Wake Up Call: Facing New Competition, Firms Add Non-Law Services

May 31, 2022, 12:38 PM

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

  • Leading off, law firms are branching into new kinds of services to boost their ability to compete with professional services firms and other new rivals. Firms including Ropes & Gray, Dentons, and DLA Piper have hired behavioral scientists, data experts, intelligence personnel, and journalists to compete with consulting firms, the Journal reports. (WSJ)
  • Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young has said it’s considering spinning off its global audit business. That could be bad news for law firms, because it could make it easier for EY to expand its legal services business, according to a report. (American Lawyer) The UK on Tuesday announced plans for audit reforms aimed at reducing the dominance of the Big Four accountancy firms. (BLAW)
  • With demand for talent still hot, several Big Law firms say they’re paying fully remote attorneys the same as lawyers working in-person, no matter where they’re located. That could change if the economy sours. (American Lawyer)
  • Skadden Arps announced yesterday that its London-based M&A global transactions practice co-head Scott Simpson died suddenly at age 65. (Skadden.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Baker Hostetler told associates it’s raising starting salaries across all offices starting July 1, to $215,000 in “major” markets and to $200,000 in other markets. The firm said its 2022 bonuses will be based on these new base salaries. (Above The Law)
  • Foley & Lardner parted ways with partner Cleta Mitchell in 2021 after she participated in then-President Donald Trump’s call to Georgia’s secretary of state trying to get him to change the state’s election results. Now Mitchell is recruiting other election deniers to “aggressively” monitor elections, the Times reports. (New York Times)
  • A Miami Dade County Circuit Court judge granted preliminary approval to about $1 billion in settlements stemming from the collapse of the Surfside condominium in June 2021. (South Florida Business Journal) Federal prosecutors said a bookkeeper stole $3 million from the South Florida law firm that employed her. She could face up to 20 years in prison. (Daily Business Review)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Squire Patton Boggs hired private equity lawyer Maxime Dequesne as a partner in its corporate practice in Paris. He arrives from French private equity boutique, Lamartine Conseil, where he was a partner; Akerman got the first real estate attorney in its Winston-Salem, North Carolina, office, with attorney Andrew “Drew” Felts joining as a partner from Blanco Tackabery; Gordon & Rees brought in commercial litigation attorney Michael Matheson as a partner in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was previously at ThompsonMcMullan; Blank Rome picked up consumer finance litigator Pierre Mina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He arrives from Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer. (BlankRome.com)
  • New Jersey-based talent search platform True hired former Davis Polk corporate securities lawyer Aisha Christian as general counsel. She’s been GC at designer-clothing rental company Rent the Runway, senior counsel at CNBC/NBC Universal, and she arrives recently from charter school network KIPP NYC, where she was top lawyer; alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS recruited retired Oakland County (Michigan) Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris for its Detroit panel. (JAMSAdr.com)

Legal Education

  • Average bar exam scores for Georgia law schools dropped close to 1 point overall on the February Multistate Bar Examination. (Daily Report Online)