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NEW YORK — Here’s proof they don’t make Hollywood rumors like they used to. Century City entertainment lawyer John Lavely Jr. — Jay to those he’s not threatening — wants to be notified if some little creep knocks three times and whispers that Catherine Zeta-Jones was seen passing up strawberries for a second helping of pork cracklings. In a Nov. 7 letter to General Counsel Douglas Jacobs of Court TV, Lavely gives his phone number and asks Jacobs to tell him if he knows who’s the rumormonger behind news reports that Lavely’s client Zeta-Jones lost weight by following the anti-carb Atkins diet. Zeta-Jones never went on that diet, Lavely said, and because the high-fat regimen has long been “derided” by nutritionists as dangerous, reprinting the calumny damages her reputation. As in damages. The rumor incorrectly makes her sound like someone more interested in external beauty than in healthful practices, Lavely said, and besides it could undermine her ability to sign endorsements for health products. According to The Smoking Gun, which posted the letter on the Internet, identical warnings went to many media outlets internationally. (Full disclosure: Lavely & Singer’s other name partner, Martin Singer, sent a similar saber-rattler to The National Law Journal in 1996 on a story about client Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was juicier than a purported diet.) FIT TO PRINT Like most big firms, Dorsey & Whitney of Minneapolis has a Web site with a news section. The site states it doesn’t reflect the firm’s views but just contains general information of interest. An Oct. 31 entry, from the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., is headlined “Dorsey Sees Promise in Iraq.” It said the firm was one of the first to unveil a practice dedicated to reconstruction there. Nov. 10: The firm announced that patent attorney Birgit Millauer has joined its San Francisco office. Nov. 11: A Washington Post article told how a new Pentagon office will coordinate priorities for Iraq reconstruction. Nov. 12: The firm sponsors a seminar on retaliation claims in Irvine. There were some mentions in the press that Dorsey & Whitney seems to have missed. To wit: Nov. 4: The Pioneer Press reports that a Seattle judge hit Dorsey & Whitney with what’s said to be the largest penalty against a law firm in Washington history, $400,000, for pursuing allegedly baseless claims. The firm plans to appeal. Nov. 6: The British Legal Week said Dorsey & Whitney has settled a claim by an ex-associate who claimed he was overlooked for partnership three times while white lawyers at the firm’s London office were promoted. ACRONIMBLE OK, the movie “Intolerable Cruelty” made up the divorce group National Organization of Matrimonial Attorneys Nationwide and its motto “Let N.O.M.A.N. Put Asunder.” But here are some new — and real –acronyms: Chatroom etiquette dictates that you type IAAL, “I am a lawyer,” by way of warning. (Interestingly, this seems to have come after the reassuring IANAL, “I am not a lawyer.”) Washington lawyers show they’re in the know by pronouncing PFIAB, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, as “Piffy-ab.” SOX is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, motivating all those seminars for executives on security issues and accounting practices. And, by way of what might be called a backronym (you start with the letters), there’s a litigation-tangled company named CUBIC whose courtroom opponents swear it means “See you bastards in court.” Gail Diane Cox is a reporter for The National Law Journal , a Recorder affiliate based in New York City.

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