NOT SO FAST - Three Big Law firms representing Russian banks sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—White & Case, Debevoise & Plimpton, and Latham & Watkins—have been trying to withdraw as counsel for months now, but, as’s Colleen Murphy reports, it’s proving not to be so easy. White & Case and Debevoise & Plimpton were granted permission to withdraw provided that substitute counsel file a notice of appearance by June 24. But, on that date, William H. Taft of Debevoise & Plimpton and Nicole Erb of White & Case jointly submitted a letter to Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein stating that new counsel would be unable to appear on behalf of their client, Sberbank. Meanwhile, Latham & Watkins and its client, VTB Bank, have already missed two deadlines to get substitute counsel to file an appearance notice, and requested, in a letter addressed to Gorenstein, an additional two-week extension until July 7. Jenner & Block, counsel for the plaintiffs, argued in its own letter to Gorenstein that the terms of the judge’s June 7 order should be enforced. That order stated that “Sberbank will be deemed in default” if new counsel was not in place by June 24. Gorenstein has scheduled a discovery conference in the case for July 5 “to decide the matters raised based on the parties’ letters unless a party has shown good cause in advance of the conference why formal briefing should be required.”


“The old guard better buckle up because it’s a new world and we’re seeing it play out right in front of us.”

— Sophia Nelson, author, political commentator and self-described “recovering” Big Law attorney, discussing why the legal industry can no longer afford to stay silent on divisive political and social issues.