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BCG News - 11/29/05


Buchanan Ingersoll gets two more attorneys from Saul Ewing
A month after five lawyers left Saul Ewing for Buchanan Ingersoll's litigation section, two more attorneys have departed Saul Ewing for the Pittsburgh-based firm, which has been in a hiring phase. William DeStefano and Terri Pawelski have joined Buchanan Ingersoll's Philadelphia office, where DeStefano, a shareholder, now leads the white-collar group. "White-collar criminal defense work has been identified as a growth area," DeStefano said.

BCG News - 11/29/05

Merrill to acquire international litigation support specialist
Merrill Corp. is ready to acquire WordWave, Inc., a litigation support specialist, in a deal that will help Merrill broaden the legal support services offered by its Document Management Services group and cover a greater geographic area. The acquisition is Merrill's single largest strategic business transaction, according to the company. WordWave operates in 30 U.S. locations and has offices in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia.

Johnson leaves Cravath Swaine for Cleary Gottlieb
W. Clayton Johnson, a senior securities and capital markets partner with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is leaving that firm to join international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as a partner. Johnson is being brought on board to work on transactions for clients throughout Asia and to develop the firm's China practice. He will initially divide his time between Hong Kong and the firm's Beijing office, which is expected to open early next year.

Tiny firm continues work against giant
Attorney Lon Walters and his associate, Christin Cipolla, of Kansas City have already won a multi-million-dollar case against BP Amoco involving a personal injury to their client. Now they are proceeding on some 24 other cases pending against the oil company. It's become newsworthy due to the fact that a small, two-person firm not only went up against the huge company, but won. Their client, Leonard Ryan, was awarded $13.3 million by a jury this year, in addition to punitive damages, in a case involving the death of Ryan's wife. "We just didn't feel that verdict was supported by the evidence that was available," said Ron Rybarczyk of BP. Before taking on the Ryan case, Walters' biggest legal victory had been in a case involving two people injured when their car hit a cow on a road near Paola, KS.

Holland & Knight cuts work force
Florida's largest law firm, Holland & Knight, will cut its workforce by 120 people, including by consolidating some offices. In a message to employees, Managing Partner Howell W. Melton, Jr., said the cutbacks were being made to strengthen the firm's economic foundation and competitive position. One market targeted for consolidation is the Tampa Bay area. The firm's offices in Bradenton and Lakeland will be closed, and an office in St. Petersburg will be closed or reduced in size. Holland & Knight has 1,285 lawyers in 26 offices nationwide. When the reductions are complete at the end of 2006, it will be left with 18 offices in nine states and the District of Columbia.

Public interest firm from Schiavo case continues to grow
The Alliance Defense Fund is a rapidly growing public-interest firm that is continuing gain support. It was established to defend against what evangelical Christians saw as an attack on believers' values. Ten years later, the organization, based in Scottsdale, AZ, has more than 100 employees and branches in six states and files about a lawsuit per week in cases involving Christianity and schools, gay marriage, and other social-conservative concerns. By the firm's accounting, it wins three-quarters of the suits it files, though it has lost some high-profile cases as well, including its efforts to order the reinsertion of a feeding tube for Terry Schiavo.

IP specialty firms on the rise's rankings of the top IP firms has held steady over the past few years, including some firms that have remained on the list for more than 11 years. Jones Day made the biggest leap recently, going from the 10th position to a tie at the very top (along with Kirkland & Ellis). Last year's #1, Howrey, dropped to fourth place, tying Brinks Hofer. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner held on to its second-place position, tying Ropes & Gray, which got a boost from its January acquisition of Fish & Neave.

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