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In a spate of judicial appointments Monday, Gov. Gray Davis named a Palo Alto litigator to the Santa Clara County Superior Court and filled the presiding justice vacancy on San Jose’s Sixth District Court of Appeal. Justice Conrad Rushing, on the appellate court for less than a year, was elevated to the Sixth District’s top position, while Patricia Lucas, a partner at Fenwick & West, was tapped for the Santa Clara bench. Rushing, 65, who was on the Santa Clara County Superior Court from 1978 to 2001, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Christopher Cottle nearly 15 months ago. A graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, Rushing has been chairman of several task forces for the state’s Judicial Council and was named judge of the year by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers in 1994 and 1999. Before joining the bench, Rushing had a corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions practice for Rushing, Ames & Norman from 1974-78 and with Berliner, Cohen, Flaherty & Rushing from 1971-74. He also handled civil litigation. Rushing is the first justice appointed by a Democrat to the Sixth District since its creation during Gov. George Deukmejian’s tenure. As presiding justice, Rushing will be paid $159,657 a year. Lucas, 48, has been a partner at Fenwick since 1993, focusing her practice on employment, intellectual property and trade secret disputes. She has served as hiring partner, a member of the firm’s compensation committee and leader of the litigation practice group from August 1997 to December 2001. Lucas is credited with doubling the litigation group’s size to 82 lawyers, a 105 percent growth rate at a time when the overall firm grew 66 percent. A graduate of Boalt Hall, Lucas has taught trial advocacy at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and has been a member of the Stanford Law School faculty and the federal practice program of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Lucas, who will receive a yearly salary of $139,476, fills the vacancy caused by the retirement of Judge Edwin Pearce II. Also on Monday, Gov. Davis named three new justices to the Fourth District appellate court. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Aaron, 45, was appointed to Division One in San Diego; Orange County Superior Court Judge Raymond Ikola, 62, to Division Three in Santa Ana; and San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey King, 52, to Division Two in Riverside.

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