Carrie Levine reports that law and lobbying giant Patton Boggs is searching for a new chief operating officer. Longtime partner Ira Fishman left the firm this month to join former colleague DeMaurice Smith at the National Football League Players Association. Stuart Pape, the firm’s managing partner, said the firm plans to make an external hire — and isn’t necessarily looking for a lawyer.
Marcia Coyle spotlights a carefully planned case underway in Massachusetts federal court that could be the gay-marriage test with the greatest national impact. While more attention has focused on the legal fight against California’s Proposition 8, the Massachusetts case is one of four lawsuits nationwide that asks federal courts to strike down all or parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Sheri Qualters reports on hopes among intellectual property lawyers that an upcoming en banc rehearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will resolve a hotly debated question about how specific patent applicants must be when describing innovations. The outcome could reverse requirements for patents that the court itself imposed more than a decade ago.
Nate Raymond reports that law firms are choosing sides over a proposal at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would allow shareholders to nominate corporate directors. The battle has drawn in major plaintiffs’ firms and firms that defend corporate clients — firms that are used to seeing each other in litigation rather than in a regulatory setting.