Good morning. New York law firm Stroock’s crumbling is providing some opportunities for rival firms, as they pick up partners and others. The pass rate on California’s July bar exam dropped slightly, but many states saw increases. Plus, Donald Trump Jr is due today to return to the witness stand at his father’s fraud trial; Camp Lejeune payouts have begun; and the NCAA won an early round in an antitrust case from coaches. Scroll for our week-ahead calendar and more. Thanks for reading!
The collapse of one of New York’s oldest law firms has spelled opportunity for many of its competitors, with a growing number of firms scooping up lawyers from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan since its partners voted last month to shutter the firm.
Crowell & Moring, Hogan Lovells, Steptoe & Johnson, Squire Patton Boggs and Thompson Coburn are among the law firms that have so far brought on partners and other lawyers from Stroock, helping them quickly expand in New York and elsewhere. Stroock co-managing partner Alan Klinger starts at Steptoe on Monday alongside another Stroock partner. Co-managing partner Jeff Keitelman is among a group of 28 partners set to join Hogan Lovells.
Leaders at Stroock said in an internal email late last month that its partners had voted to take steps to dissolve the firm. The 147-year-old firm had seen a series of lawyer exits over the past year and failed to secure a merger after discussions with larger firms.
A Houston woman pleaded guilty in federal court after she was charged with making death threats to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Donald-Trump-appointed judge in Florida presiding over one of the criminal cases against the former U.S. president. Sentencing is set for Feb. 9.
Facebook’s $725 million data privacy settlement, which included a legal-fee award of more than $181 million, is heading to an appeal in the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria last month granted the attorneys’ fee request and gave final approval to the settlement, overruling various objections to the agreement from class members.
“By delaying the report, the [agency] is aiding the government in defending itself from liability at Camp Lejeune.“
—Michael Partain, who lived at Camp Lejeune as a child and is suing the government over the rare case of male breast cancer he developed at age 39. Cancer and mortality studies conducted by a U.S. health agency have found elevated cancer rates in military and civilian personnel who lived and worked at the Marine base near Jacksonville, N.C., from 1953 through 1987. But the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has yet to release the report, angering people who say they got sick drinking tainted water. The U.S. government faces billions in potential payouts to workers and residents who say they were harmed.
Coming up this week
On Monday, a 5th Circuit panel will hear arguments over a U.S. federal judge’s order in September that had required the Biden administration to expand a planned offshore oil and gas auction in the Gulf of Mexico by six million acres. The New Orleans-based appeals court stayed the decision pending an appeal. Circuit Judges Edith Clement, Catharina Haynes and Andrew Oldham will hear the case.
Also on Monday, lawyers for Elon Musk’s X Corp will argue in Sacramento federal court against a California state law establishing new transparency rules for social media companies that include publishing their policies for policing disinformation, harassment, hate speech and extremism. X, whose legal team includes lawyers from Cahill Gordon, said in a lawsuit that the law violates its free speech rights.
On Tuesday, a D.C. Circuit panel takes up the DOJ’s bid to revive its lobbying case against casino magnate Steve Wynn. The department last year sued for a court order forcing Wynn, former chief executive of Wynn Casinos, to register as an agent of China. Officials alleged Wynn had lobbied then-U.S. President Donald Trump on China’s behalf in 2017. Wynn’s attorneys denied the allegations.
On Wednesday, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson will urge a 3rd Circuit panel to revive a lawsuit seeking to block New Jersey from enforcing a subpoena to investigate the company’s advertising of firearms to consumers. U.S. District Judge Evelyn Padin in Newark ruled Smith & Wesson was barred from pursuing its federal claims after already unsuccessfully litigating those same arguments in state court.
On Thursday, the SEC is expected to defend its bid to forceElon Musk to testify in the regulator’s investigation into his $44 billion takeover of social media giant Twitter, now known as X. Musk’s Quinn Emanuel lawyers have asked the court not to force him to testify. The SEC’s subpoena exceeds the agency’s investigative authority, is overly burdensome and seeks “irrelevant evidence,” Musk’s lawyers contend.
On Friday, the 10th Circuit will hear a challenge to a 2019 Colorado law banning “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ children. The conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedomfiled the lawsuit on behalf of a licensed professional counselor who argued that Colorado’s regulation of specific therapeutic practices infringes what she can say to her minor clients. A federal judge denied issuing an injunction.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
In the courts
The NCAA won’t have to track down and turn over pay data for assistant sport coaches at schools across the country. A U.S. magistrate judge ruled against a request from unpaid volunteer coaches who have accused the U.S. collegiate sports body of unlawfully suppressing their wages, in violation of antitrust law. (Reuters)
The developer of the Mountain Valley Pipelinesued two protesters in Virginia federal court that it says blocked construction on the $7.2 billion natural gas project, seeking compensation and orders barring them from interfering in the future. (Reuters)
The NLRB rejected a Starbucks barista’s bid for an election to dissolve a union at a Buffalo, New York, store, as the worker pursues a lawsuit claiming the agency’s structure is unconstitutional. The board in a 2-1 decision said Starbucks and the employee had not raised any issues warranting review. (Reuters)
Sidley hired a New York-based private equity team from Paul Weiss. Jeffrey Kochian, Gerald Brant and Brittany Harrison joined the firm as partners, while Erika Cohen joined as counsel. (Reuters)
Kirkland hired tax partner James Morgan in London. He arrived from Linklaters. (Kirkland)