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UC SUES BANKS OVER WORLDCOM COLLAPSE The Regents of the University of California filed suit Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court against several heavyweight investment banks. The suit alleges that the banks helped prop up WorldCom Inc., a bankrupt company whose collapse represented one of the more spectacular recent corporate scandals. UC, which lost more than $350 million when WorldCom collapsed, decided to forgo participating in a huge class action under way in New York. UC also avoided naming WorldCom itself in the suit, a move designed to avoid the litigation complications presented by WorldCom’s bankruptcy. “While we believe that class action treatment is often preferable, in this case the University of California will likely obtain a more favorable result by filing a separate suit in California state court, asserting claims under California law,” UC General Counsel James Holst said in a statement. The massive complaint purports to document WorldCom’s downfall, along with the role played by the banks and superstar stock analyst Jack Grubman. Grubman is not named in the suit, either. “Rather than having true growth, WorldCom only appeared to be successful because of the defendants’ scheme to defraud,” the complaint reads. The defendants are Salomon Smith Barney, Citigroup Inc. and Arthur Andersen. UC is represented by Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy, who will try to keep the case in state court. “We believe very strongly that this is a case under state law. If this case is removed, we believe it will be sent back to state court,” Joseph Cotchett said. A case management conference has been set for July 18. — Jason Hoppin 3 SKJERVEN PARTNERS FORMING OWN FIRM A trio of Skjerven Morrill partners are launching their own San Francisco patent boutique in the wake of the firm’s dissolution announcement. The new firm of Parsons, Hsue & de Runtz is being founded by James Hsue, Gerald Parsons and K. Alison de Runtz. The group has a long history together, having moved to Skjerven in October 2000 from Majestic, Parsons, Siebert & Hsue, a now-defunct intellectual property firm. “There’s a lot of things to be said for staying the way we were,” said Hsue. “We were able to provide very good client service.” According to Hsue, the new firm will focus on patent and trademark prosecution, as well as client counseling, and will retain most of the long-term clients that the lawyers have represented since the days of Majestic, Parsons. In addition to the three partners, the new firm will include a handful of patent agents and paralegals. The group is moving into temporary office space on California Street today and hopes to be in full operation by next week. The move comes almost two weeks after Skjerven Morrill announced that the firm was dissolving. The day after the announcement, the majority of the firm’s IP litigators and corporate attorneys announced that they were moving to Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and Pillsbury Winthrop, respectively. — Alexei Oreskovic MCGEORGE TO HOST TALK ON TERRORISM SACRAMENTO — A diverse group of international academics will be at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law next week for two days of panels exploring terrorism’s effects on law and business. “Bordering on Terror” will be held Feb. 21 and 22. The first day will focus on public international law and features panelists from the Department of Defense, Lawyers Alliance for World Security and others, including McGeorge Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, who once served as general counsel to the CIA. The second day has three sessions and a keynote address during lunch by Thomas Eilmansberger of the University of Salzburg; he will discuss the European business response to terror. Other Feb. 22 highlights include a session called “Unfunding Terror” and a talk on homeland defense. The conference is free, unless non-McGeorge alumni want MCLE credit. — Jeff Chorney

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