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San Francisco-With Arnold Schwarzenegger assembling a transition team, lawyers are trying to figure out how he will shape the judiciary and deal with legislation affecting the business of being an attorney. It’s widely agreed that the short recall campaign focused on the economy did not present much opportunity to explore these issues. Tort reform was part of the governor-elect’s platform but his ideas were vague and played a tiny part in Schwarzenegger’s overall vision of making California more business-friendly. Judicial appointments What sort of judges and appellate justices Schwarzenegger will appoint in the next three years is a bigger unknown. “We just don’t know what he thinks about the role of the judiciary,” said Clark Kelso, a University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law professor who once served under Governor Gray Davis. Figuring that out will be easier once Schwarzenegger announces who will be his judicial appointments secretary, a detail that wasn’t included in his announcement of a transition team. Vigo G. (Chip) Nielsen, the senior political law partner in the Mill Valley, Calif., office of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, said he hoped Schwarzenegger brings in someone who has been part of “the legal process” in the state and has spent his or her entire life within the legal system. He pointed to Davis’ appointments secretary, Burt Pines, as an example. Pines was Los Angeles city attorney and a partner at Alschuler, Grossman & Pines in Century City, Calif. Appointments under him have generally been well received by Democrats and Republicans. Pines now has his name in to become a judge. Because of former Governor Pete Wilson’s post as Schwarzenegger’s campaign adviser, there’s been a lot of talk about former Wilson people getting jobs with Schwarzenegger, including appointments and legal affairs secretaries. Although less influential on the judiciary, the legal affairs secretary post proved a great door-opener for lawyers in the Wilson years. State Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown and Third District Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Kolkey both served in that capacity under Wilson. Before the recall, the influential trial lawyers lobbying group Consumer Attorneys of California had warned of judicial doom under Schwarzenegger and a return to Wilson’s lack of diversity on the Superior Court bench. The group’s president, Bruce Brusavich of Torrance, Calif.’s Agnew & Brusavich, said that he was disappointed but toned down his earlier criticism. He said he was encouraged by Schwarzenegger’s acceptance-speech pledge of a bipartisan administration. Brusavich worked hard to keep Schwarzenegger out of office, raising nearly $2 million from trial lawyers for Davis and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. The lawyer closed the campaign by attending Bustamante’s election night party in a Sacramento hotel. Besides the possibility of judges who are unfriendly to the plaintiffs’ bar, Brusavich and his ilk may be also be depressed about Schwarzenegger’s likely use of his new position to help business interests modify California’s unfair-competition law. In this year’s legislative session, the consumer attorneys’ group blocked Republicans and moderate Democrats who wanted to substantially change the law.

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