► Bernstein Shur: Emily Gray Rice (legal malpractice law – defendants, 2005) left private practice to assume her new office as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire. She was nominated by President Obama last fall and confirmed by the Senate in December.
► Eaton Peabody: P. Andrew Hamilton (land use and zoning law; litigation – land use and zoning, 2007) was the recipient of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s Norbert X. Dowd Award in recognition of his community service efforts.
► John W. Dineen: John W. Dineen (litigation – First Amendment, 2007) is part of a team of volunteer ACLU attorneys who are suing the City of Providence on behalf of 62-year-old street performer Manuel Pambo, who has been playing his alto sax in public places across Rhode Island’s capital since the 1990s. Pambo has been repeatedly ordered by city police to stop, and was once was arrested and held in jail overnight for illegally performing for money after an officer allegedly slipped $5 into his saxophone case. There is no city ordinance in Providence regulating public music performance, and there is little legal clarity about busking for money beyond a single letter from the city Board of Licenses that bans soliciting—but not accepting—donations. Pambo’s attorneys argue in part that the alleged threats from police to arrest Pambo violate his right to free speech.
► Lichten & Liss-Riordan: Shannon Liss-Riordan (employment law – individuals, 2008) won a $12.25 million out-of-court settlement for Lyft drivers from the app-based ride-hailing company, as well as new protections for the drivers against being fired. The drivers remain classified as independent contractors under the settlement terms rather than as employees. Uber, Lyft’s more successful competitor, is facing a similar suit from its drivers, who are represented by Liss-Riordan, to be argued in California in June.
► Locke Lord: Michele A. Whitham (employment law – management, 2016) joined the firm from Foley Hoag as partner in the Boston office and member of the labor and employment and cybersecurity practice groups.
► Lubin & Meyer: Robert M. Higgins (medical malpractice law – plaintiffs, 2008) won nearly $30 million for a Holyoke, Massachusetts, family to help care for their daughter, who suffered serious, irreversible brain damage as a result of negligent prenatal care from her doctors, who failed to assess test results accurately while she was in utero or perform an emergency caesarean section that might have prevented the damage. The girl, now age 11, is deaf and mute, cannot walk, and must be fed with the assistance of a tube.
► McKee Billings: Walter McKee (bet-the-company litigation; criminal defense: general practice; criminal defense: white-collar, 2012) is representing musician Don McClean, best known for his song “American Pie,” who has pleaded “not guilty” to domestic violence charges.
► Nutter McClennen & Fish: Michael F. Burke (real estate law, 2013) co-led a team that helped real estate firm Related Beal with a range of legal issues related to gaining approval for and beginning construction on its new $230 million development in Boston’s North Station area. The mixed-use development, which began construction February 4, will include affordable below-market residential housing, a 220-room hotel, ground-level retail space, and off-street parking.
► Pierce Atwood: John W. Gulliver (energy law, 1991), a partner in the firm’s energy practice group, led a team from the firm that assisted NTE Ohio, an affiliate of NTE Energy, in its $645 million financing deal for a natural gas-fired electricity project in Butler County, Ohio. According to the energy company, its new plant will be “one of the region’s cleanest and most efficient sources of energy,” generating 475 megawatts of electricity to power about 400,000 homes. Andrea Cianchette Maker (government relations practice, 2013) is one of four leaders of a new non-profit, private sector coalition called Focus Maine that aims to expand Maine’s agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceutical industries and to create at least 10,000 new jobs by 2025. Maine has the oldest population of any state in the country, and one of Focus Maine’s goals is to attract younger workers from out-of-state to join these budding local industries.
► Pullman & Comley: James T. Shearin (commercial litigation; litigation – antitrust; litigation – banking and finance; litigation – intellectual property; litigation – securities, 2006) contributed an article, “State Faces Continued Crisis in Legal Aid Funding,” to The Connecticut Law Tribune.
► Robinson & Cole has formed a new sustainability group that cuts across legal specializations and focuses on assisting business clients with the legal side of developing environmentally sustainable projects and practices. Members include: Kenneth C. Baldwin (energy law, 2008), Michael F. Maglio (banking and finance law; commercial finance law; equipment finance law; securitization and structured finance law, 2007), Robert S. Melvin (environmental law; litigation – environmental, 2010), Joey Lee Miranda (environmental law, 2013), and Martin A. Onorato (construction law; litigation – construction, 2013) in the Hartford office and Brian W. Blaesser (real estate law, 2010) and Kathleen M. Porter (information technology law, 2009) in Boston.
► Todd & Weld: Howard M. Cooper (civil rights law; commercial litigation; First Amendment law, 2006) represented Massachusetts State Senator Brian A. Joyce, who was successfully cleared of charges that he abused his office to obtain free dry cleaning services from one of his constituents after an investigation by the state Ethics Commission and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Harvard Law School to Digitize Massive Collection of U.S. Case Law, Provide Unprecedented Access
Through an initiative dubbed “Free the Law,” Harvard Law School will digitize its entire collection of U.S. case law and make it available to search for free online, providing an unprecedented level of access to anyone with an internet connection. “Libraries were founded as an engine for the democratization of knowledge,” Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School professor and vice dean for library and information resources, told a reporter for Harvard Law Today. “The digitization of Harvard Law School’s collection of U.S. case law is a tremendous step forward in making legal information open and easily accessible to the public.”
The law school’s comprehensive U.S. case law collection is second only in size to the collection housed at the U.S. Library of Congress, and considered to be one of the foremost collections of legal materials in the world. Approximately 40,000 law books will be digitized, containing 40 million pages of decisions from U.S. federal courts and all 50 states. Many decisions date back to the founding of each legal jurisdiction in the U.S. and some date from before the U.S. Constitution was written. The full collection is projected to be available online by mid-2017.