As firms set their goals for 2022, it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic is once again embedded in where the legal industry is going next. Here are three key priorities for firms as they move into yet another year shaped by COVID-19.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Follow Law360

LAW360 PULSE LEADERBOARD

COVID Fuels Top Firms' Priorities In 2022

As firms set their goals for 2022, it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic is once again embedded in where the legal industry is going next. Here are three key priorities for firms as they move into yet another year shaped by COVID-19.

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The Leaderboard: Tracking A Firm's Litigation Footprint

Follow a firm’s litigation footprint in federal district courts across the country with our interactive chart.

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TOP NEWS

Home Depot GC Urges SEC Immunity For Cyberattack Info

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should offer broader immunity to corporations who come forward with information regarding cyberattacks, a move that would help regulators and companies address increasingly sophisticated state-sponsored attacks, The Home Depot Inc.'s general counsel said Monday during a virtual panel discussion.

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Ex-Compliance Boss Walks Fine Line At Oxy Conspiracy Trial

A former pharmacy distribution compliance manager told a Manhattan federal jury Monday that he blames his former CEO boss for diverting opioids to non-legitimate patients, but he also spoke of efforts to comply with the law and said nobody intended for meds to wind up on the streets.

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Top DOJ Antitrust Enforcer Is No Fan Of Merger Settlements

The Justice Department's new antitrust chief signaled Monday that he's much more interested in blocking potentially anti-competitive mergers than in cutting deals that may not sufficiently safeguard competition, a potentially significant shift away from past policies focused heavily on allowing transactions in some form through divestitures.

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NY Banking Agency Pick Pledges 'Rigorous' Fintech Oversight

New York's interim top financial services regulator said Monday that she believes in "rigorous" oversight of fintech firms and expressed support for broadening her agency's enforcement powers as two key Albany committees moved her closer to confirmation.

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Gensler Says SEC To Fine Tune Cybersecurity Rules

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said Monday that his agency is looking to expand and modernize its regulatory framework around cybersecurity in the financial sector.

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U.S. SUPREME COURT

High Court Will Weigh CWA Jurisdiction Question

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it will review whether the Ninth Circuit used the right test to determine whether wetlands are subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

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Analysis

Why The High Court Is Diving Into Murky CWA Question

In a surprising move on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it will weigh in on how federal courts and agencies should determine whether a water body is subject to the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction, a controversial area of law but not one that has generated a huge difference of opinion in lower courts.

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High Court Takes Up Axon's FTC Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a case from law enforcement equipment supplier Axon Enterprise Inc., which is seeking to challenge the Federal Trade Commission's authority before the company is hauled into the agency's administrative process.

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Supreme Court To Hear Harvard Affirmative Action Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear a landmark challenge to Harvard University's race-conscious admissions policy, a case that could have massive ramifications for affirmative action in higher education.

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Analysis

Harvard's Daunting High Court Task: 'Get To 5 Votes'

Harvard University faces a difficult battle as it prepares to defend its race-conscious admissions policy to the U.S. Supreme Court, and experts say the school will need to lean on precedent and try to stake out a middle ground to appease the court's conservative supermajority.

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High Court To Skip Post-Firing Retaliation Fight In FCA Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday shot down a Detroit-area health system's bid for the justices to look at whether the False Claims Act's anti-retaliation protections for whistleblower workers apply to former employees as well.

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SECURITIES & BANKING

FinCEN Proposal Would Broaden Suspicious Activity Sharing

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a rule proposal Monday seeking public comment on a pilot program that would allow financial institutions to share suspicious activity reports, or SARs, with their foreign affiliates, although it largely excludes Chinese, Russian and any other affiliates in jurisdictions subject to U.S. sanctions.

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Latham Lands ESG Experts To Bolster Capital Markets Team

Latham & Watkins LLP bolstered its expertise on environmental, social and governance matters with the addition of two partners, the firm said Monday, strengthening its capital markets and public company group.

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HEALTH CARE & LIFE SCIENCES

1st Circ. Affirms Broad Gov't Power To End FCA Suits

The First Circuit affirmed Friday the dismissal of a whistleblower's complaint at the request of the federal government, adopting a new legal standard that follows the Fifth and D.C. Circuits, splits with the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, and gives the government broad power to shoot down False Claims Act lawsuits.

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COMPETITION

Analysis

Deals Boom Meets Expansive Biden Antitrust Agenda

The pace and value of corporate transactions soared to new heights in 2021 and signals point to an equally active environment in early 2022, creating a dynamic in which merger activity is surging as the Biden administration settles into a more ambitious and aggressive antitrust enforcement approach.

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FTC Still Needs More Money For Merger Reviews, Dems Say

Democrats on the Federal Trade Commission used the annual increase in merger reporting thresholds Monday as an opportunity to renew their call for higher filing fees, more Congressional appropriations and other, more fundamental changes to the U.S. transaction review system.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Broadcaster ID Searches Are Reasonable, FCC Tells DC Circ.

The National Association of Broadcasters and two other groups are making much ado about nothing when it comes to the Federal Communications Commission's new rules targeting advertisers sponsored by foreign governments, the agency told the D.C. Circuit in defense of its recent changes.

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PEOPLE

Zephyr Teachout To Join NY Attorney General's Office

Fordham University School of Law professor and once-gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout is taking a leave of absence from teaching to work for the New York Attorney General's Office, which confirmed the move on Monday.

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EXPERT ANALYSIS

Opinion

FTC Rulemaking Risks Expansion Of Unfair-Method Bounds

The Federal Trade Commission's plan to issue rules defining unfair methods of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act arguably exceeds the commission's power, and isn't justified, because the current case-by-case approach to promoting competition through adjudication is preferable, says Sean Gates at Charis Lex.

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Settlement Holds ERISA Lessons For Private Co. Directors

The U.S. Department of Labor’s recent settlement with Kurt Manufacturing board members and Reliance Trust illustrates potential consequences under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for private company directors and fiduciaries who exercise too much influence over employee stock ownership plan transactions, says Carol Buckmann at Cohen & Buckmann.

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LEGAL INDUSTRY

Beyond Big: Smaller, Hyperfocused Firms Still Stand Out

Many of the biggest, most profitable law firms are continuing to get bigger. But that doesn't mean there's less room for smaller firms to occupy a leadership position in a set of practices or with a standout culture.

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2 More BigLaw Firms Match Milbank Associate Pay Raises

Washington, D.C.-based WilmerHale and New York City-based Boies Schiller Flexner LLP are among the firms increasing their associates' salaries to match the pay scale recently set by Milbank LLP, Law360 Pulse confirmed Tuesday.

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Nearly 1 In 2 Large UK Firms Seeking Mergers To Grow Faster

Almost half of large U.K. law firms are actively looking to merge with other firms, acquire, or be acquired, hoping not to be left behind in an increasingly consolidated market, according to a new study by Acquira Professional Services.

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Biden Gets New District Court Vacancies In Calif., Mo.

President Joe Biden will have new district court vacancies opening this year in Missouri and California, as two judges have announced their intent to take senior status, according to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.

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Apple, Panasonic Patent Trials Delayed Amid Omicron Surge

Two California federal patent trials have been postponed amid the pandemic's omicron surge, with Panasonic's suit accusing Getac of infringing its "Toughbook" design patents delayed until June and a case claiming Apple's AirPods infringe a startup's intellectual property now pushed to March.

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MacArthur Justice Center Taps Veteran Litigator As Director

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center has elevated a civil rights litigator with experience arguing high-stake cases to executive director, the nonprofit said Tuesday.

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NY Court Reporters Challenge Courthouse Vax Mandate

The New York State Unified Court System "disparaged and rejected" the religious beliefs of court employees when it denied their exemption requests from the system's COVID-19 vaccination requirement, a group of court reporters alleged Tuesday in a federal lawsuit. 

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Dominion Sees No 'Realistic Possibility' Of Libel Settlement

Dominion Voting Systems Corp. told a D.C. federal court that it does not believe there's any "realistic possibility" of settling its $1.3 billion lawsuits against former Trump lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell over election rigging claims.

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Texas Bar Claims Immunity From Membership Fee Suit

The State Bar of Texas moved to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit Monday, arguing that its position as a state agency prohibits attorneys from suing it to claw back membership fees.

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Attys Say 11th Circ. FDCPA Ruling Could Harm Their Practices

Nineteen state creditor bar associations urged the Eleventh Circuit Tuesday to reverse its decision reviving a debtor's claim that a debt collector violated federal privacy laws by transmitting his personal information to a third-party mail vendor, saying such an interpretation would "functionally grind collection litigation to a halt."

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Law360 MVPs 2021

LAW FIRMS

Akin Gump

Axinn Veltrop

Beveridge & Diamond

Boies Schiller

Bracewell LLP

Briscoe Ivester

Brooks Wilkins

Camara & Sibley

Charis Lex

Clare Locke

Cohen & Buckmann

Consovoy McCarthy

Cooley LLP

Covington & Burling

Crowell & Moring

Davis Polk

Debevoise & Plimpton

Duval & Stachenfeld

Fenwick & West

Fish & Richardson

Gibson Dunn

Goodman Derrick

Goodwin Procter

Hogan Lovells

Hunton Andrews

Husch Blackwell

Janey Law Firm

Jenner & Block

Kaufman Dolowich

King & Spalding

Kirkland & Ellis

Latham & Watkins

McGuireWoods

Milbank LLP

Morrison & Foerster

Nixon Peabody

Orrick Herrington

Parker Daniels Kibort

Paul Hastings

Porzio Bromberg

Robert C. Gottlieb & Associates

Royds Withy

Seraph Legal

Sidley Austin

Simpson Thacher

Sullivan & Cromwell

Susman Godfrey

Vinson & Elkins

Wachtell Lipton

Weightmans LLP

Whitaker Chalk

WilmerHale

COMPANIES

ARM Holdings PLC

Activision Blizzard Inc.

Amazon.com Inc.

American Bar Foundation

American Hospital Association

Apple Inc.

Atlantic Legal Foundation Inc.

Axon Enterprise Inc.

BTI Consulting Group Inc.

Boston University

Cato Institute

First American Financial Corp.

Fordham University

Gallup Inc.

Georgetown University

Getac Technology Corp.

Getty Images Inc.

Google LLC

Harvard University

Intuit Inc.

LendingClub Corp.

LexisNexis Group

LinkedIn Corp.

Major Lindsey & Africa LLC

Microsoft Corp.

NVIDIA Corp.

National Association of Broadcasters

New York State Bar Association

New York University

Pacific Legal Foundation

Panasonic Corp.

Pearson PLC

RELX PLC

Refinitiv US Holdings Inc.

Reliance Trust Co.

Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.

Simon & Schuster Inc.

SolarWinds Corp.

The Allstate Corp.

The Home Depot Inc.

The New York Times Co.

TransUnion LLC

Twitter Inc.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Vermont Law School

Wilmington Trust Corp.

Zeughauser Group LLC

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Federal Communications Commission

Federal Reserve System

Federal Trade Commission

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

Food and Drug Administration

New York Attorney General's Office

New York Department of Financial Services

New York State Senate

New York State Unified Court System

State Bar of Texas

Texas Supreme Court

U.S. Army

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island

U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

U.S. Supreme Court