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Media Matters Nine, that’s right nine, law firms were involved in last week’s $8.2 billion buyout of the Chicago-based media conglomerate Tribune Co. by Sam Zell, a real-estate tycoon. But, when looking at the complexity of the deal, that number is less surprising. The company, whose holdings include the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, announced last week that it would go private by selling itself to Zell and its employees after many months on the auction block. The multi-stage deal, structured around an employee stock ownership plan, will result in the company’s shares being largely owned by its employees. Zell will get a warrant entitling him to buy 40 percent of the stock and become the Tribune’s chairman when the deal closes. D.C.-based lawyers from Arnold & Porter and Dow Lohnes were two of the four firms that counseled Zell on the deal. The Arnold & Porter team, which provided advice on the tax and employee benefits aspects of the transaction, included partners Blake Rubin, Andrea Whiteway, and Edward Bintz; counsel Douglas Pelley and associate Jon Finkelstein. A team of lawyers from the firm, which has acted as outside tax counsel to Zell for the last 10 years, recently worked on his February $23 billion sale of Equities Office Properties Trust to the Blackstone Group, Rubin says. Dow Lohnes members John Feore, Kevin Latek, and John Logan provided regulatory advice on Federal Communications Commission issues. The team from Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, which counseled the trustee for the employment stock ownership plan, included D.C.-based partners Marc Martin and Martin Stern. Other firms involved in the mega-deal include Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Sidley Austin, and McDermott Will & Emery, which advised Tribune on the deal; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which represented the board’s special committee charged with overseeing the company’s strategic alternatives; and Jenner & Block and Morgan Lewis, which also advised Zell. Whew. Dare we wonder what the legal fees on the deal will total?
Recruiter Spat Rages On Legal recruiter Lynn Mestel’s quest to squeeze more dollars from former employee Richard Thuemmler and his new employer, Legal eStaffing Inc., has gone from contentious to curious. On Feb. 28, Magistrate Judge Alan Kay threatened to throw out both the suit and countersuit after Mestel’s lawyer, Allen Gardner, a partner at Latham & Watkins, and Thuemmler’s lawyers neglected to try setting a mediation date. But, in fact, the lawyers did try. In a joint statement submitted last month, Gardner and the defendants’ lawyers, Carlos Recio, a counsel with Davis & Campbell, and Robert Greenberg, of counsel with Friedlander, Misler, Sloan, Kletzkin & Ochsman, outlined their compliance with Kay’s orders. On Nov. 13, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia referred the case to Kay. The two sides were ordered to contact Kay to schedule mediation by Dec. 26. But not everyone could agree on a date. The proposed times either didn’t work for one of the lawyers, the clients, or Kay. All of the back and forth outlined in the joint statement apparently wasn’t enough for Kay, who was going to deep-six the litigation unless Gardner could show an attempt had been made. Once the joint statement was made, Kay reversed course and set a date to meet with the sides last week. Mestel originally sued Thuemmler in 2005 over a noncompete clause in his employee contract. Thuemmler filed a countersuit against Mestel and HIRECounsel, claiming that Mestel owed thousands of dollars in back pay and unpaid contributions. After settling the case in July, Mestel has decided that wasn’t enough. The company has been trying to reopen the case, alleging that after the settlement, another D.C. recruiter came forward to contradict Thuemmler’s claim that he had not solicited HIRECounsel applicants, competed with the company, or worked in the temporary-attorney-placement business at Legal eStaffing.
On the Move Kaye Scholer’s D.C.-based international trade group is set to join the D.C. office of Troutman Sanders, although the move is still subject to approval from the partnership of the Atlanta-based firm. Led by partners Donald Cameron and Julie Mendoza, the trade lawyers represent multinational corporations, foreign governments, and foreign trade associations in U.S. trade remedy cases and have defended a number of Chinese companies in large anti-dumping cases in the United States. The group could be quite busy following the Commerce Department’s announcement last week that it would apply anti-subsidy duties to imports of glossy paper from China, reversing a longstanding policy of not applying so-called countervailing duties to goods from countries with nonmarket economies, such as China. Trade lawyers predict the case could open the floodgates and lead to a number of domestic industries ranging from steel to furniture to textiles to file similar cases requesting countervailing duties . . . Schiff Hardin raided Sullivan and Worcester last week, bringing in eight attorneys and one legislative affairs specialist. Six of the attorneys are joining the D.C. office, with the other two moving into a new Boston office. All the lawyers will join the firm’s energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission practice. Sherry Quirk, Regina Speed-Bost, David Fitzgerald, and Thomas Ingoldsby joined as partners, and Montina Cole and Stanley Wolf have joined as counsel. Christopher Eckl is the legislative affairs specialist.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip? Contact Business Editor Anna Palmer at [email protected].

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