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SEYFARTH MERGES WITH 60-LAWYER FIRM Moving ahead with its plan to bulk up beyond its labor and employment law roots, Seyfarth Shaw has acquired a 60-attorney corporate firm in its hometown of Chicago. On Friday, Seyfarth announced its merger with D’Ancona & Pflaum, a 100-year-old firm that focuses on real estate, mutual fund, securities and other transactional work. “We have been working very hard to strengthen our corporate and real estate practices nationally,” said Seyfarth Managing Partner J. Stephen Poor. “It’s a really wonderful fit for us strategically.” The merger is slated to take effect Oct.1, with D’Ancona’s 33 partners and its other attorneys moving into Seyfarth’s downtown Chicago office. Partners at both firms voted to approve the deal last week. The deal is the latest in a string of moves Seyfarth has taken to diversify itself. Roughly half of the firm’s attorneys are labor and employment lawyers. Over the past few years, Seyfarth has snapped up small corporate boutiques in Boston and Atlanta. Earlier this year Seyfarth’s 50-attorney San Francisco office picked up a handful of attorneys from Altheimer & Gray, a longtime Chicago firm that announced its dissolution in July. The addition of D’Ancona will bring Seyfarth’s total headcount to 600 attorneys. According to Poor, Seyfarth began merger talks with D’Ancona in June, after learning that D’Ancona was interested in pairing up with another firm. D’Ancona’s bankruptcy group split off before the merger because of potential conflicts. But Poor said the value of the combination was not affected by the move, since Seyfarth already has a significant bankruptcy practice. “Our strategic goal is to grow a number of our practice areas,” said Poor. “[D'Ancona's] corporate practice really gives us some strength and depth that we’ve not had before.” — Alexei Oreskovic $18.7M PRICE-FIXING SETTLEMENT OVER PAINT PHILADELPHIA — In a class action price-fixing suit against the top manufacturers of automotive refinishing paint, a federal judge has granted final approval of an $18.7 million settlement by Akzo Nobel Car Refinishes, a subsidiary of Dutch chemical giant Akzo Nobel NV. But the litigation continues against the other four defendants: E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.; Sherwin-Williams Co.; BASF Corp.; and PPG Industries. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick was assigned by the Multi-District Litigation Panel to handle all of the antitrust suits filed in the wake of news in June 2001 that the Justice Department was probing the paint industry. At the time, news accounts of the probe focused on Akzo Nobel because the company pleaded guilty in 1997 and was fined $10 million for participating in an international conspiracy to fix the price of sodium gluconate, an industrial cleaner. Two Akzo executives also pleaded guilty, confessing that they had agreed with other manufacturers to “suppress and eliminate competition in the sodium gluconate market from August 1993 to June 1995,” according to Justice Department records. — The Legal Intelligencer

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