Wake Up Call: CFPB Wrestles With Ban On Forced Arbitration

April 29, 2016 | Paul Marini

By Rick Mitchell with assistance from Gabe Friedman for http://bol.bna.com

In a possible sign that a legal push on medical pot access may be going mainstream, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe said it has entered a pro bono partnership with the Americans for Safe Access Foundation, a medical marijuana advocacy group. (American Lawyer)

• As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau prepares to propose a rule to ban contract terms that bar class actions, a coalition of 160 organizations sent a letter urging the prohibition of forced arbitration in individual cases. (National Law Journal)

• Herbert Smith Freehills’ new action plan hints that the London-based firm wants to expand in the U.S.through a merger, but the recent failed talks between Berwin Leighton Paisner and Greenberg Traurig indicate potential difficulties in such a tie-up. (The Lawyer)

• Television advertisements for plaintiffs law firms are increasing, and the ads are getting increasingly nasty, reflecting fierce competition spurred by a slowing market for legal services. (Bloomberg News)

• In the early 1970s, Dickstein Shapiro moved past a short-lived name change and a partner’s ensnarement in the Watergate criminal investigation, settling into a strategy of growing into “one stop” where clients could get all their legal work. That proved a lucrative approach, until the 2008-2009 recession hit the legal business. Part 2 of a look at the rise and fall of the firm, which stopped practicing law in February. (Big Law Business)

 

Legal Market

• Ex-Squire Patton Boggs associate Kristen Jarvis Johnson posted on Reddit about her decision to leave the firm and start a company that makes dolls. In a perspectives article for BLB, Johnson expanded on her allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the firm, and her complaints about living and working in Doha. (Big Law Business)

• Squire Patton said it was “disappointed at Johnson’s comments, and stressed that it is “committed to a firm culture that promotes full and equal participation, advancement and retention of women.” (Big Law Business)

• Ending its search for a merger partner in China, Linklaters reportedly now plans for several lawyers from its Shanghai and Beijing offices to break off to form a separate firm that has a “best friends” arrangement with the Magic Circle firm, with the aim for the two firms to eventually form a joint venture. (The Lawyer)

• In a possible sign that a legal push on medical pot access may be going mainstream, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe said it has entered a pro bono partnership with the Americans for Safe Access Foundation, a medical marijuana advocacy group. (American Lawyer)

• It is still a mystery why Pepper Hamilton abruptly and unilaterally announced an end to its merger talks with Reed Smith, rather than working with Reed Smith on a joint release, as has been customary courtesy in such cases. (Big Law Business)

• In a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court that could affect the status of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s some 13,000 vice presidents, Sergey Aleynikov, a former vice president at the bank is trying to force it to pay his legal fees, but Goldman says he isn’t entitled to such executive treatment. (Big Law Business/Bloomberg News)

• In a federal court Thursday, lawyers for two allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued that prosecutors in the George Washington Bridge scandal have manipulated facts to fit their charges. (Bloomberg News)

 

Laterals and Moves

• Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton said it has hired Allen & Overy’s head of non-contentious financial services regulation, Bob Penn, for Cleary’s “transatlantic” financial services regulatory practice in its London office. (The Lawyer)

 

SCOTUS

• The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday approved controversial change to rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that, if accepted by Congress, would vastly expand the FBI’s ability to hack into computer networks, changes that advocacy groups and major tech companies say would allow authorities to conduct remote searches anywhere in the world. (TechCrunch)

• The change issued by the top court Thursday lets judges issue search warrants for computers that may not be located within their jurisdictions. U.S. officials have portrayed the change as a common-sense administrative revision that’s needed because criminals increasingly use technology to hide their true locations. (Bloomberg)

 

Technology

• A federal judge has barred lawyers for Google Inc. and Oracle from using the internet to research prospective jurors’ backgrounds, in the upcoming trial in Oracle’s $9 billion copyright infringement case against Google. (Bloomberg News)

• Artificial intelligence assistants called “chat bots” can transform delivery of legal services, for example by “de-lawyering” routine tasks or reinventing the way non-profit organizations provide legal assistance to citizens, but these tools also raise legal questions on data privacy, security, and liability, writes an assistant general counsel at Microsoft Corporation. (Big Law Business)

• The Pentagon is making big investments in robots, artificial intelligence and innovation in other military technology to prepare for a world in which the United States must deal with other great powers that have just as much conventional power. (Financial Times)

• Some of the Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies have offered “insane” amounts of money to artificial intelligence researchers to keep them from joining OpenAI, a project launched by Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla, and Sam Altman, president of tech incubator Y Combinator. (Wired)

 

Legal Education

• George Mason University is facing growing opposition to its plans to change its law school’s name to honor the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as well as terms of a $30 million donation that led to the plan, with opponents citing, among other things, Scalia’s “controversial” stances and comments. (National Law Journal)

 

Miscellaneous

• James Hurlock, who chaired the New York law firm White & Case from 1980 to 2000 and was instrumental in its expansion, died on Wednesday at the age of 82, the firm’s current chair Hugh Verrier said. (Big Law Business)

• Morrison & Foerster said partner James Webb Huston, a former head of its global trial practice group who was also a former Navy flight officer as well as a best-selling novelist, has died at age of 62. (American Lawyer)

Written by Rick Mitchell with assistance from Gabe Friedman.



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