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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
GAME ON - Judge Richard Leon in D.C. federal court has rejected a bid by the DOJ to delay today’s hearing in a lawsuit brought by federal employees suing over the Trump administration’s partial government shutdown, which, they say, is unconstitutional and in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The judge on Saturday rebuffed the DOJ’s motion for an 8-day delay of oral arguments to determine whether he should issue a TRO sought by employees at, among other agencies, the Department of Transportation; the Department of Agriculture; and the Department of Homeland Security. A hearing is scheduled for noon.
BIG NUMBERS - If you thought enforcement actions against companies would decline under the Trump administration, looks like you were wrong. Sue Reisinger reports that monetary recoveries exploded to nearly $8.1 billion, up from $2.7 billion in 2017, according to Gibson Dunn’s 2018 Year-End Update on Corporate Non-Prosecution Agreements and Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Last year’s recoveries nearly matched the 2012 high of $9 billion.
NOT SO MUCH - OK, so maybe robots aren’t taking over the legal profession. Only 10 percent of lawyers used artificial intelligence-based tech tools for their legal work in 2018, according to the ABA’s “2018 Legal Technology Survey Report,” which included 900 respondents from across the nation and at firms of various sizes. Victoria Hudgins reports that lawyers at firms with more than 100 attorneys were most likely to use the technology (26 percent). More specifically, 35 percent of respondents from firms with 500-plus attorneys reported they used AI.
SATURATION POINT? - A new analysis by ALM Intelligence shows that NLJ 350 firms have expanded their geographic footprint significantly in the U.S. over the past five years. But many have also shuttered offices, and a fair percentage of existing offices shrank during the same period—even in supposedly hot markets. What’s going on? Take a closer look at the numbers.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
CHINA DECLINE - Direct investment from Chinese entities into North America and Europe plunged 73 percent to $30 billion in 2018, the lowest level in six years, Anna Zhang reports. According to a recent study compiled by Baker McKenzie and Rhodium Group, the U.S. accounts for a major part of the decline: Chinese outbound investment into the U.S. amounted to a mere $5 billion, compared with $29 billion in 2017 and $45.6 billion in 2016.
WHAT YOU SAID
“Having the SEC shutdown really cramps capital formation, and, if these companies are not able to raise money, they will not pay their lawyers.”
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