Risk Update

Lateral Moves & More — Conflicts-deferred Merger, Insurers’ Fee Fight DQ Denied

Large Law Firms Inherit Attorneys From Dissolving Employment Law Firm” —

  • “After struggling to bring up the next generation of firm leaders, an employment law boutique in Boston is closing, and its partners are taking their work to two larger firms.”
  • “Armstrong Teasdale has added five Boston-based employment lawyers Monday now that their former firm, employment boutique Bello Welsh, is set to dissolve after 18 years. Meanwhile, Bello Welsh co-founder Ken Bello has joined Barclay Damon in Boston, effective Monday.”
  • “According to Welsh, Bello was planning to join Armstrong Teasdale along with the other former Bello Welsh attorneys. But one of his most significant clients presented a conflict of interest. ‘He was not willing to give up that relationship at that time,’ Welsh said. ‘I wasn’t going to throw this opportunity away for a client of Ken’s.'”
  • “Bello confirmed the same in an interview Monday. ‘It was sad for us to go our separate ways after 18 years…but I think each firm is happy with the attorneys they got,’ Bello said.”

Effort By NHL Insurers To DQ Skadden, Proskauer Rejected” —

  • “During a video hearing, New York Supreme Court Justice Melissa A. Crane turned aside a motion by Chubb and other insurers to remove the BigLaw firms from a dispute over who will be on the hook for what insurers say are $92 million of legal bills associated with an underlying $19 million concussion settlement.”
  • “The defendant insurers dispute liability and, in a 2021 motion, some claim that ‘Skadden and Proskauer’s fees and expenses for the underlying litigation were, in large part, unreasonable and unnecessary.’ In a later filing, they say fees and expenses have thus far totaled $92 million.”
  • “The law firms counter that the insurers are using a meritless disqualification bid as a ‘ploy’ to further their effort to angle for a ‘lowball’ settlement.”
  • “During brief argument Tuesday counsel for the insurers, Andrew Poplinger, said the firms are unable to be ‘objective’ about their own billing practices. Counsel for Skadden, Lawrence Spiegel, said insurers are engaging in ‘gamesmanship,’ with a ‘borderline frivolous” motion.'”
  • “The judge found not only that the NHL has waived the conflict, but also that different groups of lawyers will be at work on the fee case than were at work in the underlying concussion litigation.”