THE END OF THACHER: Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal is acquiring 100 lawyers from ailing Wall Street firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood, reports The American Lawyer and The BLT. A Thacher partner says the firm expects to announce dissolution plans by Dec. 31. Profits per partner in 2007 dropped 22.1 percent to $1.02 million.
FBI AGENT SHOCKER: An FBI special agent who was part of the investigation and prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is accusing the prosecution of misconduct in a whistleblower complaint. Stevens' Williams & Connolly defense team immediately seized on the whistleblower complaint, incorporating it in a renewed motion to dismiss charges. Williams & Connolly partner Robert Cary is urging U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to punish the prosecution team. "A federal election has been irreversibly affected. It is too late to change that," Cary wrote. "But it is not too late to impose a sanction that lets the government know that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated in the future."
SLASHING ATTORNEY FEES: A federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan reduced the attorney fees lawyers were pushing for in the $303 million settlement between General Motors Corp. and investors, reports the Associated Press via law.com. The judge deemed excessive the 19 percent share ($60 million) that two lead lawyers and five law firms requested. The lawyers, who represented a class who invested in GM stock or bonds over a six-year period, will get 15 percent ($45 million). The AP does the math: that adds up to a $1,825 hourly rate.
COCAINE CONSPIRACY: Considering the weather out there is frightful, we head to Florida, where a federal judge has dismissed a conspiracy charge against a prominent Miami defense lawyer who is accused of laundering drug money for Medellín cartel kingpin Fabio Ochoa to pay another lawyer, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The lawyer, Ben Kuehne, still faces six remaining charges, including wire fraud. The conspiracy charge that was tossed alleged Kuehne intentionally authorized a wire transfer of more than $5 million that reportedly included some tainted funds.
CAUGHT STEALING: The New York Times reports today that arrests for shoplifting are up 10 percent to 20 percent higher than last year. Police say the lagging economy has contributed to the urge to steal. The Times reports that first-time offenders make up the bulk of the increase of jailed thieves. More work for private defense counsel and public defenders in these troubled economic times? You betcha.