Risk Update

Looking at Lateral Risk — Lateral/Merger Moves Creating Conflicts, Conflicts Causing Lateral Changes

Lateral move creates disqualifying conflict. Decision issued September 8, 2020: “Goren v Barnett” —

  • “From 2010 to approximately 2013, the law firm of Amstein & Lehr LLP (Arnstein & Lehr) represented the Regional Center as securities counsel in various matters related to its EB-5 program administered by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services.”
    “In 2017, Amstein & Lehr merged with Saul Ewing LLP. Saul Ewing represents Lela Goren in this matter, both individually and derivatively on behalf of the Regional Center.”
  • “In support of their motion, the Defendants submit certain invoices (the Invoices) from Amstein & Lehr from 2011-2013 for work on matters that related to Ms. Goren’s allegations in this case… At least three Amstein & Lehr attorneys who worked on these matters for the Regional Center are now partners at Saul Ewing.”
  • “The Invoices submitted by the Defendants establish that the subject matter of Amstein & Lehr’s prior representation of the Regional Center in connection with the Operating Agreement and finder’s fee arrangements is substantially related to the issues in this case and that Ms. Goren’s interests are materially adverse to those of Gary Barnett and the Regional Center.”
  • “In addition, Saul Ewing’s representation of both Ms. Goren and the Regional Center presents a concurrent conflict of interest because it would require the firm to argue that the same transactions that it previously advised the Regional Center to undertake were part of the fraudulent scheme alleged by Ms. Goren.”
  • “Finally, the former Amstein & Lehr attorneys’ conflicts of interest are imputed to the entire firm of Saul Ewing under Rule 1.10 (a) of the Rules of Professional Responsibility, therefore no lawyer in the firm may undertake the representation.”

Paul Weiss Antitrust Leader Launches Own Firm” —

  • “Jonathan Kanter, the former co-chair of the antitrust group at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, has left the firm to launch his own law practice in Washington, D.C.”
  • “A spokesperson for Paul Weiss said Kanter left the firm ‘due to a complicated legal conflict that would have required him to discontinue important and longstanding client representations and relationships.'”
  • “In recent years, he’s represented Altice USA, which took a part in the ultimately unsuccessful challenge to the blockbuster T-Mobile-Sprint merger, and also Monsanto, in its 2016 acquisition by Bayer. Kanter declined to comment on the record about his move on Monday.”