In Trump Era, Akin Gump's New Pro Bono Counsel Eyes Challenges
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, an Am Law 100 firm known for its work in the pro bono arena, has named Lauren Connell as its new pro bono counsel.
Connell, an associate at Akin Gump for nearly the past three years, has a background in pro bono asylum work with immigrants and refugees, having spent several months in late 2014 as a project coordinator for a firm-backed immigration advocacy project Texas.
"It certainly is a terrifying time to be an immigrant advocate," said Connell, when asked about the current political environment in the U.S. "Among our clients there is this climate of fear, because day-to-day, they don't know what to expect."
Though none of Connell's clients, most of whom are Central American, have been directly affected by the Trump administration's immigration policies, she said there is still an overall uneasiness about their safety and security in this country.
"As a community [of legal immigrant advocates], we're just trying to learn from each other and share stories to best protect our clients if the worst should happen," said Connell, who is finding her asylum and immigration work to be backlogged and rife with logistical issues. "These resources are being strained and with the current political climate, it doesn't look like more will be given to these matters anytime soon."
Connell began her work at Akin Gump while she was still in law school as a participant in its pro bono scholars program, a two-summer commitment for law students to work with a public interest organization during their 1L and 2L years. Throughout that program, Connell said she worked with Steven Schulman, Akin Gump's longtime pro bono partner, who recognized her passion for pro bono work.
When she returned to Akin Gump in 2014 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, she was immediately asked to relocate temporarily to San Antonio to help establish the Karnes City Immigrant Family Pro Bono Project, an initiative covered at the time by sibling publication The National Law Journal. While there, Connell worked with women and children seeking asylum, mostly from Central American countries.
"I was essentially the first director of the program," she said. "I helped build the program at the facility, figure out who was there, do intake, find attorneys to represent these women and children in bond and asylum proceedings, and represent them directly."
From there, Connell returned to Akin Gump as a corporate associate. After over two years in that role, she was asked to replace Fiona Brett, who will be leaving the firm at the end of August, as pro bono counsel. (The New York Law Journal, a sibling publication, reported last year on the death of Brett's husband, Michael Fahy, a lawyer-turned-firefighter.)
Connell is working closely with Brett-who received a pro bono justice award earlier this year-and Schulman during a transitionary period. Both lawyers have encouraged Connell's ideas for the pro bono practice at Akin Gump.
"Because I have that corporate background, I'm really looking forward to building out transactional pro bono opportunities here," Connell said.
Akin Gump handles corporate governance and other matters for several nonprofits, something that Connell wants to continue in her new role, aided by her corporate background. She also wants the firm to remain active in a wide range of pro bono initiatives, including criminal defense work and the representation of immigrations and military veterans.
Akin Gump remains heavily involved in the corridors of Washington, D.C.-the firm is known for its robust federal lobbying practice-advising clients on a range of high-profile public law and policy issues. Connell said that she has to run conflicts checks on any matter that the pro bono group seeks to take on, but since starting in her new role on Aug. 1 has not run into any roadblocks.
Connell declined to discuss an email reportedly forwarded this week by retired Akin Gump partner John Dowd-now representing President Donald Trump-comparing George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee following recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Akin Gump, for its part, has disavowed comments made by the president in a statement attributed to firm chair Kim Koopersmith, one of the few women leaders in Big Law.
Article posted August 17, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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Orrick develops new role in bet on hot field of impact finance
Each day news articles abound that aim to explain why millennials are seen as a different breed. They're marrying and having kids later, they're not buying houses or diamonds and they're really into avocado toast. As it turns out, they are also a driving force in impact finance.
"Millennials want to make investments and use their money in a way that does some good in the world," explained Perry Teicher of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
And law firms are happy to help that cause.
Teicher, based in Orrick's New York office, was named earlier this month as impact finance attorney, helping to lead the firm's impact finance and investment group. While other law firms are also focused on advising in this growing area, Teicher said he believes his is the first role of its kind. Teicher, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with a law and business degree in 2015, initially joined Orrick as an impact finance fellow. His new position will make him the only attorney focusing full-time on that area in the firm.
Impact finance, he says, is making investments while keeping environmental and social impact in mind along with financial results. Simply put, impact finance is the idea that having a positive effect on the world around you is just as important as reaping financial benefits.
Being one of the first attorneys with a role specifically dedicated to the quickly growing field excites Teicher.
"You go to law school, you become an attorney to help those in need and deal with complex problems," he said. "This is that nexus of trying to create something positive in the world and solve complex problems."
Teicher's new role doesn't mean he won't be billing hours. Some of the work is done pro bono, but not all of it. The clients Teicher works with aren't only nonprofits, either.
"We're not treating this as a pro bono initiative, but as an initiative of the firm within our corporate group," Teicher said.
"We're working with clients that range from a number of private equity funds that have been increasingly involved in the space to private organizations and nonprofits thinking about their endowment and aligning their investment with their goals," Teicher said. He also noted that Orrick is using its impact finance group to work with early-stage entrepreneurs and tech companies that are aligning intentional impact with their business strategy.
Aaron Bourke, private funds associate at Reed Smith and co-founder of both the Impact Investing Legal Working Group (IILWG) and Reed Smith's social impact finance group, sees Teicher's new title as a win for the sector.
"It signals the potential sustainability [of impact finance] as a legal practice within Big Law," he said. "It's encouraging in terms of the general direction that Big Law is going."
Bourke's legal working group is evidence of the collaboration among firms in this burgeoning area. The association is a group of lawyers who are interested in impact investing, spending some of their free time discussing with one another trends in the field. They hold conferences and webinars to help educate each other on new developments. The group is international and well represented by Am Law 200 firms, including Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Morrison & Foerster; Goodwin Procter; DLA Piper; Cooley; Venable; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Shearman & Sterling.
Orrick and Reed Smith aren't the only ones formalizing practices in the space. Drinker Biddle & Reath has an impact investing, sustainability and benefit corporations team; Hogan Lovells has a social enterprise and finance practice; Goodwin Procter launched an impact and responsible investing practice; and Morrison Foerster has its own social enterprise and impact investing practice.
At the association level, Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, and Bourke's IILWG all gather attorneys interested in this area of work. Each year, conferences and meetings grow larger, Bourke said.
This space, also known as environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing or socially responsible investing (SRI), is growing rapidly.
According to US SIF Foundation's 2016 "Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends," one of every five dollars under professional management is invested according to socially responsible investing strategies. A press release from Orrick, announcing Teicher's new position, also noted the growth in the industry.
"According to the Global Impact Investing Network's 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey, over $22 billion was invested in nearly 8,000 impact transactions in 2016," the firm said. "There was a reported 15 percent increase in the amount of investments from 2015 to 2016, and the market is expected to grow another 17 percent through the end of 2017."
Bourke has seen that growth first hand, noting that in the past three years his working group has grown from a small pack of attorneys discussing positive impact in business and law to an organized group of around 100 lawyers.
"I see it only going in one direction; there's a lot of momentum in it," he says. "There's more and more acknowledgment that there's value in finding a middle ground between traditional business and philanthropy."
Perhaps millennials are worth their salt, after all.
Article posted July 18, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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Kirkland bankruptcy partner gives back amid cancer battle
Joshua Sussberg is goal-oriented. Once he sets his sights on a target, no obstacle can sidetrack him. Even if that obstacle is a rare form of lymphoma.
On April 26, 2016, the Kirkland & Ellis partner was diagnosed with acute T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and immediately pivoted from living life as he knew it to being a full-time cancer patient for eight months.
An experienced restructuring lawyer, the 39-year-old Sussberg is no stranger to distress. During his first stint of treatment directly following his diagnosis, he began setting goals for when he would return home, get back into the gym and return to work.
"I really like what I do. And even more, I like who I do it with," Sussberg said. "I miss doing that if I'm not there...I wanted to get back."
Kirkland was supportive of Sussberg in his fight for a clean bill of health. "Everyone said we want you to focus on getting back, because we know you're going to get back," he said.
Jennifer Sussberg, Josh's wife and a former lawyer, said that he was positive from the moment he entered the hospital. "I think Josh became an inspiration to everyone...He finished treatment [on] Dec. 22 and had his head right in the game," she said.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Sussberg, who has been busy this year pursuing reorganizations for bankrupt clients like children's clothing retailer The Gymboree Corp. and women's fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group LLC, has always had plans on his mind.
"I've always been someone that's goal-oriented and focused, because I think that if you don't set sights on specific things it's easy to sweat," he said. "So the first thing I wanted to know was how long does someone stay in the hospital for initial treatment? Four weeks. I was able to get out in three."
This determination to finish treatment and Sussberg's unwavering decision to enter remission as quickly as possible has endured throughout the length of his disease.
"I had my mind on this [being] an interim period of time," Sussberg said, adding that he never took his sights off of his self-imposed finish line on returning to work on Jan. 10 of this year.
Sussberg is the first to say that he probably should have given himself more time to recuperate before returning to work. Nicole Greenblatt, another partner in Kirkland's restructuring group, said that Sussberg came back to work as relentless as ever.
"Everyone was pretty elated to see him back in the office. He came back full steam ahead and it was like he never left," she said. "He's the kind of guy who will do whatever's necessary to achieve his objective. He does that with his clients and he did that with his sickness. Cancer never had a chance with him."
From the beginning, Sussberg blogged about his journey to keep friends and family updated. In his posts, Sussberg details everything from what it felt like to be told about the grapefruit-sized mass taking up real estate in his chest to the relief he felt about the last chemotherapy appointment of his treatment protocol.
He often wrote nostalgically and emotionally about the lessons he has learned from going through this. "I would have never thought that I would've kept something like that, but it ended up being very therapeutic and helpful," he said about the blog.
Sussberg said that he also kept writing for his sons to read in the future. Sussberg and his wife did not tell Jake (10), Ryan (7) and Brandon (4) the details or extent of their father's illness because the couple felt their kids were too young to handle such information.
"We told them the truth as much as we could without labeling it," said Jen Sussberg. The couple also sent an email out to community members that interacted with their children, asking them not to talk to the boys about their dad to avoid confusion. The task of shielding her children from their father's disease only added to Jenss stress.
"I don't even know how I got through," she said. "Sometimes you just have to play and not think."
Sussberg spoke and blogged extensively about how thankful he is for his wife, who he married in 2004, for having helped him through his treatment.
"I kind of want [our sons] to go back and see what their mom did and everything that went on," he said. "And I hope they know how fortunate we were."
Sussberg's good fortune is not lost on him. In his blog, he writes about how lucky he feels to be in his position. He had an endless flow of friends and family helping him with whatever he needed from companionship to childcare to medical expertise.
He also had health insurance and savings that allowed him to find the best medical professionals and treatment plan for his situation and jump in without financial stress. But he is aware that he is one of the lucky few with all those resources at their disposal.
He also had health insurance and savings that allowed him to find the best medical professionals and treatment plan for his situation and jump in without financial stress. But he is aware that he is one of the lucky few with all those resources at their disposal.
That is why he started the nonprofit Team Suss in December to provide financial and personal support to families affected by acute T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
"If I can raise enough money to just make it a little easier for one family, that'd be good enough for me," Sussberg said. "Having gone through it, I can see how people may need that and how difficult the circumstances may be."
Sussberg will call on his colleagues at Kirkland, which he joined in 2008, to eventually help out with any pro bono work related to Team Suss. He has already spoken with some associates at the firm that want to help, although the organization is still in its infancy. But by year's end, Sussberg expects Team Suss to be up and running.
"It's quite a process to figure it out and it takes a lot of time," he said. "I want to make sure I do it in a coordinated way and not half-launch it so it never goes anywhere."
For now, Sussberg is back at work in the three-year maintenance phase of his remission. This includes daily chemo pills, quarterly spinal taps to ensure that chemo gets to his brain, monthly intravenous drips and significant doses of steroids. Following the maintenance phase, he will likely need two new hips due to avascular necrosis-the loss of blood to the bone-caused by the heavy steroid dosage. He calls this regimen "no big deal."
Sussberg is already back up to speed in the gym, lifting weights and using the elliptical trainer for cardio. He commutes into Manhattan by car each day from his Westchester County home in Scarsdale, New York, so that he can make phone calls and get work done along the way. He does all of this, while still making time to be an attentive dad, husband and friend.
"He's got his swagger back," Jen said. "It's the same Josh with this voracious attitude towards life."
Sussberg said it best in his blog.
"Simply put, I have a lot left to do and this is just a speed bump," he wrote. "But it is a speed bump that has opened my eyes and sharpened my focus."
Article posted June 21, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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The richest law firms do more pro bono
If you want something done, ask a busy person. The top-grossing firms on the Am Law 200 did the most pro bono work this year, according to the results of our Pro Bono Survey. Not only are those firms making the most money, but they are doing the most volunteer work. We looked into how and why.
Our pro bono data shows that, when it comes to pro bono, the top quartile of Am Law 200 firms are outperforming the three quartiles that follow them in our gross revenue rankings. Attorneys at the top 50 firms averaged 71 hours of pro bono work each in 2016 while attorneys at the 150 lesser-ranked firms averaged between 39.1 and 45.9 pro bono hours. In the highest quartile, 58.7 percent of attorneys at those firms did more than 20 hours of pro bono work in 2016. Meanwhile 40.8 percent of attorneys in the second quartile, 36.4 percent in the third and 36.8 percent in the fourth worked more than 20 hours pro bono.
The highest quartile of the Am Law 200 was also more willing to report pro bono hours. Only four (8 percent) firms out of the top 50 did not provide data for our survey. Forty-eight firms (32 percent) of the remaining 150 declined to participate. So it's always possible that many firms in the lower ranks of the Am Law 200 actually have very high pro bono totals that for modesty's sake they do not wish to report.
Leaving aside that possibility, why the disparity? Tammy Taylor, director of the law firm pro bono project and operations at the Pro Bono Institute, cautions that the differences in pro bono commitment among firms have many causes, including firm culture, changes in management, the business cycle, head count and community culture, among other things.
That said, Taylor adds, "we have found that the busiest lawyers have the most pro bono hours."
Her colleague Reena Glazer, assistant director of the Pro Bono Institute's law firm projects, notes that higher ranked Am Law 200 firms tend to take on bigger pro bono matters, which leads to more pro bono hours for those firms.
This separation between the top 50 and the rest of the Am Law 200 in pro bono may also reflect financial stresses on firms with lower gross revenues. Firms that can charge premium rates may have more time for pro bono matters.
Indeed, our data showed that firms with higher revenue per lawyer (RPL) and profits per equity partner (PPP) did more pro bono. Firms in the top quartile of the Am Law 200 by RPL reported that their lawyers did 58.4 hours of pro bono work, on average, and that half of their lawyers did more than 20 hours, but those results declined in each subsequent RPL quartile. In the lowest quartile of firms ranked by RPL, each attorney worked just over 20 hours of pro bono, on average, and only 15.5 percent did more than 20 hours. Comparing pro bono results among firms ranked by PPP yielded a similar spread, from 57.2 pro bono hours per lawyer in the top quartile to 14 hours in the lowest, while the percentage of lawyers doing more than 20 hours dropped from almost 50 percent to less than 15 percent.
Richer firms may also be more willing to invest in pro bono as a way to attract and retain talent, Taylor and Glazer say. "Happiness, more attorney engagement, feeling like you're making a difference and all those sticky things that now there's science behind help," Glazer says, "because firms want to retain those people they see as the future of the firm. And pro bono is [a] way to do that."
It's worth pointing out that the top five firms in our pro bono survey rank in the lower three quartiles of the Am Law 200, suggesting that, at some firms at least, cultural factors outweigh financial considerations when it comes to pro bono. The No. 1 pro bono firm, Jenner & Block, is 70th in the Am Law 100, for instance. "Pro bono is a part of our DNA, one of our core values," says pro bono committee co-chair Andrew Vail.
He says that the reason Jenner attorneys do so much pro bono work-141 hours each in 2016, on average-is that they like it. "Our attorneys are diverse and have a diverse range of passions and take on matters that they are passionate about," he says.
Our pro bono data shows that, when it comes to pro bono hours worked, the top quartile of Am Law 200 firms are outperforming the three quartiles that follow them.
Article posted July 1, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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Latham partner's lawyer cites 'dog racism' in condo dispute
A breach of contract or dog racism? It depends on who you ask.
In a complaint filed last week in Manhattan Supreme Court against Michelle Kelban-Carteron, the board of managers at the Chelsea Modern condominium allege that the New York-based co-chair of Latham & Watkins' real estate practice committed breach of contract by owning and harboring an aggressive pit bull in her unit.
The suit, which immediately attracted the attention of New York tabloids, saw Kelban-Carteron retain high-profile local real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey. The latter claims this case is one of discrimination, plain and simple.
"I call this dog racism," Bailey said. "Because of [the dog's] breed, they're going after it."
Luna, the five-year-old pit bull mix in question, has lived in Kelban-Carteron's unit along with the Latham lawyer's husband, Gregory, since they bought into the condo in 2012. In June, Luna allegedly attacked a small Havanese mix named Kinje-who once befriended news personality Katie Couric-in front of the condo. This began the legal battle now faced by the Carterons.
Shortly after this incident, Kelban-Carteron secured certification deeming Luna a service dog for her husband. A doctor's note claims the dog provides emotional support following a cycling injury. Bailey confirmed that Carteron sued the federal government in January after allegedly being hit by a postal service truck while riding in Manhattan. (Edward Steinberg of New York's Leav & Steinberg, who is advising Carteron in that matter, did not immediately return a request for comment about the case.)
In response to suspicions about Luna's last minute service dog certification, Bailey said that his client's dog has not been aggressive in the past, so there had been no reason to officially certify Luna in order to protect her.
"[My clients] couldn't take precautions because it has never happened before," Bailey said.
Herbert Cohen, a name partner at New York's Stiefel Cohen & Foote, is representing the Chelsea Modern condo. Cohen called Luna vicious and claimed he has accumulated evidence suggesting that the canine has been unruly for at least a year. He also said that Luna's alleged aggression is not the problem at hand.
"The dog issue is a subplot," Cohen said. "The main issue is that there is a byline that empowers the condo board to exclude the dog."
The condo board claims in court documents that according to the contract that Kelban-Carteron signed when moving into her unit, the owners of the building may order that any pit bull be evicted from the premises.
Bailey, who periodically writes a real estate column for the New York Law Journal, believes that the complaint against Kelban-Carteron over Luna is a classic case of discrimination worthy of more press. (Pit bull defenders have often noted that the breed suffers from an undeserved, fearsome reputation.)
"I'm confident that the New York City Human Rights Commission will take this case and prosecute," Bailey said.
Cohen, the condo board's lawyer representing the Chelsea Modern, believes this will be an open-and-shut case, with none of the drama that Bailey predicts.
"It should be a simple case," he said. "The board in its discretion decided to exclude the dog and there's no reason the dog shouldn't be excluded."
Article posted July 3, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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This year, fewer but better-paid associates
As if law school weren't competitive enough, Am Law 200 firms are making rising second- and third-year law students work even harder to secure a spot among the dwindling number of summer associate positions offered in Big Law. Year over year, summer hires decreased an average of 2.02 percent at the 92 Am Law 200 firms participating in our Summer Associates Survey.
Still, the rewards got slightly better. The average salary for an Am Law 200 summer associate at surveyed firms is $3,285 per week, up 11.36 percent from last year, according to early data from the survey.
Among the firms responding to the survey, New York City remained the location with the most reported summer hires at 2,175, followed by Chicago with 311, Los Angeles with 299, and Boston with 222.
Eric Seeger, consultant at Altman Weil, says that firms are hiring fewer young lawyers due to decreased demand, as clients send less legal work to outside counsel. "A majority of firms are telling us that their partners are not busy enough," he said. "In firms where partners are having a hard time keeping themselves busy, they have less work to throw to associates."
Although most firms had only modest changes in their summer associate numbers, a few firms saw big swings year over year. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft cut its program the most on a percentage basis: 48.9 percent fewer summer associates, from 47 hires in 2016 to 24 this summer. Cadwalader managing partner Patrick Quinn said that the decreased hiring was intentional. "We made a conscious decision to keep our numbers down to ensure that we keep quality up and that our summers have a great experience," Quinn said in an email. "At our firm's current size, we are able to provide this size of summer class with a great experience with lots of very substantive and challenging work and a lot of personal attention."
Paul Hastings had the largest absolute drop in summer associates, from 132 in 2016 to 84 in 2017. Communications director Arielle Lapiano says that the firm's summer class of 2016 was unusually large. "Our program over the past couple of years [had] been a bit smaller," she says. "Last summer we felt like we needed to grow, and we ended up oversubscribing. We ended up extending a larger number of offers and having a larger number of acceptances. That year was the outlier."
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton had the biggest percentage increases in summer hires. Ogletree hired 83.3 percent more summer associates in 2017, although in actual numbers the gain was more modest: from 12 associates in 2016 to 22 in 2017. Cleary Gottlieb made the biggest splash in absolute numbers with 151 summer associates, 54 more summer hires than the 97 the firm made in 2016. Both Ogletree and Cleary Gottlieb declined to comment.
Four firms tied for the highest summer associate pay, $3,750 per week: Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson; Dechert; Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel; and Cooley. Tennessee-based Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz reported the lowest salary in the survey: $1,500 per week.
The survey also asked firms how many first-year associates they expect to welcome in the fall. In what is perhaps a bad omen for this year's summer associates, the average class size for incoming associates dropped to 38.6 new lawyers from 40.4.
Of firms surveyed in Altman Weil's Law Firms in Transition Survey, 46 percent expect to have the same number of associates or fewer over the next five years than they have right now. "That's not a rosy outlook for associates," Seeger says. Still, he says he believes that there will still be plenty of work opportunities for future law school graduates.
"Lawyers that can employ technology that increases speed and decreases cost will be very much in demand, whether they are working in a big law firm or some other setting," he says.
Article posted July 5, 2017. Site requires subscription to see full article text.
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Lifetime Achiever: Donald Flexner, Boies Schiller Flexner
"In the days when we worked together, he would always turn out the lights," says Richard Favretto, a partner at Mayer Brown, of his former Department of Justice colleague Donald Flexner.
Flexner worked late nights for the duration of his career, and with good reason. In 12 years with DOJ's Antitrust Division, where he rose to become deputy assistant attorney general and acting head, he oversaw major litigation such as United States v. AT&T, which ultimately led to the breakup of the telephone giant in 1984.
After leaving the DOJ in 1980, Flexner built a premiere antitrust practice at Washington, D.C.'s Crowell & Moring before joining a two-year-old litigation boutique called Boies & Schiller in 1999 as a name partner. His work since has helped power Boies Schiller Flexner into a 310-lawyer firm that ranks 82nd on the Am Law 100.
"The thing that has distinguished him among first-rate antitrust practitioners in the country is his judgment and the confidence people had in that judgment," says his partner David Boies, who adds, "Lawyers are not always the most liked people in the room, but I don't know anybody that doesn't like and admire Don Flexner."
"A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time," Flexner says of his career. "I have been an extraordinarily lucky lawyer for the opportunities that I've had in the government and in private practice."
Crowell & Moring was just a year old when Flexner joined in 1980. At Crowell, Flexner represented The Walt Disney Co. against Fox Sports West in the fight for the broadcasting rights of Disney's National Hockey League team, The Mighty Ducks. That case eventually settled outside of court. Also at Crowell, he represented now-President Donald Trump in his purchase of Eastern Air Shuttle in 1998.
Flexner joined Boies Schiller Flexner shortly thereafter in 1999 at the invitation of Boies, a friend since law school. "That was a magical opportunity," says Flexner. "I loved Crowell, but I could not give up the idea that practicing law with David, Jonathan [Schiller] and the group of people that we've developed over the years couldn't be passed up."
While at Boies Schiller, he has represented Northwest Airlines through its purchase by Delta Air Lines Inc. in a $2.6 billion merger to create the world's biggest airline. He also represented American Express Co., reversing a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that had found American Express had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.
"He really cares about the work and it shows," says Boies Schiller partner Jim Denvir, who worked with Flexner at the DOJ. "He also really cares about the people he works with and has a way of imbuing confidence in other people about his judgment and analytical abilities. I think people automatically like and trust him. That may be the most important thing making him able to succeed in public and private sectors."
Advice to Young Lawyers: "Follow your own star. Do the things that excite you. Keep in mind that there are people who can't … afford you and that it is the responsibility of lawyers to work on pro bono matters and work in the government."
If He Weren't a Lawyer, Flexner Would Be: "I [think I] would be in medicine because my family was a medical family, but I can't be sure. I think I would look at it as, 'What would be interesting, fun and challenging?'"
Article posted August 16, 2017. Site requires subscription to view full article text.