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ORRICK VETERAN LEAVES FOR PAUL, HASTINGS Employment litigator Jeffrey Wohl, a 21-year veteran of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, jumped to the San Francisco office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker on Monday. Wohl said he was attracted to the firm’s employment practice, which is larger than Orrick’s. Paul, Hastings has “an enormous platform to do employment law on,” Wohl said. “What’s going on in San Francisco is special in the number and level of cases and the growth they are experiencing.” Los Angeles-based Paul, Hastings has 70 lawyers based in San Francisco, 18 of whom do employment law. Firmwide, there are 150 full-time employment lawyers at Paul, Hastings compared with about 50 at Orrick. Wohl started as a summer clerk at Orrick in 1979. After graduating from Harvard Law School he clerked for a federal judge in Louisiana before joining Orrick as an associate in 1981. He also served as Orrick’s first general counsel from 1990 to 2000. “We have very much admired Jeff Wohl and have wanted him to be a partner,” said Nancy Abell, chair of Paul, Hastings’ employment law department. “We’ve heard rave reviews about him.” Abell said partners at Paul, Hastings have spoken at events with Wohl over the years and also share some common clients. Wohl said he expects his clients, which include emerging companies and Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies in high tech, retail and financial services, will follow him to Paul, Hastings. — Brenda Sandburg MOTION TO DISMISS RICO CASE DENIED A motion to dismiss a gang racketeering case in U.S. district court — based on an argument that the FBI engaged in “outrageous” governmental misconduct that violated defendants’ due process — was denied without prejudice Monday. Judge Charles Breyer’s ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is a setback for defense attorney Marc Zilversmit. The San Francisco solo represents Armando Heredia, one of several defendants charged in the case with conducting or conspiring to conduct a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization [RICO] operation through the Nuestra Familia prison gang. “I’m sort of disappointed, because [the decision] didn’t address the most powerful evidence of misconduct, which we uncovered after we filed the motion,” said Zilversmit, who filed the motion. The defendants argued that the FBI didn’t merely infiltrate, but took over street operations of the gang through an informant, Daniel Hernandez. The government countered that Hernandez’s orders came from gang leaders, not the government, and that at most the informant facilitated the defendants’ already ongoing criminal conduct, according to Breyer’s decision. Zilversmit said the defense didn’t get its “most powerful” evidence — transcripts from police interviews with a defendant in a related state case — until after the motion was filed. He included that evidence in his reply brief, he said. Though the judge didn’t say as much in his decision, Zilversmit thinks the court may have deemed the additional evidence improperly included since the government had no chance to respond to the defendants’ reply brief with a brief of its own, he said. In the close of his decision, though, Breyer does note that “defendants are free to refile their motion should they uncover relevant evidence in the course of pretrial disclosures or at trial.” Zilversmit said his most likely course of action is to refile immediately, incorporating the late-coming evidence into the body of the motion. A trial in USA v. Rubalcaba, 00-00654, has been set for Oct. 7. — Pam Smith PERKINS COIE GROWS EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE Perkins Coie expanded its employment practice in San Francisco with the recent hire of David Ongaro from Philadelphia’s Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Ongaro was one of eight former Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon lawyers to launch a San Francisco office for Schnader in 1999 shortly after Bronson voted to dissolve. Having helped start the office for Schnader made the decision to leave a difficult one, Ongaro said, but Perkins offered a broader network of support on the West Coast. Schnader, a general services firm, has about 250 lawyers sprinkled among eight offices. Most are based on the East Coast. “There’s a lot more business for me to tap into,” with Perkins, Ongaro said. The clients that moved with him, which number about a dozen, will benefit from Perkins’ Los Angeles office, he added. His clients include HSBC Holdings PLC, a U.K.-based bank holding company, and Labor Ready Inc., a temporary staffing company based in Tacoma, Wash. Ongaro’s arrival as a partner brings to five the number of partners at Perkins’ 23-lawyer San Francisco outpost. — Renee Deger FIRMS SEE PROSPECTS IN REBUILDING OF IRAQ NEW YORK — While many issues relating to how Iraq’s reconstruction will proceed remain unsettled, lawyers have already begun considering how they and their clients can get a piece of the action. White & Case has already launched a strategic initiative focusing on Iraqi reconstruction. A project of the firm’s Middle East practice group, the initiative is seeking to mobilize and coordinate lawyers within the firm who have expertise relevant to the situation in postwar Iraq. “We’re finding people who share an enthusiasm for helping out with Iraqi reconstruction,” said Alexander Kritzalis, the New York-based head of White & Case’s Middle East group. William Weisberg, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman, said the most striking aspect of Iraqi reconstruction will be the number and variety of companies that ultimately participate. “This will be a big concern for the pharmaceutical industry, the software industry and others that would have a role in reconstruction,” he said. — New York Law Journal

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