A 3,800-ATTORNEY FIRM

Fulbright & Jaworski and international firm Norton Rose will combine next June, creating a firm comprising 3,800 lawyers in 55 offices around the world and with annual revenues of around $2 billion. “We undertook a strategic review and realized that we needed to follow our clients’ needs into the global marketplace,” Fulbright chairman-elect Ken Stewart said.

FRESH NOMINATIONS

President Obama announced seven nominations for federal district courts, asking the U.S. Senate to promptly consider all of his judicial nominees because “too many of our courtrooms stand empty.” The move was cheered by liberal groups that have long decried the political stalemate stalling confirmations and leaving bench seats open.

BLOWING THE WHISTLE

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission received more than 3,000 whistleblower tips during the first full year of the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, which allows individuals to report anonymously and receive employment protections and monetary awards. The tips came from 50 states and 49 countries, resulting in 143 enforcement judgments and orders.

GAY-FRIENDLY FIRMS

The Human Rights Campaign gave 71 law firms perfect scores on its 2013 Corporate Equality Index, rating employers on criteria including whether their anti-bias policies cover sexual orientation and insurance policies cover same-sex partners. That was up from 55 firms last year and represents the most perfect scores of any of the industries surveyed.

SANDY EMERGENCY

The New York Court of Appeals invoked its “major disaster rule” to allow attorneys authorized to practice law in other states to provide temporary, pro bono legal services to New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy. In a notice to the bar on November 14, court administrators said they have determined that the storm created an emergency affecting the justice system.

MANDATORY RETIREMENT

Six Pennsylvania judges have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a requirement that they retire at the end of the year in which they turn 70. They argued the rule violates their federal constitutional rights to equal protection and due process and state constitutional guarantee for “enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.”

COURT CLOSURES

The Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court, one of the country’s largest judicial systems, will stop hearing cases in 10 courthouses, shutter a dozen criminal courtrooms and cram personal injury cases onto just two calendars. Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon said the system faces an $80 million deficit.

LAW SCHOOLS TASK FORCE

The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has advanced its deadline for completing its work. The group was slated to issue its recommendations in spring 2014 but now hopes to finish by fall 2013. The panel will suggest fixes for problems including high tuition and curriculum failings.