Wake-up call: faced with new competition, firms are adding non-legal services

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31 May 2022, 12:38

In today’s column, Skadden announced the passing of the co-chairman of its global M&A transactions practice; BakerHostetler has implemented raises for its most junior associates; and a former Big Law partner close to Donald Trump is recruiting Holocaust deniers to monitor the election.

  • Initially, law firms are moving into new types of services to strengthen their ability to compete with professional services firms and other new rivals. Companies such as Ropes & Gray, Dentons and DLA Piper have hired behavioral scientists, data scientists, intelligence personnel and journalists to compete with consulting firms, the Journal reports. (WSJ)
  • Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young said it was considering divesting its global audit business. This could be bad news for law firms as it could make it easier for EY to grow its legal services business, according to a report. (American lawyer) The UK on Tuesday announced audit reform plans aimed at reducing the dominance of the Big Four accountancy firms. (BLAW)
  • With demand for talent still strong, several major law firms say they pay fully remote lawyers the same as lawyers working in person, regardless of location. This could change if the economy deteriorates. (American lawyer)
  • Skadden Arps announced yesterday that its co-head of the London-based M&A Global Transactions practice scott simpson died suddenly at age 65. (Skadden.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Baker Hostetler told associates it was raising starting salaries in all offices beginning July 1, to $215,000 in “large” markets and $200,000 in other markets. The firm said its 2022 bonuses will be based on these new base salaries. (Above the law)
  • Foley & Lardner separated from partner Cleta Mitchell in 2021 after participating in then-President Donald Trump’s appeal to the Georgian Secretary of State to try to get him to change the state’s election results. Now Mitchell is recruiting other Holocaust deniers to “aggressively” monitor the election, reports the Times. (New York Times)
  • A Miami Dade County Circuit Court judge has granted preliminary approval to approximately $1 billion in settlements stemming from the June 2021 Surfside condo collapse.South Florida Business Journal) Federal prosecutors say an accountant stole $3 million from the South Florida law firm that employed him. She faces up to 20 years in prison. (Daily Business Review)

Laterals, moves, internals

  • Squire Patton Boggs lawyer hired in private equity Maxime Dequesne as a partner in its corporate practice in Paris. He comes from the French private equity boutique, Lamartine Conseil, where he was a partner; Akerman got the first real estate lawyer in his office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a lawyer Markers Andrew “Drew” join as Blanco Tackabery’s partner; Gordon and Rees hire a commercial litigation lawyer Michael Matheson as a partner in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was previously with ThompsonMcMullan; Blank Rome took on a consumer credit litigator Mina Stone in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He arrives from Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer. (BlankRome.com)
  • New Jersey-based talent search platform True has hired former Davis Polk securities lawyer Aisha Christian as General Counsel. She was the general manager of the branded clothing rental company Rent the Runway, a senior attorney at CNBC/NBC Universal, and recently joined from the KIPP NYC charter school network, where she was top attorney; Alternate Dispute Resolution Service Provider JAMS Recruits Retired Oakland County, Michigan Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris for his Detroit panel. (JAMSAdr.com)

Legal training

  • Average Georgia law school bar exam scores fell nearly 1 point overall in the February multistate bar exam. (Online daily report)

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