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The American Lawyer reports that months away from arguing a landmark securities fraud case before the US Supreme Court, Merck has passed lead counsel duties from Cravath, Swaine & Moore's Evan Chesler to Williams & Connolly, court records show.

Williams & Connolly partner Kannon Shanmugam, who argued eight cases before the high court during his four years with the US Solicitor's Office, will present Merck's case to the justices this fall. Shanmugam -- W&C's first lateral hire in 22 years when he joined the firm last year -- won six of those eight cases.

In this case, Shanmugam will argue to overturn an appellate ruling that allowed a securities fraud class action brought by Merck's shareholders to proceed.

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