integration that pairs the ClearlyRated Client’s Service program with business intelligence tools in order to ensure those data points are available for business planning. Eric Gregg, ClearlyRated’s CEO, "The client experience is important to all professional services businesses, but it is also a prime opportunity for law firms to differentiate from the competition. Our partnership with Wilson Allen will ensure that the law firms we serve have access to measurable insight on the client experience in a way that supplements business intelligence and informs strategies for growth.”
LawLytics and PracticePanther have partnered to provide customers of both firms with native integration between their law firm’s web leads and client forms with their PracticePanther account. Practice Panther is cloud-based and houses firm leads and contacts, as well as providing case management, time management, and client billing.