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GETTING REAL - Painful as it is to admit, the days of sprawling corporate office suites packed wall-to-wall with smiling faces and the giddy buzz of endless collaboration, innovation and professional development may really be behind us. As Law.com’s Dan Packel reports, real estate experts say a growing number of large law firms are signing new leases that include substantial reductions in square footage, as the pace of office returns lags after two years away. With the war for talent in the legal industry more intense than ever, firms are looking to right-size their footprints to account for continued hybrid work and deliver appealing space for when personnel are working in the office. One analyst told Packel that most law firms are looking to reduce their footprints by 10 to 15% over the next five years. All this decision-making is unfolding in an environment where office attendance remains underwhelming and firm leaders are beginning to come to grips with the fact that a lobby the size of a Bass Pro Shop doesn’t mean much if you don’t have colleagues to share it with. “Firms are ready to make decisions for the most part, while, particularly during the start of COVID, there was a lot of reluctance to do so,” said Kevin Kushner, who sits on the executive committee of CBRE’s law firm practice group.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES - Not to get all originalist about it, but when the drafters of ABA Model Rule 1.1, comment 8, wrote that lawyers have an ethical obligation to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology,” do you think they foresaw the possibility of a global pandemic turbocharging the evolution of legal tech? As Law.com’s Rhys Dipshan writes in this week’s Barometer newsletter, technological competency, while more necessary than ever, is also more difficult than ever. Today, the legal market is boldly moving into emerging technology areas at an unprecedented pace. That’s real progress for an industry that is consistently derided for being behind the times, but keeping up with it all can be a nightmare. Still, there are potentially huge rewards waiting for those who are able to develop an expertise in emerging markets such as NFTs and the metaverse. And those markets also stand to benefit from the legal industry’s participation, Dipshan notes, quoting Brown Rudnick IP partner Peter Willsey, who recently commented that the NFT market “will learn through litigation what can and can’t be done.”

WHO GOT THE WORK?℠ - Coincheck Inc., a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange platform and subsidiary of Monex Group, is going public via SPAC merger with Thunder Bridge Capital Partners IV Inc. As a result of the merger, Coincheck Group N.V. will be listed on the Nasdaq with a post-transaction equity value of approximately $1.25 billion. The transaction, announced March 22, is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Coincheck is represented by Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. and a Simpson Thacher & Bartlett team including partners Alan Cannon and Patrick Naughton. Virginia-based Thunder Bridge is advised by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough; Mori Hamada & Matsumoto; Littler Mendelson and Allen & Overy. >> Read more on Law.com Radar and check out the most recent edition of Law.com’s Who Got the Work?℠ column to find out which law firms and lawyers are being brought in to handle key cases and close major deals for their clients.

HOUSE AND HOME - Dickinson Wright filed a lawsuit Thursday in Tennessee Middle District Court against the State of Tennessee and the Secretary of State Tre Hargett in relation to the state’s residency requirement bill, which states that candidates running for U.S. Congress must reside within the congressional district they seek to represent for at least three years in order to appear on the primary ballot. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin the defendants from implementing the law on the basis that it violates Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which, according to the complaint, “delineates the only qualifications necessary to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and vests with the House of Representatives the exclusive authority to judge the qualifications of its own members.” The case is 3:22-cv-00225, Collins et al v. State of Tennessee et al. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar.  



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