LIBOR DEAL REPORTED

A UBS A.G. subsidiary was close to settling criminal ­charges related to manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a key financial benchmark, The New York Times reported. The deal calls for penalties of around $1 billion, the newspaper said, citing “people briefed on the matter.”

CHINA PULLS AHEAD

Last year, for the first time, more patent applications were filed in China than in the United States. The World Intel­lectual Property Organization reported that China’s patent office took in 526,412 applications, compared to 503,582 in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and 342,610 in Japan’s patent office.

GC PAY SLIPS SLIGHTLY

General counsel at major corporations saw their base salaries rise by 1.9 percent to $567,924 in 2012, ­according to figures released by the Association of Corporate Counsel. Annual cash bonuses, however, dipped by 7.9 percent on average, to $543,109. Total direct compensation fell by 2.2 percent, to $1,122,834.

LAW FIRM DIVERSITY

The picture for women and minorities at the nation’s law firms changed only marginally during 2012, with the percentage of female associates declining slightly for the third consecutive year while the number of women and minority group members ticked up, according to NALP. Women accounted for a shade more than 45 percent of associates and nearly 20 percent of partners. Some 6.7 percent of partners belonged to minority groups.

HEAD START ON BAR EXAM

The Arizona Supreme Court gave the green light on December 10 to an ­experiment allowing third-year law ­students to take the bar exam before they graduate, a move law school officials hoped would give students a leg up in the job market. The change would allow qualifying 3Ls to take the exam in February, months before graduation.

METHANE LAWSUIT

Seven Northeastern states signalled they were preparing to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. Although the EPA in 2009 found that methane (along with other greenhouse gases) endangers the public’s health and welfare by contributing to global warming, the agency has not imposed controls on methane emissions.

SCOUTS, MORMONS SUED

A 28-year-old plaintiff has filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia against the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of sexual abuse by his scoutmaster, who also was a church youth leader. The lawsuit could presage a sexual-abuse scandal involving more major institutions in Pennsylvania, following scandals involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State University.

GC TARGETED

A former Pennsylvania State University administrator ­facing criminal charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal has filed a court document indicating that he plans to sue former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, indicating he intends to sue her for legal malpractice. Beyond naming legal malpractice as a possible cause of action, the details of Gary Schultz’s allegations in civil court were not immediately clear.