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The boom in litigation work in Silicon Valley is trickling down to the smallest of players. The 13-lawyer San Jose defense boutique, Bergeson LLP, is readying itself to ride a wave of new work generated by increased scrutiny on corporate practices. Name partner and Bergeson’s founder, Daniel Bergeson, is moving his firm to bigger offices next week as demand for securities defense expertise prompts him to look for new hires. His firm is taking the offices vacated last year by Coudert Brothers when that firm relocated its South Bay team to Palo Alto. “There’s a lot of litigation going on right now,” Bergeson said. Bergeson, who founded his firm in 1991, started out in the Valley at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, then managed the California office of London’s Scates & Rosenblatt before striking out on his own. He said he likes small-firm life, and he doesn’t have a grand plan to fill up all of the new space. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, Bergeson said. Securities regulators, investors and federal criminal prosecutors are looking deeper into company books in the Valley and are putting more executives in the hot seat in the wake of corporate scandals like the one involving Enron Corp. Bergeson, which changed its name from Bergeson Eliopoulos in June after partner William Eliopoulos left to join Rutan & Tucker, specializes in defending companies and executives in securities class action and derivative suits. The firm also has busy intellectual property, employment and commercial litigation practices. In a crowd of large, corporate Silicon Valley firms, Bergeson acknowldeges that his firm is one of the smallest hired to defend companies in securities class actions. “We’re one of the few small firms that pop up in these cases,” Bergeson said. “I would not want to go to a level of having so many attorneys that we lose our ability to mobilize quickly.” The firm is also seeing a rise in audit committee work, and Bergeson said he doesn’t want to risk taking on so many lawyers and new clients that he ends up getting conflicted out of the work. “We don’t have the ties that can be viewed as being conflicts for the purposes of having independent counsel.”

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