Risk Update

Risk Misc. — Pandora Papers Pain Potential, Judicial Financial Conflicts, Client Selection and Political/PR Risk

Pandora Papers Unleash A Lot Of Biglaw Evils On The World” —

  • “But the Pandora Papers also have the side effect of revealing which Biglaw firms are neck deep in assisting these clients in moving this money… for whatever reasons. After all, you can’t set up a bunch of dummy corporations and funnel resources into novel, difficult to pierce, ‘trust-like’ instruments without lawyers and The New Republic took a look at which law firms have turned up in the data dump.”
  • “How do law firms think they can get into this sort of work? Especially in an environment where working as a functional lobbyist is fraught with risk. It all depends on what you call yourself. From the TNR report:
    • “Some lawyers now combine legal services with P.R. representation—thus taking skillful advantage of foreign lobbying exemptions that remain wide open. (One of the first hires the Jordanian king-cum-kleptocrat made after his offshore holdings were revealed was American firm DLA Piper, which will now help him with ‘media matters.’)”

After WSJ’s Explosive Exposé on Judges’ Financial Conflicts, Free Law Project Posts the Data For All to See” —

  • “In an explosive exposé last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that 131 federal judges broke the law by hearing cases where they had a financial interest.”
  • “Now, the Free Law Project is making that data available to all, creating the first online database of federal judges’ financial disclosures.”
  • “The database is a collection of over 250,000 pages of financial records gathered since 2017 through requests to the federal judiciary, Michael Lissner, executive director and CTO, said in a blog post today.”
  • “The files contain the disclosure records for every federal judge, justice and magistrate from 2011 to 2018, with the 2019 disclosures coming soon. It also has some files from 2003 to 2010, gathered from other sources.”
  • “Until 2017, federal judges’ financial disclosures could be obtained only by requesting them individually by fax. That changed in 2017, when the Judicial Conference authorized disclosures to be released on ‘electronic storage devices … at no cost to the requestor.'”

Facing Backlash, Mayer Brown Dumps Client” —

  • “Last week, the Biglaw firm Mayer Brown came under fire for its most recent representation of the University of Hong Kong. The university is trying to get a work of art — the Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt designed to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in Beijing — removed from its campus. The play is being called an ‘attack on art’ and reportedly shows the firm is ‘complicit in the suppression of human rights.'”
  • “Not a good look for the firm. Particularly one that likes that like to tout its human rights expertise. So, maybe it really wasn’t a surprise that the firm has backed away from its client in this particular representation.”
  • “But proving you can’t please all the people all the time, there’s now backlash to the backlash. In a social media post, former Hong Kong chief executive Chun-ying Leung said Mayer Brown caved to political pressure in withdrawing its representation, calling for a ‘China-wide boycott’ and saying: ‘From here on, no client in Hong Kong or Mainland China, particularly those with Chinese government connections, will find Mayer Brown dependable.'”