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Top Supreme Court Lawyer Joins O’Melveny

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Top Supreme Court Lawyer Joins O’Melveny

O’Melveny announced today that one of the nation’s leading Supreme Court practitioners, Jeffrey L. Fisher, has joined the firm as special counsel in its appellate practice. He will represent clients in high-stakes litigation while maintaining his position as Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Co-Director of its Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

Since 2004, Fisher has argued 35 cases in the Court (including three this Term), making him one of the most familiar faces to appear before the Justices. Those cases have encompassed a wide range of issues, including criminal procedure, maritime law, telecommunications law, and civil and human rights. His successes include several landmark cases:

  • Crawford v. Washington and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, in which he persuaded the Court to adopt a new approach to the Constitution’s Confrontation Clause;
  • Riley v. California, in which the Court for the first time applied the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches to digital information on smart phones;
  • Endrew F. v. Douglas County Sch. Dist., in which the Court established the substantive standard for enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and
  • Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, in which the Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s right to an impartial jury requires courts to consider evidence from jurors that racial bias was a significant motivating factor in deliberations.

Fisher was also co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the historic marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples a right to marry. He has received scores of accolades over the course of his career, including being named one of the America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal.

Over the past decade, Fisher has argued more Supreme Court cases than all but a few members of the private bar. His success rate in 5-4 cases is the highest of any member of the Supreme Court bar, including government lawyers, according to a study by legal blog Empirical SCOTUS. The same blog found that Fisher has also obtained more grants of certiorari since 2013 than any other member of the private bar.

“We are delighted to welcome Jeff to the O’Melveny family,” said Jonathan Hacker, chair of the firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice. “I have known Jeff for almost 20 years. His commanding advocacy skills are matched by his personal warmth and charm. He will connect with our colleagues and clients as easily as he connects with courts. I cannot imagine a better addition to our team.”

“O’Melveny’s appellate lawyers have long been recognized as among the very best, and I’m greatly looking forward to joining the team,” said Fisher. “O’Melveny has a storied history of advocating for clients—and winning—in the most high-stakes matters. It also maintains a culture of excellence—from its long record of public service, to its dedication to integrity, to its internal training and mentoring of the profession’s future leaders. It’s my pleasure to come aboard.”

In addition to his teaching and appellate work, Fisher has published numerous articles on various criminal and constitutional issues. Before joining the Stanford faculty, he co-chaired the appellate practice group of Davis Wright Tremaine. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

O’Melveny’s appellate attorneys work with clients at every step of the litigation, from dispositive motions in trial court to merits briefing and argument in the US Supreme Court, to develop and present cutting-edge legal arguments designed to persuade generalist judges. The practice is supported by a deep bench of talent, including multiple former Supreme Court and federal appellate clerks, as well as the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States and head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Recent alumni of our practice include three federal appellate judges, two state appellate judges, two state solicitors general, and senior government lawyers.

O’Melveny is among the few elite firms regularly tapped for big-ticket litigation, appellate and trial work, and large streams of ongoing litigation and major transactions. Firm lawyers are arguing two cases in the Supreme Court this Term, including one by appointment from the Court itself. Among other major trial and appellate matters, O’Melveny currently serves as lead trial counsel for AT&T and Time Warner in their proposed merger, a case that has been called the “Antitrust Trial of the Century.”

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Facebook ‘refriends’ Australia after changes to media laws

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Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws 1

By Byron Kaye and Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Facebook will restore Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout after wringing concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content.

Both sides claimed victory in the clash, which has drawn global attention as countries including Canada and Britain consider similar steps to rein in the dominant tech platforms and preserve media diversity.

While some analysts said Facebook had defended its lucrative model of collecting ad money for clicks on news it shows, others said the compromise – which includes a deal on how to resolve disputes – could pay off for the media industry, or at least for publishers with reach and political clout.

“Facebook has scored a big win,” said independent British technology analyst Richard Windsor, adding the concessions it made “virtually guarantee that it will be business as usual from here on.”

Australia and the social media group had been locked in a standoff after the government introduced legislation that challenged Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google’s dominance in the news content market.

Facebook blocked Australian users on Feb. 17 from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, drawing criticism from publishers and the government.

But after talks between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a concession deal was struck, with Australian news expected to return to the social media site in coming days.

“Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.

Frydenberg said Australia had been a “proxy battle for the world” as other jurisdictions engage with tech companies over a range of issues around news and content.

Australia will offer four amendments, which include a change to the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism used when the tech giants cannot reach a deal with publishers over fair payment for displaying news content.

‘UNTESTED’

Facebook said it was satisfied with the revisions, which will need to be implemented in legislation currently before the parliament.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Facebook Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement online.

The company would continue to invest in news globally but also “resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Analysts said while the concessions marked some progress for tech platforms, the government and the media, there remained many uncertainties about how the law would work.

“Retaining unilateral control over which publishers they do cash deals with as well as control over if and how news appears on Facebook surely looks more attractive to Menlo Park than the alternative,” said Rasmus Nielsen, head of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, referring to Facebook headquarters.

Any deals that Facebook strikes are likely to benefit the bottom line of News Corp and a few other big Australian publishers, added Nielsen, but whether smaller outlets win such deals remains to be seen.

Tama Leaver, professor of internet studies at Australia’s Curtin University, said Facebook’s negotiating tactics had dented its reputation, although it was too early to say how the proposed law would work.

“It’s like a gun that sits in the Treasurer’s desk that hasn’t been used or tested,” said Leaver.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD

The amendments include an additional two-month mediation period before the government-appointed arbitrator intervenes, giving the parties more time to reach a private deal.

It also inserts a rule that an internet company’s existing media deals be taken into account before the rules take effect, a measure that Frydenberg said would encourage internet companies to strike deals with smaller outlets.

The so-called Media Bargaining Code has been designed by the government and competition regulator to address a power imbalance between the social media giants and publishers when negotiating payment for news content used on the tech firms’ sites.

Media companies have argued that they should be compensated for the links that drive audiences, and advertising dollars, to the internet companies’ platforms.

A spokesman for Australian publisher and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Ltd welcomed the government’s compromise, which it said moved “Facebook back into the negotiations with Australian media organisations.”

Major television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd said it had signed a letter of intent to strike a content supply deal with Facebook within 60 days.

A representative of News Corp, which has a major presence in Australia’s news industry and last week announced a global licensing deal with Google, was not immediately available for comment.

Frydenberg said Google had welcomed the changes. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Google also previously threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia but later struck a series of deals with publishers.

The government will introduce the amendments to Australia’s parliament on Tuesday, Frydenberg said. The country’s two houses of parliament will need to approve the amended proposal before it becomes law.

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; additional reporting by Renju Jose, Kate Holton and Douglas Busvine; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter)

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 2

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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