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Kilpatrick Townsend adds chief diversity and inclusion officer

Atlanta’s fourth largest law firm has hired a chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Yendelela Neely Holston is returning to Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in the newly created C-suite position and as partner on the firm’s Labour & Employment team after departing from the firm in 2015 to join AT&T. There Holston was assistant vice president – senior legal counsel.

In her previous stint with Kilpatrick Townsend from 2006 to 2015, Holston was an associate and then a Labour & Employment Team partner.

“We are excited to welcome Yendelela back to the Firm,” said J. Henry Walker IV, chair of the international law firm. “Having previously worked with her for a decade, we know she is an extremely talented and skilled attorney with an unwavering commitment to making the legal profession more inclusive and diverse. Her successful and positive experience as an in-house counsel will help her bring valuable insight into client service and will be a great resource to the firm.”

Walker continued, “As the Firm’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Yendelela will help lead our efforts to become an even more diverse and inclusive law firm. I look forward to working closely with her and the Diversity and Inclusion Council as we continue to build on our diversity and inclusion success. We are very focused on creating an inclusive environment where the top level talent can develop and succeed.”

Holston said, “I am honoured to return to Kilpatrick Townsend — a firm that has a rich history of being on the forefront of diversity stretching back to its days of representing Martin Luther King, Sr. in the 1960s. I wanted to be a part of a firm that is actively engaged in supporting a diverse workforce and is serious about making it a part of its culture.”

She added, “I look forward to utilizing the knowledge that I gained from an industry leader in diversity, AT&T, where I was an active contributor to the legal department’s efforts to increase diversity in the legal pipeline. I am also excited about re-joining the Labour & Employment Team to help serve its tremendous clients.”

Holston won a Community Champion award in the 2018 Corporate Counsel Awards presented by Atlanta Business Chronicle, in partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel Georgia Chapter.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton ranks No. 4 on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 50 Law Firms list in its 2017-2018 Book of Lists, with 203 attorneys and 462 staff in Atlanta, and 650 attorneys across 19 offices worldwide.

Legere PHOTO

T-Mobile agrees $26bn mega-merger with Sprint

US telecoms giant T-Mobile has agreed to buy its rival Sprint in a $26bn (£18.9bn) deal.

The merger of America’s third and fourth largest mobile carriers is designed to create a more competitive firm with about 130 million customers.

However, the deal is expected to attract regulatory scrutiny over its potential impact on customer prices.

T-Mobile boss John Legere said the new firm would spend $40bn on building a 5G mobile network in the next three years.

It comes after months of negotiations between T-Mobile’s controlling shareholder, Deutsche Telekom, and Japan’s SoftBank, which controls Sprint.

Under the deal, Deutsche Telekom will own 42% of the combined company and control its board. Softbank will hold a 27% stake.

Mr Legere will lead the new firm which will take the T-Mobile name and have a market value of $146bn.

Analysts say the combined company would have more clout to compete with the first and second biggest US telecoms firms, Verizon and AT&T, each of which have more than 100 million subscribers.

In particular, they say it would be better positioned for America’s looming shift to next generation 5G mobile broadband technology.

They also believe that, without T-Mobile, Sprint lacks the scale needed to upgrade its network.

Competition concerns

Sprint and T-Mobile had been in talks about a potential tie-up since 2014, when the Obama administration scuppered a previous merger attempt over competition concerns.

Under the Trump administration, regulators have continued to challenge deals they believe could push up prices and are likely to scrutinise this latest takeover closely.

The US Justice Department is currently trying to block AT&T’s deal to buy US media giant Time Warner for $85bn, warning that “consumers all across America will be worse off” if it goes ahead.

It has also allegedly opened a probe into claims of co-ordination by AT&T, Verizon and a telecoms standards body to hinder consumers from easily switching provider, Reuters reported earlier in April.

In a statement, Mr Legere said the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile would lower prices and help the US accelerate its development of 5G, amid fierce competition from China.

He also said it would create tens of thousands of jobs in rural America – factors analysts say could help sway officials in the Trump administration.

“This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own,” Mr Legere said.