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ROPERS TAPS 3 FOR PARTNERSHIP RANKS Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley elevated three associates to partner, bringing the partnership ranks of the 124-attorney firm to 58. Kathryn Curry, who specializes in complex civil litigation, bad faith insurance litigation, professional negligence and ERISA law, is the new partner in the firm’s Redwood City office. In the San Francisco office, Terry Anastassiou, who has an appellate practice and also focuses on civil rights, partnership dissolution, and insurance, employment and intellectual property law, joined the partnership ranks. Curry and Anastassiou are both 1991 graduates of Santa Clara University School of Law. Kim Karelis, who primarily represents insurance companies in contractual litigation, is the new partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He received his law degree in 1993 from Southwestern University School of Law. – Brenda Sandburg LAWYER LOST LICENSE, THEN A MURDER TRIAL NEW YORK — What happens when your lawyer gets disbarred three weeks before your trial and, without letting you know about this development, goes on to defend you anyway? In Florida, at least, you get a new trial. Florida’s First District Court of Appeal has affirmed a trial court’s decision to vacate Jean Joubert’s second-degree murder conviction, holding that since his trial attorney was granted a disciplinary resignation — effectively the same as a disbarment — three weeks before Joubert’s trial, Joubert’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated. State v. Joubert, 3D02-1166. Joubert’s trial attorney, Steven Scott, was accused of misappropriating funds and agreed to a disciplinary resignation from the bar. In an order that noted, “disciplinary resignation is tantamount to disbarment,” the Florida Supreme Court accepted Scott’s resignation, effective on May 24, 2001. Joubert’s trial took place about three weeks later, from June 12 to June 15, with Scott as trial counsel, despite his disbarment and affidavit to the Florida Supreme Court promising he would cease all representations. Joubert was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He moved to vacate the conviction, arguing that since Scott was not licensed at the time of Joubert’s trial, he was denied effective assistance of counsel. The trial court agreed and vacated the conviction. The state appealed, arguing that, under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), Joubert had to show he was prejudiced by Scott’s disbarment. – The National Law Journal

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