Managing partner implicated in lawsuit involving "mob tactics"

by NZ Lawyer26 Mar 2014
 [Australia] Professional services guru named as law firm CEO

A professional services heavyweight has been named the new CEO of Minter Ellison’s Australian division, in a move the firm hopes will help with growth and client engagement ambitions.     

Tony Harrington AM will step into the role of chief executive on 1 July.

Harrington will replace John Weber, who has served in the role since 2009 and comes from a distinguished career in financial and professional services.

He served as Australian senior partner and chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers for eight years, where he subsequently took on the role of global managing partner in strategy and transformation.

Most recently, Harrington has served as managing director of investment bank Moelis & Company.  

Source: Australasian Lawyer
[USA] Stroock's Miami managing partner caught up in suit involving "mob tactics"

Ron Kriss, managing partner of the Miami office of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, has been implicated in a lawsuit brought by a federal informant claiming his son arranged to have the man beaten up at a Brooklyn restaurant.

The senior Kriss is not a defendant in the case filed in New York Supreme Court by Salvatore Lauria, a former colleague of Kriss's son, Jody, at Bayrock Group LLC, a New York real estate investment company.

The $5 million suit alleges Jody Kriss, former chief financial officer of Bayrock, adopted "mob tactics" to retrieve his cut of a commission on a development deal. Ron Kriss was the outside general counsel for Bayrock, according to the suit.

Lauria, a convicted felon who acknowledged working as a federal informant, brokered an $85 million real estate deal with Iceland's FL Group hf in 2007, earning a $2.5 million commission, according to the lawsuit.

But Jody Kriss maintained he deserved a piece of the commission and arranged for Lauria to be beaten up by a mobster, the complaint said. In July 2012, Lauria was at a business lunch when a mobster beat him up, saying, "You're dead. I am going to kill and you. ... You're a rat. I did two years because of you."

Lauria later sought FBI protection.

Source: Daily Business Review
[Multinational] Merger talks intensify between Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders

Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs has signed a letter of intent to merge with the larger Squire Sanders, according to Reuters, with the deal projected to take place before the end of April.

A letter of intent was reportedly signed earlier this month to formalize the two firms' commitment to advancing merger talks.

The letter "doesn't guarantee anything, just that they are moving forward at a very rapid speed," said one former Patton Boggs lawyer. "They're on the verge of a merger."
The merger talks, announced February 26, are considered by former Patton Boggs lawyers and legal experts as a "make-or-break" deal for Patton Boggs because it has come under growing financial strain.

In January, the firm reported revenue had fallen in 2013 by 12% compared to 2012, to $278 million, according to figures in an internal memo obtained by Reuters. The firm then failed to give partners their monthly February payments on time, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Instead, it paid them during the first week in March.


[USA/UK] Sutherland joins with UK boutique energy firm

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is merging with Arbis LLP, a boutique law firm with offices in London and Geneva that features a strong energy practice, to give the U.S. firm its first international offices.

Arbis, which focuses on transactional, regulatory, dispute-resolution and crisis-management services, has nine lawyers. The firm will be known as Arbis Sutherland LLP in London and Geneva.

Sutherland’s energy, environmental and commodities practice group has more than 70 lawyers who counsel crude oil, natural gas, LNG, electric power, electric cooperative, renewable and alternative energy, oil pipeline and nuclear energy clients.

Source: Bloomberg

[USA] Foley snags Weil's Boston leader

Joseph Basile has been added to the growing list of departures from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Basile has left his post as managing partner of the firm’s Boston office to join Foley Hoag as a partner and co-chair of the firm's M&A practice.

Basile was named to lead Weil Gotshal's Boston office in 2011. He succeeded James Westra, who left the firm to become managing director and chief legal officer of private equity firm Advent International, a long-time firm client.

Weil Gotshal has seen dozens of partners depart in the past six months, according to The American Lawyer, with Basile being the most recent to leave since senior leveraged finance partner John Cobb jumped to Paul Hastings earlier this month. Many of the departures came after the firm announced last summer that it planned to deemphasize its Houston and Boston offices while cutting the compensation of roughly 10% of its partners. The firm also said it would lay off 60 associates and 110 staff members.

Source: The American Lawyer