Hi All,

Law.com’s litigation editor Ian Lopez back one last time before Leigh Jones retakes the reins. Here’s some news to help you get started for the week.

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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

LAWYERS IN THE HOUSE - Democrats are taking over Congress, and they’re bringing in new legal talent with them. As Ryan Lovelace reports, House Democrats began building out their legal team once it became clear they would claim the House majority, posting a job listing a day after the midterms for an attorney for congressional investigations and advising on policies related to the executive branch. What’s more, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought on a new general counsel last month, while former U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli brought suit on behalf of House Democrats to take on the most recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act. And the party isn’t stopping there—as part of a new rules package, House Democrats nixed a procedural hurdle requiring lawmakers to sit in for depositions. The move, as Ryan Barber reports, makes it easier for a committee’s lawyers to question administration officials and corporate executives under investigation.

FALLING BEHIND - Friday’s U.S. employment report offered some welcome positive news on the nationwide economic front, showing an unexpectedly strong increase of 312,000 jobs across all industries last month. The legal sector, on the other hand, shed 600 jobs in December, as Scott Flaherty reports. The industry’s total employment numbers remained remarkably stable over the course of 2018, hovering between 1.13 and 1.14 million people. But that’s little consolation for anyone caught up in last month’s decline.

FIRM FAILURE? - The suicide of Eversheds Sutherland partner Geraint Thomas takes on an “added significance” because of its connection with the #MeToo movement, writes Paul Hodkinson. After Geraint’s death, which followed complaints of inappropriate behavior toward two women at an Eversheds Christmas party, a partner at the firm noted that the women must feel terrible. However, as Hodkinson notes,“calling out the behavior of a partner who had held such status for more than 15 years sounds pretty courageous.” He writes: “Like so many other businesses, law firms are arguably paying the price for failing to adequately address complaints from mistreated staff in years gone by. Had they been quicker to crack down on such behavior before, perhaps there would not be such a groundswell of anger today which has left them playing catch-up on #MeToo issues.”


 

EDITOR’S PICKS

 

Supreme Court to Review Patent Office Ban on Vulgar Trademarks

Herb Kelleher, Lawyer Who Co-Founded Southwest Airlines With His Client, Dies at 87

Skadden Securities Team Sees ‘Event-Driven’ Class Actions as Continuing Trend for 2019 Jenner & Block Defending Powerful Chicago Alderman Ed Burke in Extortion Case

Kirkland, Latham and Wilmer Fight Trump’s Transgender Troop Ban at SCOTUS

SCOTUS Takes Up 2 Partisan Gerrymandering Cases


 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

 

GREAT WALL - The divide between China and the U.S. seems to be growing, and Asia-based lawyers are concerned. As Anna Zhang reports, Asia-based lawyers are uncertain about China opportunities for 2019.But some, like Paul Hastings’ Neil Torpe, are more optimistic about Southeast Asia. In Torpey’s telling, global trade disputes have companies moving production out of China to other Asian nations, while K&L Gates’ David Hang speaks of a strengthening position in Singapore.


 

WHAT YOU SAID

“A right of ‘cross–examination’ implemented by a single individual acting as investigator, prosecutor, factfinder and sentencer, is incompatible with adversarial questioning designed to uncover the truth.”

—  JUSTICE THOMAS L. WILLHITE JR., WRITING IN A CALIFORNIA SECOND DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OPINION  SETTING ASIDE A FORMER UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL PLAYER’S EXPULSION. WILLWHITE FOUND A TITLE IX INVESTIGATOR HAD “OVERLAPPING AND CONFLICTING ROLES” WHEN LOOKING INTO RAPE ALLEGATIONS.

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