Bank of America has retained Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to assist the troubled bank in civil and regulatory litigation related to its merger with Merrill Lynch. And the firm apparently got right down to work: On Monday, according to The New York Times, Paul Weiss lawyers, along with counterparts from Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, advised the bank’s board to make a shocking change in strategy and vote to waive privilege in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s much-publicized disclosure case against Bank of America, which is now headed for a trial next year, after Manhattan federal district court Judge Jed Rakoff rejected a $33 million settlement between BofA and the government. (Here’s The Am Law Daily’s account of the stunning BofA board vote, and here’s The Wall Street Journal‘s story.)
The Paul Weiss team will consist of its chair, Brad Karp, and partners Mark Pomerantz and Dan Kramer. Paul Weiss litigators are well-known for representing Citigroup and JPMorgan, but this is their first engagement for Bank of America. In addition to the SEC case, Paul Weiss will be advising on the big consolidated securities class action against the bank. That case had been handled to date for the bank by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz — the law firm at the center of the storm over the bank’s alleged failure to tell shareholders about billions of dollars set aside for bonuses in advance of its merger with Merrill Lynch.
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