Top Legal Industry News November 2021: Law Firm Pro Bono, Innovation & Hiring
Happy November! Read on for the latest updates in law firm moves, pro bono and awards:
Law Firm Professionals on the Move
Beveridge and Diamond welcomed Alyse Constantinide to their Environmental Crimes Defense and Internal Investigations practice in Washington, DC. Ms. Constantinide is a former Deputy Chief at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and she serves as counsel on high-stakes compliance and enforcement matters, as well as white collar litigation and internal investigations.
“We are delighted that Alyse chose B&D for the next phase of her already impressive career and to help expand our significant capabilities in the area of environmental crimes defense. Alyse joins a distinguished group of former senior U.S. and state government officials who now call B&D home,” said Kathy Szmuszkovicz, Beveridge and Diamond’s Managing Principal.
Joseph Rillota joined Miller & Chevalier Chartered as a Member of the firm in their Litigation practice. Mr. Rillota was a former trial attorney at the Tax Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as an investigator for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and represented clients in civil litigation at the U.S. Tax Court in a variety of tax-related matters.
“Miller & Chevalier is well-known for providing unmatched counsel based on its members' distinct combination of federal government and private sector experience, and I look forward to guiding clients through the most complex legal issues. I am excited to be an immediate contributor to the firm's dedication to collaboration and exemplary client service,” said Mr. Rillota.
"Joe is a highly respected practitioner, whose exemplary reputation in both civil and criminal litigation make him a terrific addition to our team. His deep knowledge extends to several of the firms' core practices, including tax, white collar, and international, and he will greatly benefit our clients and colleagues,” said Kathryn Cameron Atkinson, Chair of Miller & Chevalier.
Foley and Lardner LLP promoted Christopher McKenna to serve as Managing Partner of its Boston office, and Anne Sekel as Managing Partner of its New York office. Both assumed their roles November 1, 2021. Mr. McKenna practices in the areas of intellectual property and serves as counsel to technology companies to help protect their assets. Ms. Sekel represents clients in all phases of labor and employment-related matters, and she also serves as the Litigation Chair of Foley’s New York office.
“On behalf of the firm, we are delighted that Chris and Anne have accepted the roles as office managing partners. Chris has been at Foley for 11 years and has successfully demonstrated his leadership ability in various roles throughout his career here. Anne started with Foley as an associate 15 years ago and has stood out as an exceptional leader both at the firm and in the community. I am confident that both Chris and Anne will serve the firm well in their new roles. We are also extremely grateful to Susan and Peter for their years of dedication and commitment to serving the firm,” said Jay Rothman, Foley Chairman and CEO.
“I’m honored to take on this new leadership role as office managing partner and build on the solid and successful foundation that Susan, my partners, and associates have laid to strengthen Foley’s national platform in Boston. I look forward to further formulating and implementing the firm’s strategy to expand Foley’s presence in the market and best serve clients in the city’s prospering industries and businesses, as well as continuing our longstanding tradition of giving back to our community,” said Mr. McKenna.
“The talent we have in New York is remarkable. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead our office and continue our dedication to professional excellence and first-rate client service. As a steward of the office, I also want to preserve and foster the wonderful culture of both collaboration and individualism that Peter and our colleagues have carefully cultivated here. I’m eager to grow the New York office consistent with our firm’s strategic goals and to strengthen our connections with the firm’s local community, including through our partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” remarked Ms. Sekel.
Barnes and Thornburg announced that their new Managing Partner, Andrew J. Detherage will assume his role in November of 2022, taking over for Robert. T. Grand, who served as the firm’s managing partner for the last seven years. Mr. Detherage joined Barnes and Thornburg in 1990, and he currently serves as the Chair of the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee, and Co-Chair of the Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice. Mr. Detherage also aided in opening multiple firm locations for Barnes and Thornburg in recent years.
“I am humbled and honored to be elected as Barnes & Thornburg’s next firm managing partner and look forward to continuing to work closely with Bob, the Management Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee over the next year. Bob’s leadership has marked an extraordinary period of growth and prosperity for the firm, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue on that path while doubling down on our commitment to our lawyer-focused culture, DEI, and delivering exceptional client service,” said Mr. Detherage
“Having known and worked side by side with Andy during most of my career, I am confident that the future leadership of Barnes & Thornburg is in excellent hands. He cares immensely about this firm and all of its people, and he will be a passionate and thoughtful steward for the organization as we embark on the next chapter of our progress and development,” said Mr. Grand.
Law Firm Pro Bono & Legal Industry Recognition
Proskauer Rose LLP's William G. Fassuliotis recently received the 2021 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from the New York City Bar Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project. An associate in the firm's Litigation Department, Mr. Fassuliotis has an ongoing pro bono practice, where he provides legal services for disabled veterans.
“The claims process is supposed to be non-adversarial, but too often that concept is lost in the slow and difficult system disabled veterans have to endure to receive the benefits they are entitled to under the law,” writes Mr. Fassuliotis in a blog post. “Individuals who have sacrificed so much to serve all of us deserve a better system.”
Kurt M. Denk, Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center, said of the award, “We are extremely proud of this year’s recipients of our Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award. Our volunteers have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to providing life-changing legal assistance to our clients as they continue navigating the effects of the pandemic – a crisis that has taken a serious toll on those already experiencing socioeconomic and systemic barriers.”
The Greater Chicago Legal Clinic (GCLC) named King & Spalding its 2021 Charles J. O' Laughlin Memorial Award recipient at its A Justice Social event on November 4. The GCLC recognized King & Spalding for its “exceptional commitment to providing pro bono legal services to members of marginalized communities in Chicago and across Illinois.”
GCLC specifically recognized King & Spalding’s trial team’s victory in a case that has significance for transgender prisoners in Illinois. The firm represented a former Illinois inmate in a civil action seeking damages relating to his confinement.
GCLC also recognized King & Spalding for other pro bono matters representing immigrants, capital defendants, and individuals covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Best Lawyers in America® included 36 attorneys from Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP in its 2022 edition. David Cooke received “Lawyer of the Year” in San Francisco for Environmental Litigation, and Emily Feder is featured on the “Ones to Watch” list. The complete list of attorneys who received recognition can be found here.
Further, Allen Matkins received multiple Tier 1 Rankings in Best Lawyers. At the national level, the firm received awards in Real Estate Law and Environmental Law, Land Use & Zoning Law. At the metropolitan level, the firm received awards for Environmental Law and Real Estate Law in Los Angeles and Environmental Law in San Francisco, among many others.
Managing Intellectual Property named Zack Higbee and Dan O’Connor, senior associates at Alston & Bird LLP as “2021 Rising Stars”. Mr. Higbee and Mr. O’Connor are both members of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group and have much experience in patent prosecution, patent solicitation, portfolio management, and IP counseling.
This award is the latest in a series of recognitions for Alston & Bird’s Intellectual Property practice. Previously, Managing Intellectual Property ranked three of the firm’s IP practices at the national level and two at the state level, as well as naming 11 Alston & Bird partners as “IP Stars” in June of 2021.
Legal Industry Innovation
Thomson Reuters and Deloitte Tax announced an alliance to transform corporate tax and legal departments' workflow and digital processes. The partnership combines Thomson Rueters’ software and Deloitte’s consulting and technology to assist in-house legal teams with compliance and regulatory matters.
“Now more than ever, digitization is becoming crucial to the effectiveness of tax and legal departments. Through this alliance, we will deliver tailored technology implementation solutions to help position our clients to focus on what they do best — deliver enhanced value in their organizations, leveraging robust data for decision-making and cost control, backed by the unmatched global breadth and depth of Deloitte and Thomson Reuters,” said Steve Kimble, chairman and CEO, Deloitte Tax LLP.
The partnership is for firms needing to digitize their existing systems, especially in the current regulatory environment that requires digital transformation to be a top priority. A recent Deloitte survey found that only 20 percent of legal departments use tools to automate routine tasks.
“We’re thrilled to build on our longstanding relationship with Deloitte through this new alliance,” said Sunil Pandita, president of Corporates at Thomson Reuters. “Thomson Reuters and Deloitte have long worked together to support corporate tax departments as they face great transformation and change, from regulatory developments to digital disruption. We are eager to continue that relationship, as well as add a new focus around the corporate counsel. We continually see in-house tax and legal departments under immense pressure to always be fast and accurate, while combatting constrained resources and an ever-evolving business landscape. This alliance between Thomson Reuters and Deloitte will allow us an opportunity to help our customers solve their biggest pain points through content-driven technology solutions.”
Kennedys law firm announced its virtual work experience program hit 10,000 enrollments in just over a year. The virtual work experience launched last August with the goal of increasing access to legal education. This past year, Kennedys made 27 trainee lawyer offers to those who took the online course, out of the 34 offers it made in total.
Kennedys also launched a series of virtual insight events for prospective applicants, highlighting the firm's application and recruitment process.
A student who recently attended one of the insight events said “Having attended this event I feel more confident about applying to Kennedys as it strikes me as a firm that not only cares about its culture, community and people, but also excels in its global outreach. I’m looking forward to submitting my application for a training contract in 2023 soon.”
Kennedys hosted its first virtual event in August, with the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion and CSR Managers giving insight into the firm’s global Diversity & Inclusion and CSR initiatives.
Caroline Wilson, HR director at Kennedys, said: “The virtual programme really has levelled the playing field for all applicants for work experience and to be part of the Kennedys family. It has been a fantastic way to open up access to everyone and move on from the traditional on-site work experience. That so many of our new trainees have completed the programme is testament to its success. We are extremely proud that we have had more than 10,000 students enrol on the virtual work experience programme and look forward to welcoming many thousands more from around the world in the future.”
Suzanne Liversidge, global managing partner at Kennedys, said: “The virtual work experience programme has been a fantastic success and has allowed us to welcome thousands of young people into the global Kennedys family. Our innovative scheme has also provided us with an amazing pool of talent to work with, many of whom would not have had a chance to engage with us before this programme was created. Most importantly this has allowed us to help and nurture talented individuals we may never have had a chance to reach before.”