California Pulse

  • Voir Dire: Law360 Pulse's Weekly Quiz

    The middle of May marked another action-packed week for the legal industry as former President Donald Trump's hush money trial continued and BigLaw firms expanded their reach in the U.S. and abroad. Test your legal news savvy here with Law360 Pulse's weekly quiz.

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    Trial Firm Ellis George Adds Former LA Prosecutor, Ex-Mayor

    Ellis George LLP is expanding its team, announcing Thursday it is bringing in a litigator who is a former deputy district attorney, a former mayor and former legal counsel to litigation finance company Omni Bridgeway as a partner in its Los Angeles office in Century City.

  • $2B Default Recommended For Making Fair Trial 'Impossible'

    Years of lies should put a pair of Chinese electronics companies on the hook for over $2 billion in default judgment, a special master told a California federal judge, adding that their yearslong no-show and disregard of U.S. counsel advice to retain documents have rendered a fair trial "impossible."

  • Judge OKs Plan For Those Hit By Rescinded Trump Travel Ban

    Immigration advocates who sued the federal government said they were celebrating "a glimmer of hope" this week after a federal judge OK'd a plan that would require immigration officials to reconsider visa applications for people denied entry into the U.S. because of a Trump-era travel ban affecting individuals from Muslim-majority countries.

  • Smollett Atty Says Attackers' Defamation Suit Must Fail

    An attorney who represented "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett asked an Illinois federal judge Wednesday to end claims that she defamed two brothers accused of attacking Smollett by suggesting they wore "whiteface," arguing it was an unimportant detail that meshed with their own descriptions.

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    Lowenstein Sandler Pro Bono Head Leaves Legacy Of Service

    As she winds down her tenure leading Lowenstein Sandler LLP's Center for Public Interest this month, Catherine Weiss is leaving behind a legacy as a fierce public advocate for immigrants and reproductive rights at a time when public interest law as a whole faces new challenges.

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    Calif. Bar Halts Plans To Develop New Bar Exam

    The State Bar of California has shelved a plan to develop its own online bar exam, a shift that could save the cash-strapped organization up to $4 million per year, but drew opposition from law school deans concerned about its ambitious rollout timeline.

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    Deepfake Rule Proposals Navigate 'Perfect Evidentiary Storm'

    As federal judiciary officials explore how to handle evidence faked by artificial intelligence, attorneys are divided over the need to change evidence rules, with some worried that current rules are not up to the challenges posed by deepfakes, and others fearful that altering them might do more harm than good.

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    Nelson Mullins Adds 6 London Fischer Attys, Plans LA Office

    Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP announced Thursday it has brought on six litigators from London Fischer LLP on both coasts, with four of them set to join a new downtown Los Angeles office and the other two coming aboard in New York.

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    Baker Botts Grows IP Group With Perkins Coie Atty In Calif.

    Baker Botts has welcomed a Perkins Coie LLP partner to its Palo Alto, California, office, strengthening its intellectual property department with a litigator whose clients include Chinese and Taiwanese technology companies, the international law firm announced Thursday.

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    From 'Deadhead' To Womble Bond's Next Chair And CEO-Elect

    Merrick Benn, a global finance partner at Womble Bond Dickinson and a member of the firm's global board, is preparing to take over as U.S. chair and CEO. Here, Benn talks to Law360 Pulse about his goals for the new position and how the Grateful Dead influenced his career trajectory.

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    Norton Rose Taps Texas Atty As Co-Head Of Regulatory Group

    Norton Rose Fulbright has selected the former leader of its Austin, Texas, shop to fill the role of co-head of the firm's U.S. regulation, investigations, securities and compliance practice.

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    Mayer Brown Recruits Akin Gump Public Policy Pro In LA

    Mayer Brown LLP has brought back a public policy and regulatory expert from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he spent over a decade leading its California public law and policy practice.

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    Haynes Boone Adds Sheppard Mullin RE Finance Pro In Calif.

    Haynes and Boone LLP continues to grow its Orange County office, announcing Wednesday that a Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP real estate finance ace is joining the office in Costa Mesa, California, as a partner.

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    Brown Rudnick Taps Kasowitz Vet As Biz Development Leader

    Brown Rudnick LLP has hired the former chief marketing and business development officer at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, who joins the firm to continue helping elevate its attorneys' work and the firm's overall business operations.

  • 'Not Enough Money': Atty. Objects To Plan For Dead Law Firm

    An attorney representing a small group of creditors of failed California debt relief law firm Litigation Practice Group raised concerns at a hearing Wednesday that once the bankruptcy estate pays professional fees and administrative claims, little money will be left.

  • 'Excellent' Altria MDL Deal Earns Attys Fees Above Benchmark

    A California federal judge on Wednesday awarded $13.65 million in plaintiffs' attorney fees as part of tobacco giant Altria's $45.5 million deal resolving consumer claims in multidistrict litigation alleging the company helped fuel a youth vaping crisis created by e-cigarette maker Juul, saying the "excellent result" merited fees above the normal 25% benchmark.

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    Airbnb CLO Ron Klain To Help Biden Prepare For June Debate

    Ron Klain, former White House chief of staff to President Joe Biden who now leads the legal department at Airbnb, told Law360 Pulse on Wednesday that he plans to help his former boss prepare for his upcoming debate in June.

  • Monsanto's $23M False Ad Deal Challenged At 9th Circ.

    Counsel representing a certified class of Missouri consumers urged the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday to reverse Monsanto's nationwide $23 million settlement resolving consumer false ad claims over risks associated with its Roundup weedkiller, arguing that Monsanto hid the settlement from the Missouri plaintiffs and that the class is effectively "getting absolutely nothing."

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    BCLP Taps Slew Of New Office, Sector Leaders

    Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP on Wednesday elevated three longtime partners into leadership roles in its Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles offices, the firm said in an announcement that also named a spate of new sector leaders and a new co-head of its Seattle outpost.

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    Womble Bond Names 'Fearless Leader' As Chair, CEO-Elect

    Womble Bond Dickinson announced Wednesday that global finance partner Merrick Benn has been elected U.S. chair and CEO, for a three-year term effective Jan. 1.

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    Reed Smith Launches Emerging Technologies Practice

    Reed Smith LLP announced the launch of a practice group focused on helping clients with the legal complexities posed by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and fintech.

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    Buchalter Starts Fintech And AI Practice With New Seattle Hire

    Buchalter PC announced that it hired the former chief legal officer at mortgage-focused fintech company Sagent as a Seattle-based shareholder and chair of its newly launched fintech and artificial intelligence practice group.

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    Women In GC Roles Are Closing In On The Gender Pay Gap

    Though the gender pay gap persists, the difference in compensation between women and men at the general counsel level is narrowing — from 4.9% in 2023 to 4.3% in 2024 — according to a report out Wednesday.

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    Top Calif. Dealmakers Join Sullivan & Cromwell From Skadden

    Sullivan & Cromwell LLP said Wednesday it is bringing two "top Silicon Valley dealmakers" from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP to the firm, touting the pair's history with multibillion-dollar technology-related mergers and acquisitions.

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Expert Analysis

  • How Law Firms Can Welcome And Celebrate Autistic Lawyers Author Photo

    As the U.S. observes Autism Acceptance Month, autistic attorney Haley Moss describes the societal barriers and stereotypes that keep neurodivergent lawyers from disclosing their disabilities, and how law firms can better accommodate and level the playing field for attorneys whose minds work outside of the prescribed norm.

  • Law Firm Tips For Evaluating AI And Machine Learning Tools Author Photo

    Many legal technology vendors now sell artificial intelligence and machine learning tools at a premium price tag, but law firms must take the time to properly evaluate them as not all offerings generate process efficiencies or even use the technologies advertised, says Steven Magnuson at Ballard Spahr.

  • A Call For Personal Accountability On Diversity And Inclusion Author Photo

    While chief legal officers are increasingly involved in creating corporate diversity, inclusion and anti-bigotry policies, all lawyers have a responsibility to be discrimination busters and bias interrupters regardless of the title they hold, says Veta T. Richardson at the Association of Corporate Counsel.

  • Learning How To Code Can Unleash New Potential In Lawyers Author Photo

    Every lawyer can begin incorporating aspects of software development in their day-to-day practice with little to no changes in their existing tools or workflow, and legal organizations that take steps to encourage this exploration of programming can transform into tech incubators, says George Zalepa at Greenberg Traurig.

  • Supporting Associates Amid Pandemic's Mental Health Toll Author Photo

    As junior associates increasingly report burnout, work-life conflict and loneliness during the pandemic, law firms should take tangible actions to reduce the stigma around seeking help, and to model desired well-being behaviors from the top down, say Stacey Whiteley at the New York State Bar Association and Robin Belleau at Kirkland.

  • Series

    Ask A Mentor: Should My Law Firm Take On An Apprentice? Author Photo

    Mentoring a law student who is preparing for the bar exam without attending law school is an arduous process that is not for everyone, but there are also several benefits for law firms hosting apprenticeship programs, says Jessica Jackson, the lawyer guiding Kim Kardashian West's legal education.

  • The Importance Of Client Engagement In Law Firm Innovation Author Photo

    As clients increasingly want law firms to serve as innovation platforms, firms must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach — the key is a nimble innovation function focused on listening and knowledge sharing, says Mark Brennan at Hogan Lovells.

  • The Unique Challenges Facing Women-Owned Law Firms Author Photo

    In addition to establishing their brand from scratch, women who start their own law firms must overcome inherent bias against female lawyers and convince prospective clients to put aside big-firm preferences, says Joel Stern at the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms.

  • The Pursuit Of Wellness In BigLaw: Lessons From My Journey Author Photo

    Jane Jeong at Cooley shares how grueling BigLaw schedules and her own perfectionism emotionally bankrupted her, and why attorneys struggling with burnout should consider making small changes to everyday habits.

  • Why We Must Recruit And Advance More Black Prosecutors Author Photo

    Black Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated population but are underrepresented among elected prosecutors, so the legal community — from law schools to prosecutor offices — must commit to addressing these disappointing demographics, says Erika Gilliam-Booker at the National Black Prosecutors Association.

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    Ask A Mentor: How Can Associates Deal With Overload? Author Photo

    Young lawyers overwhelmed with a crushing workload must tackle the problem on two fronts — learning how to say no, and understanding how to break down projects into manageable parts, says Jay Harrington at Harrington Communications.

  • A Scientific Path For Improving Diversity At Law Firms Author Photo

    Law firms could combine industrial organizational psychology and machine learning to study prospective hires' analytical thinking, stress response and similar attributes — which could lead to recruiting from a more diverse candidate pool, say Ali Shahidi and Bess Sully at Sheppard Mullin.

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    Ask A Mentor: How Can Associates Seek More Assignments? Author Photo

    In the first installment of Law360 Pulse's career advice guest column, Meela Gill at Weil offers insights on how associates can ask for meaningful work opportunities at their firms without sounding like they are begging. 

  • Legal Sector Regulatory Reform Is Key To Closing Justice Gap Author Photo

    In order to improve access to justice for those who cannot afford a lawyer, states should consider regulatory innovations, such as allowing new forms of law firm ownership and permitting nonlawyers to provide certain legal services, says Patricia Lee Refo, president of the American Bar Association.

  • How Attys Can Guard Against Rising Settle-And-Sue Claims Author Photo

    Certain precautions can help lawyers avoid post-settlement malpractice claims and create a solid evidentiary defense, as settle-and-sue lawsuits rise amid pandemic-induced dispute settlements, say Bethany Kristovich and Jeremy Beecher at Munger Tolles.

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