California Pulse

  • The Top In-House Hires Of April

    Legal department hires during the past few weeks included high-profile appointments at Sony Pictures, TikTok and IBM. Here, Law360 Pulse looks at some of the top in-house announcements from April.

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    Yoga Lawyer: A Way of Being In The (Legal) World

    More than a decade ago, a stressful job and a pile of physical ailments prompted attorney Cindy Pensoneau to take a deep dive into yoga. Today, she continues to work as both a lawyer and as a yoga teacher, illustrating the growing role that the ancient mind-body practice can play in improving attorney mental health.

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    GCs Help Companies Close The Gap On Mental Health Efforts

    While they wait for their companies to implement more wellness policies that reach the root causes of employees’ stress and burnout, some general counsel and chief legal officers are filling the gap to help their law teams feel more supported.

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    Here's Why This GC Went Public With Her Bipolar Diagnosis

    Kelly Rentzel, who has held several general counsel positions throughout her career, largely credits her law degree for giving her the confidence to talk publicly about her bipolar diagnosis — which is something she had contemplated for two decades before taking the initial steps that ultimately led her to a lectern.

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    Ex-Edison Energy GC, McDermott Atty Joins Troutman In LA

    Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP is expanding its West Coast infrastructure team, announcing Tuesday it is bringing in a McDermott Will & Emery LLP emerging energy technologies expert who was previously general counsel with Edison Energy Group to be a partner in its Los Angeles office.

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    Womble Bond Promotes UK Partner To Innovation Chief

    Womble Bond Dickinson in the U.K. has elevated partner and head of innovation Sam Dixon to chief innovation officer, the transatlantic law firm announced earlier this week.

  • 9th Circ. Says Calif. Bar Didn't Violate Student's Fed. Rights

    The Ninth Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the dismissal of an octogenarian law school student's claims that the State Bar of California violated his 14th Amendment protected rights when it refused to excuse his delay in taking a first-year exam, saying the California Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over admission matters.

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    A&O Shearman Faces Challenge To Unify Distinct Markets

    As the newly combined Allen Overy Shearman Sterling launches Wednesday, so far the signs are that the biggest merger in the sector in a decade may leave two distinct markets operating on either side of the Atlantic.

  • Conn. Firm Settles Copyright Feuds Over Website Photos

    The Connecticut consumer law firm Lemberg Law LLC and its managing attorney have agreed to settle two suits tied to a multistate copyright battle with a stock photo provider that arose in 2020 after the firm was accused of using images on its website without permission, and then countered that it was the victim of an extortion attempt.

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    Husch Blackwell Adds Labor & Employment Litigator In LA

    Husch Blackwell LLP announced Tuesday that it is expanding its labor and employment team, adding a litigator who ran his own firm for nearly a decade as partner to its Los Angeles office.

  • ABA Knocks Down 'Implausible' Data Breach Class Action

    The American Bar Association members suing the organization over a data breach have not identified any security measures the ABA failed to take, a New York federal judge said Tuesday when nixing what the organization called the members' "implausible" proposed class action.

  • Know Your AI Tools' Limits, Silicon Valley Arbitrators Warn

    All participants in an arbitration proceeding that incorporates artificial intelligence are responsible for understanding the tech's use and limitations, according to guidelines released Tuesday by the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center.

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    Squire Patton Taps Leader For New Insurance Disputes Group

    Squire Patton Boggs LLP has created a new practice that brings together its long-standing dispute work for insurance companies, naming a partner who represents some of the largest U.S. insurance companies to lead the new practice, the firm said Tuesday.

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    Return To Office Poses Pitfalls For Atty Mental Health

    As a therapist specialized in treating lawyers, Stacey Dougan hears a lot about law firm politics, addiction and the career's overwhelming demands. But lately, her clients have been bringing up a new source of anxiety: returning to the office.

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    Mid-Law Not Immune To Structural Mental Health Challenges

    Despite the common narrative that lawyers can trade higher pay for better well-being and work-life balance by moving to smaller firms, experts say that Mid-Law firms are generally facing the same industry pressures that contribute to long hours, stress and poor attorney mental health.

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    Ethics Probes Take Mental Toll On Solo, Small Firm Attorneys

    Facing a disciplinary complaint can take a toll on any attorney’s mental health. But for solo practitioners and small firm lawyers, who typically juggle all aspects of their business from handling client matters to administrative tasks like managing trust accounts, it can threaten to upend their lives.

  • Atty, Pot Entrepreneurs Get Conspiracy Claims Thrown Out

    A California state appeals court has thrown out claims against a group of attorneys and cannabis entrepreneurs that they were part of a "straw man practice" conspiracy to monopolize the San Diego cannabis market, finding the complaint failed to allege they did anything illegal.

  • A&O Shearman Names UK And US Managing Partners

    Allen & Overy LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP named on Tuesday the partners set to lead the soon-to-be merged A&O Shearman for the U.S. and U.K. markets.

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    GRSM50 Moves Oakland Office To Walnut Creek In California

    Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP has moved its office in Oakland to a new space in Walnut Creek that will accommodate a growing roster and better serve clients across Northern California.

  • OpenAI Case Not Ready For Lead Counsel Pick, Judge Says

    A California federal judge has rejected authors' pick for interim lead counsel in a case accusing OpenAI of copyright infringement, ruling that the request was made too early and must wait until class certification has been decided.

  • Robinhood's Top Lawyer Saw Pay Slashed By 29% In 2023

    Dan Gallagher, the chief legal officer for online securities trading company Robinhood, earned $10.7 million in 2023, a nearly 30% decrease from the $15.1 million he came away with in 2022, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • NY Atty Gets 10 Years In Prison For Trying To Have Ex Killed

    A New York attorney convicted of arranging to pay a hitman to murder the mother of his two young children has been sentenced in California federal court to 10 years behind bars, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

  • Colo. Judge Moves Toward Eastman DQ Over Calif. Discipline

    A Colorado federal judge has ordered former Donald Trump lawyer John C. Eastman to explain why he shouldn't be disqualified from representing plaintiffs in a civil suit after a California disciplinary judge suspended his law license and recommended disbarment in March.

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    Alphabet, Google CLO Saw Comp Surpass $27M Last Year

    Kent Walker, a longtime Google lawyer who is now the legal chief at the technology behemoth and its parent company Alphabet, earned more than $27.3 million in compensation in 2023, according to a recent securities filing, as the business continues to grapple with antitrust cases at both the federal and state levels.

  • Smollett Atty Wants Sanctions Over Missing Therapy Records

    An attorney for Jussie Smollett has asked an Illinois federal judge for another round of sanctions after two brothers who allegedly helped stage a hate crime against the actor failed to turn over discovery, saying they've refused to turn over records or answer questions in the defamation suit pertaining to their mental health treatment.

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Expert Analysis

  • Modernizing Legal Education Through Hybrid JD Programs Author Photo

    Amid pandemic-era shifts in education, law schools and other stakeholders should consider the wide geographic and demographic reach of Juris Doctor programs with both online and in-person learning options, and educators should think through the various ways hybrid programs can be structured, says Stephen Burnett at All Campus.

  • How BigLaw Can Mirror Small Firm Attorney Engagement Author Photo

    BigLaw has the unique opportunity to hit refresh post-pandemic and enhance attorney satisfaction by adopting practices that smaller firms naturally employ — including work assignment policies that can provide junior attorneys steady professional development, says Michelle Genet Bernstein at Mark Migdal.

  • Ditch The Annual Review To Boost Attorney Job Satisfaction Author Photo

    In order to attract and retain the rising millennial generation's star talent, law firms should break free of the annual review system and train lawyers of all seniority levels to solicit and share frequent and informal feedback, says Betsy Miller at Cohen Milstein.

  • How Attorneys Can Narrow LGBTQ Gap In The Judiciary Author Photo

    Lawyers can take several steps to redress the lack of adequate LGBTQ representation on the bench and its devastating impact on litigants and counsel in the community, says Janice Grubin, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee at the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York.

  • Employers Must Heed Rising Attorney Stress And Alcohol Use Author Photo

    Krill Strategies’ Patrick Krill, who co-authored a new study that revealed alarming levels of stress, hazardous drinking and associated gender disparities among practicing attorneys, highlights how legal employers can confront the underlying risk factors as both warnings and opportunities in the post-COVID-19 era.

  • Lawyers Can Get Ready For Space Law To Take Flight Author Photo

    While international agreements for space law have remained relatively unchanged since their creation decades ago, the rapid pace of change in U.S. laws and policies is creating opportunities for both new and veteran lawyers looking to break into this exciting realm, in either the private sector or government, says Michael Dodge at the University of North Dakota.

  • Series

    Ask A Mentor: What Makes A Successful Summer Associate? Author Photo

    Navigating a few densely packed weeks at a law firm can be daunting for summer associates, but those who are prepared to seize opportunities and not afraid to ask questions will be set up for success, says Julie Crisp at Latham.

  • How To Successfully Market Your Summer Associate Program Author Photo

    Law firms can attract the right summer associate candidates and help students see what makes a program unique by using carefully crafted messaging and choosing the best ambassadors to deliver it, says Tamara McClatchey, director of career services at the University of Chicago Law School.

  • Opinion

    Judges Deserve Congress' Commitment To Their Safety Author Photo

    Following the tragic attack on U.S. District Judge Esther Salas' family last summer and amid rising threats against the judiciary, legislation protecting federal judges' personal information and enhancing security measures at courthouses is urgently needed, says U.S. District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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    Ask A Mentor: How Can Recalcitrant Attys Use Social Media? Author Photo

    Social media can be intimidating for reluctant lawyers but it can also be richly rewarding, as long as attorneys remember that professional accounts will always reflect on their firms and colleagues, and follow some best practices to avoid embarrassment, says Sean Marotta at Hogan Lovells.

  • Keys To Digitizing Inefficient Contract Management Processes Author Photo

    Neville Eisenberg and Mark Grayson at BCLP explain how they sped up contract execution for one client by replacing email with a centralized, digital tool for negotiations and review, and how the principles they adhered to can be helpful for other law firms looking to improve poorly managed contract management processes.

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    Ask A Mentor: How Can Firms Coach Associates Remotely? Author Photo

    Practicing law through virtual platforms will likely persist even after the pandemic, so law firms and senior lawyers should consider refurbishing their associate mentoring programs to facilitate personal connections, professionalism and effective training in a remote environment, says Carol Goodman at Herrick Feinstein.

  • 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.

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