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Less than one month after an ousted Contra Costa County judge lost his last attempt to regain his gavel, Gov. Gray Davis has replaced him with a veteran appellate attorney from Bingham McCutchen. Leslie Landau, the 45-year-old managing partner of Bingham’s San Francisco office, was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court, the governor’s office announced Monday. “I am looking forward to helping the people of Contra Costa County solve legal problems,” Landau said. On Monday, Landau and a Bingham spokesman said it was unclear who would become managing partner after she joined the bench. Landau, who says she would begin her judicial appointment within two weeks, said she has many appellate cases under submission around the country that must be passed on to other attorneys. Landau joined McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen as an associate in 1984, and later became a partner and chair of the firm’s appellate group. McCutchen, Doyle merged with Boston’s Bingham Dana in 2002. After the merger, Landau became managing partner of the San Francisco office and co-chair of the firm’s appellate group. Landau has been an adjunct professor of law at Hastings College of the Law, a lawyer representative for the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a board member of California Women Lawyers. Early in her career, Landau was a law clerk for now-deceased Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William Doyle. Landau, who will earn $139,476 annually, replaces Walnut Creek Judge Bruce Van Voorhis. In February, the Commission on Judicial Performance removed Van Voorhis from the bench for repeatedly humiliating jurors, court staff and attorneys. Van Voorhis asked the California Supreme Court to review the commission’s decision. The justices unanimously denied his petition for review Sept. 10. Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Laurel Brady said it’s unclear where Landau will be assigned. Brady said there is one vacancy on the bench, left by the retirement of Judge James Trembath.

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