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BCG News - 03/01/05

03/01/05

Former Senate Leader Howard Baker re-joins Memphis firm
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr., is rejoining Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, the firm with Memphis headquarters that was founded by his grandfather back in 1888. Baker first joined the firm in 1949 then went on to serve in the Senate from 1966 to 1985. Up until recently, Baker served as the United States' ambassador to Japan. Baker will be based in Baker Donelson's Washington, DC, office and concentrate his practice on public policy and international matters. Chattanooga Times Free Press

BCG News - 03/01/05

MCI-Verizon Plans to Slash Legal Team
Verizon Communications $6.7 billion proposed acquisition of MCI would result in job losses in the corporation's legal department. In all, 357 attorneys work for the two telecom giants, and the merger will almost certainly mean some outside law firms will suffer. The deal is far from complete, but Verizon's Chief Financial Officer Doreen Toben said a combined Verizon-MCI would "have head count reductions in a number of areas...[including] corporate staff functions such as HR and legal." It's still unclear exactly who will be cut under Verizon's plan. The company says it is too early to know the specific fate of inside and outside counsel. Legal Times

San Francisco firm Berg & Parker merges
Preston Gates & Ellis is merging with San Francisco real estate firm Berg & Parker. A total of seven Berg partners will be joining Preston Gates, in addition to three associate attorneys. The merger is effective March 1 and will bring Preston Gates' San Francisco office to 40 attorneys total. Preston Gates opened its San Francisco office seven years ago with only 12 attorneys. The Recorder

The report is in: Most active firms in private equity deals
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati completed 413 private equity and venture capital deals in 2004, making it the most active law firm by number of deals, according to Private Equity Analyst. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe ranked second with 406 deals, and Latham & Watkins ranked third with 373 deals. The magazine also ranked law firms by the number of funds they worked on. Ropes & Gray ranked first on that list, representing 293 funds. Nixon Peabody represented 169 funds, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe 160 funds. Private Equity Analyst

Dallas' Thompson & Knight opens two more offices
Thompson & Knight opened two new offices this month, one in New York City and the other in Mexico City. The New York office is staffed by three new lateral partners and one attorney who relocated from the firm's Dallas headquarters. The Mexico City office gives the firm further international presence and currently has one partner who joined from a local firm. Texas Lawyer

Ex-Brobeck partners agree to pay $22 million
Almost 200 former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partners have agreed to pay more than $22 million to rid themselves of liability for the firm's collapse. So far, 189 partners had reached individual settlements with Ronald Greenspan, the trustee of Brobeck's estate. According to papers filed by Greenspan, the settlements range from $4,732 to more than $500,000. The average is $118,570 per partner. "These women and men had the good judgment and good character to settle this and accept their responsibility to creditors," Greenspan's attorney, Bennett Murphy, said Tuesday. Greenspan alleges that the former partners took distributions and bonuses from the firm while it was essentially insolvent in 2001 and 2002. The Recorder

Littler Mendelson gains two partners
The country's largest labor and employment firm, Little Mendelson, has gained two partners and one associate in its Atlanta office from the firm of Powell Goldstein. Gavin Appleby, one of the partners making the move to Littler, said that his reason for switching firms was that his group could charge lower rates at a labor and employment firm than at a corporate firm. Fulton County Daily Report

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