Property law specialist Jane Baddeley and health and community sector market leader Alison Choy Flannigan have been named partners at Australia (Melbourne) member firm Hall & Wilcox. Ms. Baddeley’s practice is chiefly focused on property, government and public sector law, while Ms. Choy Flannigan concentrates her practice on health care, corporate and commercial, infrastructure projects and privacy. The firm has also recently been ranked in Doyle’s Guide for the quality of its services in the areas of construction, corporate, dust diseases, employment, environment, estates and succession planning, estates litigation, insolvency, litigation, medical negligence, professional indemnity, property, public and product liability, town planning, wills and estates, workplace health and safety, and workers compensation.

Colorado member firm Ireland Stapleton has been ranked by Best Lawyers® in seven practice areas. The list, which recognizes professional excellence and legal experience with ratings from clients and peers, listed the firm in corporate law, administrative/regulatory law, real estate, employment – individuals, employment – management, environmental law, and mergers and acquisitions law. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer reviews from leading attorneys, and review of information provided by law firms. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer recognized first in Best Lawyers®. Ten of Ireland Stapleton’s lawyers are ranked first by Best Lawyers®

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The 2019 volume of SCG Legal’s Lobbying, PACs and Campaign Finance: 50 State Handbook, the publication’s 25th annual edition, is now available for purchase. Written by attorneys from each of SCG Legal’s state capital member firms, the handbook provides quick access to regulations and laws covering campaign contributions and proper contact with elected officials in each of the 50 states and the federal government. Each state and the federal government has its own chapter and includes detailed coverage of prohibited lobbying practices, enforcement, and penalties, discussion of registration, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements, as well as lists of state-specific forms, and names, addresses, and phone numbers of local commissioners and compliance officers. Copies are available now from Thomson Reuters for $473.45 each, a 15% discount off the regular price of $557. To place your order, click here.

Belgium member firm Lydian has been named its country’s best law firm. The firm was presented with the award this month at the Trends Legal Awards, which are sponsored annually by Belgian business publication Trends/Tendances. Lydian is the first independent Belgian law firm to have been chosen by the Trends Legal Awards as Belgium’s best law firm.

Ontario member firm WeirFoulds is hosting a seminar Wednesday, November 28, 2018, on hot topics in employment law including marijuana legalization, psychological health and safety issues, enforceable termination clauses and recent developments in employment law. For those planning to attend in person, registration and breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. (EST) at the firm’s office, which is located at 66 Wellington Street West, Suite 4100, in Toronto. For those who’d prefer to participate by webinar, the program will begin at 9:00 A.M. (EST). For more information, or to register, contact the firm by no later than November 22, 2018, at events@weirfoulds.com. 

Argentina President Mauricio Macri has appointed Diego Botana of Argentina member firm Allende & Brea an alternate Justice of the Supreme Court of Argentina. Alternate justices are called upon to act in cases in which any of the justices of the Supreme Court has a legal conflict. Mr. Botana is a corporate partner at the firm. A graduate of the University of Buenos Aires School of Law, he received his LL.M. from Duke University. Mr. Botana will continue with the firm while serving as an alternate justice.

Joseph Leone and Christopher of Wisconsin member firm DeWitt Ross & Stevens have been appointed co-chairs of the firm’s intellectual property practice group. Messrs. Leone and Scherer succeed Charles Sara, who chaired the group from 1991 – 2018. Mr. Leone is frequently engaged in opinion work, drafting freedom to operate opinions for U.S. manufacturers and foreign companies importing goods into the U.S. He also serves as an expert witness in state and federal actions regarding U.S. Patent & Trademark Office practices and procedures. Mr. Leone received a J.D. from Marquette University Law School, an M.S. in organic chemistry from Marquette University and an A.B. in chemistry from Kenyon College.  Mr. Scherer concentrates his legal practice on domestic and international patent prosecution, particularly for electrical and electronic circuits and systems, computer software, medical devices, medical patient monitoring and treatment technology, device fabrication, optical devices and systems, as well as mechanical devices. He is also actively involved in the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property and serves on the AIPPI-US national steering committee. Mr. Scherer, who earned his J.D. at the John Marshall Law School and his B.S. in electrical engineering at Marquette University, has given dozens of presentations on intellectual property law and created and taught an intellectual property law course in Marquette University’s College of Engineering.

Ireland member firm Mason Hayes & Curran last month took home the top award for “innovation in legal expertise” at the prestigious FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2018 in London. For over a decade, these awards have recognized standout legal innovation in over 50 countries worldwide. The firm was recognized for its “new homes” team’s approach to Ireland’s conveyancing process and the assistance its members have provided in over 5,000 property transactions. Commenting on the award, firm managing partner Declan Black said, “We are pleased to win this award particularly because our innovation is about more than just the application of technology. It’s about applying fresh thinking to legal issues so that transactions happen more easily. That’s where clients get the real benefits.

Peter Rosene has joined the intellectual property team at Kentucky member firm McBrayer. Mr. Rosene graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he served as editor in chief of the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture & Natural Resources Law. After graduation, he clerked for Judge Ernesto Scorsone of the Fayette Circuit Court. His practice will focus primarily on copyrights, trademarks and commercial litigation. Also at McBrayer, Trevor Nichols and Thomas “Neal” Morris have joined the firm in its Lexington office. Mr. Nichols will focus his practice on litigation, while Mr. Morris will concentrate on hospitality law, specifically alcoholic beverage regulation. Both are graduates of the University of Kentucky College of Law.

The former director of the Foreign Investment Review Staff for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, Richard Sofield, has joined District of Columbia member firm Wiley Rein as a partner in its national security practice. Mr. Sofield will advise clients on issues related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, Team Telecom, and a wide range of DOJ enforcement matters across the firm’s practices including international trade, telecommunications, media and technology, corporate, privacy and cybersecurity, intellectual property, and government contracts. Prior to joining the firm, he oversaw DOJ’s participation in CFIUS including the review of over 1,000 acquisitions and efforts to prohibit multiple transactions on national security grounds. Mr. Sofield was awarded his J.D. by Hofstra University School of Law.

Best Lawyers® has awarded Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock first tier rankings in seven practice areas including administrative/regulatory law, arbitration, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, commercial litigation, litigation – regulatory enforcement (SEC, telecommunications, energy), real estate law and utilities law. In addition, the firm has earned tier two rankings in Lansing in four practice areas (closely held companies and family businesses law, corporate law, employee benefits (ERISA) law, and litigation – labor and employment) and tier three rankings  in Lansing in six practice areas (appellate practice, DUI/DWI defense, environmental law, litigation – construction, mediation, and trusts and estates law). Also at Fraser Trebilcock, Mike Senyko has joined the firm as its new executive director. Previously, Mr. Senyko was chief of staff for Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. He succeeds Tom Smith, who held the position for more than 32 years. Mr. Senyko received his baccalaureate degree in political science from Michigan State University and his M.P.A. from Oakland University.

Kristina Stanger of Iowa member firm Nyemaster Goode has been named one of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 2018 “40 Under 40” Emerging Leaders in the field of insolvency.  ABI’s annual 40 Under 40 program recognizes insolvency professionals committed to the highest standards of achievement at work and in their communities. The 2018 list of 40 was selected from more than 200 nominees. Ms. Stanger is the only Iowa attorney to have received this recognition. An experienced commercial litigator, with a practice focused on creditor rights and bankruptcy, she appears in both federal and state courts for secured and unsecured creditors in commercial and contract claims, preference actions, business disputes, property damage, construction and real estate litigation. In addition to being a lawyer, Ms. Stanger is also a combat-experienced lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. She is a graduate of Drake University Law School. Also at Nyemaster Goode, Frank Harty has been inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America. During his career, Mr. Harty has tried nearly 100 cases to verdict. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only to experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Mr. Harty is a graduate of Drake University Law School.

Brigadier General Richard Allen, USA, Retired, of Alabama member firm Capell & Howard has been selected by the board of trustees of the Army War College Foundation as an outstanding alumnus of the United States Army War College. General Allen graduated from what is now the University of North Alabama and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army. After seven years on active duty, he left the active Army to attend law school, while remaining a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. After completing law school, he pursued a dual career as a lawyer and an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal, and induction into the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame in 2001. While in law school, General Allen was managing editor of the Alabama Law Review. He clerked for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Howell Heflin before joining the firm, where his practice centered on business and tax law. He ultimately became managing partner of the firm until being tapped by then Alabama Attorney General Jeff Sessions to become chief deputy attorney general. After retiring from government service in 2005, he returned to the firm in an of counsel role. Also at Capell & Howard, Blake Brookshire has joined the firm. Mr. Brookshire’s practice focuses on civil defense litigation at both the trial and appellate levels.  A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, he served as senior articles editor of the Mississippi Sports Law Review and associate editor of the Mississippi Law Journal. Additionally, he received the Doc Cottier Award, the KARMA (Kids Against Ridicule, Meanness and Aggression) Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Dedication to Community Service, and was named outstanding member of the trial advocacy board. Mr. Brookshire recently became a member of the Hugh Maddox chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Connecticut member firm Robinson & Cole has been ranked a “highly recommended” firm in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation. It has also received a “recommended” ranking in the area of labor and employment. In addition, Stephen Aronson received “labor and employment star – Northeast” recognition, a new designation in the inaugural edition of Benchmark Labor & Employment, and the following members of the firm earned “local litigation stars” honors: Wystan Ackerman, Bradford Babbitt, Joseph Clasen, Gerald Dwyer Jr., Linda Morkan, Rhonda Tobin, Theodore Tucci, and James Wade. Ms. Tobin was also named one of Benchmark Litigation‘s top 250 women in litigation earlier this year. Benchmark Litigation is the only publication that focuses exclusively on litigation in the U.S.

For the second time in as many months, Minnesota member firm Larkin Hoffman’s intellectual property appellate team succeeded in convincing the Patent Trial & Appeal Board to reverse the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in ex parte reexamination proceedings filed by accused infringers against its clients’ patents. USPTO had rejected the patent owners’ claims as “obvious” over a combination of several “prior art” patents. Overcoming obviousness rejections by USPTO during prosecution of a patent application or during an ex parte reexamination or inter partes review can be a major challenge for patent owners. In both appeals, the firm’s intellectual property appellate team argued that the USPTO examiner failed to provide a sufficient rationale to support the proposed combinations of the prior art and engaged in improper hindsight to arrive at its obviousness conclusions. In the latest PTAB decision reversing USPTO, PTAB held that it was “persuaded by the Patent Owner that the Examiner’s alleged rationales for combining the prior art are conclusory and lack rational underpinning to support the legal conclusion of obviousness.” The two PTAB decisions can be found here: Ex Parte Genesis Attachments Appeal No. 2018-007445; Ex Parte Richard Gramm Appeal No. 2018-006732. Questions concerning these appellate victories should be directed to David Swenson, John Cotter or Thomas Oppold.

Cory Wilson has joined Nebraska member firm  Erickson Sederstrom  where he will focus his practice on litigation including construction law, workers compensation, property disputes property damage, personal injury, and commercial real estate. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Law. Prior to obtaining his law degree, Mr. Wilson worked in the oil and construction industries.

Brian Haney, Randa Lewis, Danielle Scalise and Lindsey Conrad Kennedy have joined Pennsylvania member firm Eckert Seamans in its Pittsburgh office. Mr. Haney focuses his practice in the area of commercial litigation. Since joining the firm, he has headed up its autonomous vehicle legislative survey, a comprehensive legislative survey of autonomous vehicle law in the United States. Mr. Haney is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. Ms. Lewis concentrates her practice on environmental compliance and litigation, advising on environmental regulations and statutes and administrative appeals procedures and assisting clients with enforcement action negotiations. She received her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law, where she served as editor in chief of Duquesne Energy & Environmental Law Journal. Ms. Scalise focuses her practice on corporate and transactional matters in the firm’s business division. Prior to joining the firm, she clerked for the Honorable Christine Ward of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Civil Division. She earned her law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Kennedy concentrates her practice on labor and employment matters. A member of the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association, she completed her J.D. at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Also at Eckert Seamans, Brittany Stepp has joined the firm as a labor and employment practitioner in the firm’s Philadelphia office. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Stepp served as a co-op extern to the Honorable Petrese Tucker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She also served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Doris Pechkurow of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. She is a graduate of Drexel University Thomas Kline School of Law where she also served as associate editor of the Drexel Law Review.

Andrew Watkins and Mike Doesburg have joined New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams. Mr. Watkins is a nationally recognized relationship property lawyer and will be joining the dispute resolution team in the firm’s Christchurch office. He has been involved in many high profile cases, regularly providing media comment nationally on issues relating to family law. Having completed advanced courses in negotiation and mediation at Harvard, he has conducted over 70 successful mediations during the course of his career. Mr. Doesberg will join the resource management team in the firm’s Auckland office. His experience has been in infrastructure, industrial, residential and coastal projects, as well as district and regional planning matters. He also specializes in local government and public law including liquor licensing and alcohol policy.

The Ukrainian Advocates Association has nominated Ukraine member firm Arzinger partner Markian Malskyy to receive its 2018 Attorney of the Year award in the international arbitration category. Mr. Malskyy has handled cases under the arbitration rules of ICSID, ICC, SCC, UNCITRAL, LCIA and ICAC. He has been involved in the settlement of more than 300 disputes. He has also authored two books on commercial dispute settlement and has more than 70 published legal articles to his credit. The award is given annually by UAU to promote the value of the dispute resolution process in Ukraine, as well as to raise awareness about the importance of the work attorneys perform.

Eric Liberman, Nicholas McCann, James Graves and Thomas Windus have joined Washington member firm Carney Badley Spellman. Mr. Liberman focuses his practice on construction litigation and government contracts. Eric has represented clients in federal and state court cases, as well as GAO bid protests, appeals before the state and federal boards of contract appeals, and a protest before the FAA Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition. He is a graduate of George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School. Mr. McCann’s practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the Chicago office of a national law firm, handling civil and commercial cases and managing every aspect of civil litigation in state and federal courts from inception through trial. Mr. McCann graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Mr. Graves’ practice is primarily focused on business counseling and corporate law, with an emphasis on startups. A graduate of Seattle University School of Law, he served as editor in chief of the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law. Prior to joining the firm, he completed a nine-month legal internship with Amazon and two legal externships with F5 Networks and the Latino Community Fund. Finally, Mr. Windus joins the firm as a principal, practicing in the area of surety and construction law. He has represented surety and construction clients for over thirty years in a variety of disputes in both state and federal courts. His practice has also involved representing commercial and surety clients in bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Windus is a graduate of Gonzaga University School of Law.

In Their Own Words
“It’s appalling how poorly our profession overall compares with other professions, and we have to ask ourselves why that is.
The fundamental business structure in law firms is a problem in driving diversity.”
– Verizon General Counsel Craig Silliman, speaking November 8th at the
Bloomberg Law Talent & Diversity Forum in Washington, D.C.

Survey Finds Many GCs Moving Work to Smaller Firms
When in-house counsel hire outside firms, rates are a key consideration. And as GCs have become more cost-conscious, a new survey by legal consultancy Altman Weil has found that growing numbers of chief legal officers are moving their outside legal work to smaller firms with lower rates. This year, 31% of GCs reported that they’d transferred outside work to firms with lower billing rates while also noting that they are “successfully using smaller law firms that offer quality work and service at considerable reductions in cost.” Altman Weil based its survey results on responses from 279 law departments primarily in the manufacturing, technology, insurance and retail industries, more than 40% of whom reported between $1 and $5 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2017. The survey also found that 47% of GCs are now sending some of the work they once gave to law firms to alternative legal service providers, such as electronic discovery and document review vendors. 

Legal Services Employment Up Slightly in October
The legal industry added 600 jobs in October, marking the industry’s second straight month of growth amid a positive employment picture for the U.S. economy as a whole. In its monthly look across a host of industries, the agency’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported November 2nd that 1,138,100 people were employed in the legal industry in in October. With October’s uptick in legal industry employment, BLS data show that the industry has gained 1,600 jobs over the results in August. The legal industry figures for October come as the overall U.S. economy continued a streak of monthly job increases that has so far lasted more than eight years. In October, the country’s economy added a total of 250,000 jobs, while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. The additions in October reportedly outpaced expectations of Wall Street economists, who had predicted the economy would add approximately 188,000 jobs.

Study Finds Legal Industry Employment for Recent Law Grads Bouncing Back
Post-law school employment continued to rise in 2017, a sign that law schools have finally begun to adapt to the contracted post-recession job market. Following years of decline after the Great Recession, legal industry employment for recent law school graduates is looking up, according to data compiled by AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on legal education. Last year, 72% of law graduates found jobs requiring them to pass the bar. This number has been increasing steadily and is almost back to its pre-recession height of 75%. The percentage of recent law graduates who are unemployed has also declined since 2014, down to 8% in 2017. But the increase in employment rates likely stems from decreasing law school class sizes. According to the National Association for Law Placement, the size of graduating classes has contracted more than 25% in the last four years.

New York State Bar Exam Pass Rates Drop
Only 63% percent of those who took the New York State bar examination in July passed, a drop of 5% from 2017. Those who attended ABA-accredited law schools and took the New York exam for the first time had an 83% passing rate, which was markedly better but still 3% lower than the previous year. New York’s declining scores mirror performance on the bar examination nationwide, which sunk to a 34-year low, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which released results on the Multistate Bar Examination in September. The number of students taking the test in New York has decreased as well. The board examined 9,679 candidates, including U.S. domestic-educated candidates and foreign-educated candidates, first-timers and repeat-takers from July 24 to 25, which was 253 fewer than last year, and the lowest number of candidates to sit for the July examination since 2004.