England member firm Mills & Reeve has been listed in The Sunday Times’ “Best 100 Companies to Work For” for a record-breaking 17th year in a row. Also, managing partner Claire Clarke has been named one of The Lawyer’s “Hot 100 for 2020.” Finally, private client team associate Emma Watton was recognized as a “future leader” at the Citywealth Powerwomen Awards 2020. The awards spotlight individuals and companies who support caregiving responsibilities, female leadership, and celebrate diversity.

Inna Belopolsky has joined Pennsylvania member firm Eckert Seamans as a member of the intellectual property group in the firm’s Philadelphia office. A patent and intellectual property attorney, she most recently served as lead intellectual property counsel for specialty pharmaceutical company iCeutica. She was also the first in-house patent counsel hired at Teva Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Belopolsky began her career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. She is a graduate of Widener University School of Law.

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2020 Midyear Meeting Cancelled
SCG Legal’s 2020 midyear meeting, which was to have been held in Lisbon in May, has been cancelled due to the global coronavirus outbreak. Plans are already under way to reschedule the meeting for next year in Lisbon. Details regarding this year’s annual meeting, which will be held September 20th and 21st in San Francisco, will be coming soon.

Maryland member firm Rifkin Weiner Livingston is pleased to inform you that the historic capital plan to preserve and enhance the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore and enhance year-round thoroughbred horse racing at Laurel Park has passed the Maryland General Assembly and is now on the Governor’s desk. Click here for full story.

The Honorable Peter Houk of Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock has been inducted into the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. Mr. Houk has practiced law for 50 years. He was city attorney for Lansing, prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, and assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan before being appointed to the bench in 1986. He also taught criminal law at Thomas M. Cooley Law School for twenty years. Mr. Houk is a Fellow of the State Bar of Michigan, is on the American Arbitration Association list of approved mediators and arbitrators for construction and commercial matters and is a Western District of Michigan court-approved mediator. 

Catherine Duke has joined Connecticut member firm Robinson & Cole as its chief talent officer. She will be responsible for the overall professional development, performance management, integration and inclusion of the lawyers and staff at the firm. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Duke was legal director of the labor and employment department at Proskauer Rose. She also practiced white-collar criminal defense and business and commercial litigation at two different New York-based law firms. Ms. Duke is a graduate of Yale Law School. 

Chris Nolan of Kentucky member firm McBrayer’s MML&K Government Solutions has been named by Leadership Louisville to the Bingham Fellows Class of 2020. The Bingham Fellows program brings together leaders from the Louisville community to address critical issues in the region. Mr. Nolan has more than two decades of lobbying and policy experience as a member of MML&K Government Solutions. Also at McBrayer, Bruce Paul joins as a litigator in the firm’s intellectual property group. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.

Washington member firm Carney Badley Spellman has reelected Tana Materi as vice president of the firm’s business department. Ms. Materi focuses her practice on corporate and commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, limited liability companies, and joint ventures. Scott Penner has been elected vice president of the litigation department. Mr. Penner concentrates his practice on construction law, design professional defense, insurance coverage and subrogation and litigation. Mark Rosencrantz has been elected a shareholder in the firm. His practice focuses on business and commercial disputes, including trade secret misappropriation, violations of non-compete agreements, fraud, bankruptcy, unfair trade practices, and partnership and corporate disputes. Haiyan Tao has joined the firm as an associate. Ms. Tao focuses on entity formation, securities filings with the SEC and state regulators, drafting corporate documents and ancillary transactional documents, maintaining minute books of corporate clients, and administration of equity incentive plans. She is a native Mandarin speaker. Rob Weber has been reelected director at large on the firm’s board of directors. Mr. Weber’s practice focuses on real estate, banking and corporate transactions. Finally, Todd Summerfelt has retired as the firm’s COO, following a 35-year tenure. 

Germany member firm GvW Graf von Westphalen has bundled its expertise in the insurance industry to form a new insurance specialty group. Johan van der Veer, who specializes in insurance law, insurance supervisory law and insurance distribution, heads the new practice group together with Dr. Wolfram Desch. In addition to insurance companies and insurance intermediaries, such as insurance offices, brokers and broker pools, the firm’s clients also include technology companies, also known as insuretechs. The group also advises industrial clients in all legal matters related to the insurance industry.

Brent Baker, Jonathan Bletzacker and Aaron Lebenta have joined Utah member firm Parsons Behle & Latimer in its litigation, securities and regulatory enforcement practice group. Mr. Baker concentrates his practice on SEC enforcement and regulatory defense, private securities litigation and government and independent investigations. In his regulatory practice, Mr. Bletzacker assists clients in solving sophisticated SEC-related issues and has successfully represented clients against the SEC in multiple federal district courts in the U.S. Finally, Mr. Lebenta represents clients in civil litigation, appellate work, internal investigations and defense of government and regulatory enforcement actions by the SEC, state and federal agencies. The firm’s litigation, trials and appeals practice group is one of largest, most experienced and diverse teams in the Intermountain Region. Also at Parsons Behle & Latimer, Julianne Blanch has been admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America. There are currently approximately only 5,800 members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows and Honorary Fellows. Ms. Blanch is chairperson of the firm’s litigation, trial and appeals practice group. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School. 

New York City member firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the watchdog group American Oversight, alleging that an informal task force advising President Trump on presidential pardons is running afoul of the law. The lawsuit claims the group violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act because it did not file a charter and did not share its meetings and documents with the public. In February, President Trump granted several pardons, including to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, businessman Michael Milken and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo. Also at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, the firm has released the second edition of its New York Commercial Division Practice Guide. As with the first edition, the guide contains useful information about litigating in the commercial division of the New York State Supreme Court. The second edition has been updated to reflect rule changes and noteworthy decisions by the commercial division as well as appellate court decisions reviewing commercial division cases. The second edition also has a new foreword by former New York County Commercial Division Justice Eileen Bransten. Co-edited by Stephen Younger and Muhammad Faridi and published by Bloomberg Law, the practice guide is available to Bloomberg Law subscribers here. For a print version of the guide, please contact Stephen Younger or Muhammad Faridi.

Anna Loess has joined Wisconsin member firm DeWitt as a member of its family law and estate planning groups in the firm’s Madison office. Ms. Loess focuses her practice on family law, elder law, estate planning, and probate and trust matters. In the area of family law, she represents clients in divorce and legal separation, maintenance, child support, physical placement and custody issues, property division and complex division issues including retirement and business assets, paternity actions, grandparent visitation, same-sex litigation matters, litigation cases involving never-married parties, elder law divorce matters, and pre- and post-nuptial marital property agreements. She is a graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Appearing before the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Erin Berney of Alberta member firm Field Law secured a decision that has the potential to affect condominium boards across Canada. In Condominium Corporation No 042 5177 v Kuzio, the Court ruled that condominium boards in Alberta have legal authority to adopt bylaws that prohibit, restrict or regulate the operation of units as short-term Airbnb-style rentals. Condominium corporations whose bylaws include commercial prohibitions or requirements for single-family, residential use of the units will also likely be able to rely on those provisions to restrict short-term rentals of their properties. The Court of Queen’s Bench is the superior trial court for the province, hearing trials in civil and criminal matters and appeals from decisions of the provincial court.

Glenn Ackerley of Ontario member firm WeirFoulds received the Donald P. Giffin, Sr. Construction Industry Achievement Award at the Toronto Construction Association’s annual meeting last month. The most prestigious of TCA’s annual Best of the Best Awards, the Giffin Award recognizes individuals and organizations that through major contributions they have made to its progress and development have benefitted the construction industry. Also at WeirFoulds, Greg Richards is one of two recipients of the Ontario Bar Association’s 2020 Joel Kuchar Award for Professionalism and Civility, which honors an OBA member who has consistently demonstrated exemplary commitment to the ideals of professionalism and civility in the practice of law.  

Australian member firm Hall & Wilcox is a finalist in the Client Choice Awards, independently researched by leading Australia professional advisory body, Beaton, and based on clients’ ratings of the firm’s service, in the categories “Best Law & Related Services Firm ($50-$200m revenue)” and “Best Provider to Financial & Insurance Services Industry.” The firm has again received an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Doyle’s Guide 2020 has also recommended the firm’s employment teams in Victoria and New South Wales and its workplace health and safety team in Victoria, with partners Mark Dunphy, Alison Baker and Aaron Dearden listed as leading lawyers. Finally, John Gray has joined the Sydney office as a partner, expanding the firm’s technology, digital economy, corporate and commercial expertise.

Texas member firm McGinnis Lochridge attorney Ashton Cumberbatch, Jr. was honored for his service to the Austin Black Lawyers Association and the Austin legal community at the group’s 2020 Andrea Pair Bryant Legacy Luncheon. Mrs. Bryant, in whose memory the event is held, was a longtime IBM patent attorney, ABLA founder and Austin community activist. She died in 2012 at the age of 69. Also at McGinnis Lochridge, Austin Brister, Martha Todd, Ana Navarette, Chris Halgren, Jordan Mullins and Lindsey Roskopf have been recognized as “rising stars” in the 2020 edition of Texas Super Lawyers.

Former Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross will join Delaware member firm Richards, Layton & Finger, after retiring from the bench earlier this month. Judge Gross, who served for 14 years on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, will become a director of the firm’s bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice, effective April 1. As a judge for one of the nation’s busiest bankruptcy courts, he oversaw some of the nation’s most complex bankruptcy cases, including Nortel’s Chapter 11 case and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ reorganization. Judge Gross will continue to serve as a mediator in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and will also be available to serve as an examiner. He is a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law.

By now, it is a truism that Chief Justice John Roberts’ statement to the Senate Judiciary 
Committee that a Supreme Court justice’s role is the passive one of a neutral baseball 
‘umpire who [merely] calls the balls and strikes’ was a masterpiece of disingenuousness. . . . 
Rather, the Court’s hard right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy.”

 – U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in his article,
“The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” which charges the U.S. Supreme Court is tilting
toward the rich and powerful at the expense of equal justice and democratic values.

Improvisation Abounds, As Coronavirus Spreads
Courts across the nation are taking action in different ways to protect staff and visitors as concerns over the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the legal community. In New York, a key federal trial court announced it is prohibiting guests who have visited certain affected countries from entering its Manhattan building, while in Seattle, which is also dealing with the outbreak, all proceedings requiring in-person hearings have been suspended. The policy announced by the Southern District of New York Monday followed news that two local attorneys earlier this month were diagnosed with the illness, also known as coronavirus. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit also sent out calendar notices to litigants slated to appear for oral arguments from March 17 to 20. The notice asks lawyers to notify the court if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or if they have been exposed to anyone in the past 14 days who may have been infected with the coronavirus. “This will enable the Court to reschedule an argument that might otherwise risk spreading the Coronavirus,” the notice said.