Good morning. A proposal to end the ABA’s requirement that law schools use the LSAT as part of the admission process failed this week, but it’s still got a chance. Plus, the NFL must face a lawsuit over the price of “Sunday Ticket” programming, and Shearman & Sterling lays off associates. Let’s get started.
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A proposal to end law schools’ LSAT requirement failed at the ABA’s policymaking body the House of Delegates. But that may not be the end of the idea, reports Karen Sloan.
ABA rules say that it now returns to the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which can rework the proposal and send it back. If the House of Delegates rejects it again, the council — which has already voted in favor of ending the testing mandate — can make it the official policy on its own.
The council was “disappointed” in this week's vote, said William Adams, the ABA’s managing director for accreditation and legal education.
It meets later this month to discuss the future of the proposal.
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Former Twitter executives are turning to prominent white-collar lawyers as Republican U.S. House leaders begin examining the power and influence of tech companies. Firms including Dechert, Sidley and Nixon Peabody are advising former top officials at the company. (Reuters)
Shearman & Sterling has laid off 12 associates and 26 business services professionals in the U.S. "in light of the continuing and growing economic headwinds and market conditions.” Several other large firms also have taken steps to reduce positions amid cooling client demand for legal services. (Reuters)
That’s how much Gibson Dunn is seeking in fees for its work for cigar maker Swisher as a sanction for a rival’s alleged “sham” lawsuit alleging antitrust and contract claims. The litigation in California federal court has dragged out for years, and Swisher’s legal team, including Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutrous, alleged in a new filing that rival Trendsettah should be required to pay up for concealing evidence of a tax scheme involving the company. Trendsettah’s lawyers, including Mark Poe, called Swisher’s filing “incomplete and misleading.”
For years, the crypto industry has harshly criticized the SEC for bringing one-at-a-time enforcement actions as a way to set crypto regulatory policy, instead of engaging in formal rulemaking or waiting for Congress to pass legislation that clarifies when U.S. securities laws apply to digital assets. Just look at a dismissal motion filed this week by a one-time Coinbase manager who was accused last year of insider trading by both the DOJ and the SEC. “The only certain feature of the SEC’s approach to digital asset regulation is its uncertainty,” his lawyers argued this week. But Alison Frankel says that another just-filed dismissal motion — this one by the SEC itself in a declaratory judgment suit by a law firm that seeks assurances about Ethereum transactions — shows that the SEC seems to be in no rush to change how it regulates crypto.
"Plaintiff does not allege that the product does not, in fact, taste like mint."
—U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland, who dismissed a proposed class action against Walmart claiming its fudge mint cookies don’t contain fudge or mint. Eugene DeMaso’s lawsuit said the ingredient list lacked dairy or mint, so the packaging was misleading. But Rowland said the complaint acknowledged that fudge could be made with vegetable oils, and the packaging promises a mint flavor, not mint as an ingredient.
Christopher Kamon, former chief financial officer at the defunct law firm Girardi Keese, will appear in Chicago federal court for arraignment on charges that he and disgraced plaintiffs’ lawyer Tom Girardi orchestrated a scheme to bilk millions of dollars from clients. Kamon, represented by lawyers from Skadden Arps, was separately charged with wire fraud in November for allegedly embezzling $10 million from Girardi Keese. He has pleaded not guilty.
The 10th Circuit is hearing arguments in a lawsuit that alleges Overstock.com and its former CEO Patrick Byrne created a short squeeze on the company’s stock that allowed him to sell all of his shares at an inflated price. The lawsuit, brought by investors, was dismissed by the district court, which found that Byrne and the company had not acted deceptively. Byrne, who is represented by Holland & Hart and McGlinchey Stafford, is arguing that he did not violate any securities laws. Nonprofit Better Markets is urging the court to reverse the district court’s ruling, saying it could protect market manipulators.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan is scheduled to consider arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys on whether Sam Bankman-Fried's bail should be permanently modified to prevent him from contacting current and former employees of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research, as well as from using encrypted messaging applications such as Signal. Prosecutors had asked last month to tighten bail, citing Bankman-Fried's efforts to contact both the general counsel of the FTX U.S. affiliate and new FTX Chief Executive John Ray, ostensibly to provide assistance. Bankman-Fried and his attorneys had reached an agreement with prosecutors to allow him to communicate with some FTX employees, but Kaplan rejected it.
Charles McGonigal, a former FBI official charged with working for sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan. McGonigal, who led the FBI's counterintelligence division in New York before retiring in 2018, pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts, including sanctions violations and money laundering. The judge is expected to set a trial date at the hearing.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
FTX received court approval to issue subpoenas to Sam Bankman-Fried and members of his family as part of the company's investigation into "misappropriated and stolen" funds. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey approved FTX's request to issue subpoenas to Bankman-Fried, his parents Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman, his brother Gabriel Bankman-Fried, former FTX Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and former FTX Chief Operating Officer Constance Wang. (Reuters)
The 2nd Circuit voted 6-6 to deny en banc review of a ruling that said a former Russian Orthodox priest could sue the church for defamation without interfering with its internal governance. The dissenters said the decision would eviscerate church autonomy protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters)
Centene reached a $215 million settlement with California to resolve accusations it overcharged a state program for affordable healthcare by falsely inflating its costs for providing prescription drugs to patients. Centene, represented by Locke Lord, did not admit any wrongdoing. (Reuters)
Eight antitrust lawsuits accusing Harley-Davidson of restricting how bike owners can repair their rides have been centralized before U.S. District Judge William Griesbach in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to a new order from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Harley is based in Milwaukee, which is in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Other cases had been filed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and elsewhere.
Marjorie Hornaday jumped to Day Pitney as a partner. The trusts and estates attorney was previously at Stroock. (Day Pitney)
Shireen Wetmore joined Duane Morris as a partner in the firm’s employment, labor, benefits and immigration practice. Wetmore, who will be based out of San Francisco, was previously a partner at Seyfarth. (Duane Morris)
Saul Ewing added partners Jon Barooshian and Patrick Tracey in Boston. They were previously at Bowditch & Dewey. (Saul Ewing)
Cole Schotz picked up partner Stacy Newman for the firm’s bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice based in Delaware. Newman was previously at Ashby & Geddes. (Cole Schotz)
Partner Nick Williams joined Locke Lord’s New York office, where he’ll be part of the insurance regulatory and transactional practice group. Williams was previously at Dentons. (Locke Lord)
Gregory Knopp will join Proskauer as a partner in its labor and employment department, based out of L.A. He was previously at Akin Gump. (Proskauer)
Fried Frank added Michael Sherman as a D.C.-based partner in the asset management practice. He joins the firm from Dechert. (Fried Frank)
A recent 1st Circuit decision shifted the legal landscape of who is at fault in a personal injury or wrongful death case that happens aboard an international flight, writes Erin Applebaum of Kreindler & Kreindler. Here’s how things have changed.
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