Judicial Notice (07.22.23): Juice Not Worth The Squeeze?
Dean Tirien Steinbach departs from Stanford Law, a promising young partner leaves Wachtell Lipton, and other legal news from the week that was.
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Hello from Fort Collins, Colorado, where our son Chase was just born. Zach and Harlan and I have enjoyed our stay in this lovely, historic city, but we’re heading home to New Jersey later today, now accompanied by a beautiful baby boy. In case you’re wondering whether you can fly with a newborn, the answer is yes, at least on United (as long as the child is at least seven days old).
The past week has been a challenging one—I didn’t need my Fitbit to tell me my sleep over the past few nights has been “Poor”—which explains why this edition of Judicial Notice is tardy.1 As mentioned in the announcement of Chase’s birth, I’m grateful for your indulgence as I adjust to my “new normal.”
Now, on to the news.
Lawyer of the Week: Mary Jo White.
What she lacks in size, she makes up for in gravitas. Regardless of her modest physical stature, Mary Jo White—former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and senior chair of Debevoise & Plimpton—is a giant of the law.
Earlier this month, White was part of a Debevoise team that, along with co-counsel from Kellogg Hansen, secured a major victory on a question of importance to the cryptocurrency world. Ruling for White’s client, Ripple Labs, Judge Analisa Torres (S.D.N.Y.) concluded that Ripple did not violate the securities laws by selling its XRP token on public exchanges. Although Judge Torres also held that the XRP token was a security when sold directly to institutional investors, the ruling as a whole was viewed as a big win for Ripple and XRP, whose value shot up by 75 percent after the decision.
And it turns out that White was just warming up. This week, she was all over the news after the National Football League (NFL) went public with the devastating report Debevoise issued, concluding a 17-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and financial improprieties by the Washington Commanders and the team’s outgoing owner, Daniel Snyder. White and her colleagues found that Snyder sexually harassed a former Commanders employee and that the team improperly withheld revenue it should have shared with other NFL franchises.
Fortunately for the NFL, they won’t have to deal with Snyder anymore, since he just sold the Commanders for $6 billion to an investor group led by billionaire businessman Josh Harris. But Snyder will, on his way out the door, pay the NFL $60 million—”in resolution of the Mary Jo White findings as well as the resolution of all outstanding matters,” per NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Judge of the Week: Judge Aileen Cannon.
Last year, Judge Aileen Cannon (S.D. Fla.) issued a controversial ruling in favor of former president Donald Trump, in the civil case he filed over a search warrant executed at his Mar-a-Lago estate. She was quickly reversed by a unanimous Eleventh Circuit panel of three conservative judges, and her reputation wound up in the same place as some of Trump’s shredded documents: in the toilet.
Now Judge Cannon is back in the limelight, presiding over special counsel Jack Smith’s criminal prosecution of Trump for alleged mishandling of national-security documents. And is she perhaps starting to redeem herself?
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