FOLEY POACHES FOR CHINA OFFICE
Foley & Lardner’s planned entrance into China is far from typical.
First of all, the IP-heavy firm isn’t just aiming to jump into the river of cross-border M&A deal flow. Second, their first big client in China is the Special Olympics, which will be held in Shanghai later this year. And third, the Weil, Gotshal & Manges lawyer the firm lured away last week to head its future Shanghai office, Catherine Sun, is on maternity leave until the end of May.
But that doesn’t mean that Sun, who is qualified to practice in both China and the United States, isn’t raring to get started as the chairwoman of her new firm’s Asia practice.
“I get an e-mail from her every day, so I can’t say she’s not at work,” said Sharon Barner, who heads the IP department of the Milwaukee-based Am Law 100 firm.
Still, it might be some time before Sun can officially work out of Shanghai, since the firm just filed an application asking permission to open an office there, and the final approval could take months or even years. Barner said Sun will be in Shanghai, but working remotely through the firm’s New York office.
Most immediately, Sun will be working on the international entertainment and media IP matters stemming from the opening ceremony for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That means hammering out agreements with international stars performing at the opening ceremony � U2 has performed in the past � and advising on global broadcast deals.
The retainer offers Foley a chance to show off its stuff on a world stage, and Barner said the actual entertainment and media IP work is something the firm is very familiar with.
Barner said she expects Foley’s China efforts to continue along intellectual property lines.
“Most folks there are focused on M&A business side, whereas this is going to be focused on IP,” she said.
She also said she thinks Foley has a leg up on the IP competition in China, like McDermott, Will & Emery, which recently opened up an office there.
“You can’t be competition unless you have a Catherine Sun on the ground, and there aren’t many,” she said.
� Zusha Elinson
NOT JUST ON FIRMS’ SHOULDERS
It’s just as important for in-house counsel to help bright, young minority attorneys succeed in their careers as it is for law firms, says Kellye Walker, general counsel for the Diageo beverage group.
That’s why Walker and other general counsel across the country, including two in California, have gotten behind the first Stakeholder 100 awards. The awards will honor 100 outstanding associates of color, and also give them two days of training on such practical skills as navigating firm and client politics, creating and achieving career goals, and having a lasting impact on their community, said Walker, who is chairing the awards’ selection committee.
The training also gives award winners the chance to network with some of the country’s top in-house attorneys.
Law firms are invited to nominate associates by June 15, and the “Stakeholder Academy” for winners will take place Nov. 9 and 10 in Orlando, Fla.
The awards are organized by Washington, D.C.-based Stakeholder Inc., which also puts on the annual Chart Your Own Course conference for minority attorneys.
General counsel are “the ultimate consumer” of legal services, Walker said, “so we are interested in the best legal services that we can purchase for the benefit of our organization.”
“From that perspective,” Walker added, “it’s important for us to be part of cultivating the talent that’s going to provide us with that service. � We look at them as our return on investment.”
Members of the regional selection committee include San Francisco attorneys Jill Dessalines, associate general counsel for McKesson Corp., and Tracy Preston, global human resources and litigation counsel for Levi Strauss & Co.
Information and nomination forms are available at Stakeholder100.com.
� Jessie Seyfer