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KEKER JOINS THE CAST OF A HOLLYWOOD MYSTERY For his latest high-profile client, John Keker is going Hollywood. The San Francisco criminal defense specialist is representing another top-name lawyer — L.A. entertainment hot shot Bertram Fields — who has been entangled in the FBI investigation of a prominent Los Angeles private investigator. The investigator, Anthony Pellicano, is suspected of planting illegal wiretaps — some of them on Tinseltown celebrities. It’s still not clear what role Fields has in the probe, but the partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella recently retained Keker to help him out. The Keker & Van Nest partner said he could not comment on the case. Fields issued a statement saying he had used Pellicano in such cases as the investigation of threats against the late George Harrison and had never authorized him to conduct wiretapping. “I have absolutely no information involving Mr. Pellicano and illegal wire taping and any suggestion that I do is complete baloney,” Fields said. This is just the latest in a string of headline grabbing clients Keker has picked up in recent years. He is currently representing investment banker Frank Quattrone against obstruction of justice charges and former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow. The FBI initially began investigating Pellicano following threats made against a Los Angeles Times reporter. Last year he was charged with weapons possession. The New York Times reported last week that Fields and other partners at Greenberg Glusker wrote letters to a judge supporting Pellicano’s request for bail. While the Pellicano case may evoke film noir images of the detective business, private investigators say wiretapping isn’t part of their trade. But it’s not unheard of. In the 1960s the late Hal Lipset, a San Francisco gumshoe regarded as the father of the modern PI business, pleaded no contest to a charge of wiretapping. San Francisco private investigator Alex Kline said that as a result of the incident Lipset later had to resign as the head of the Watergate investigation. Wiretapping is “like talking about black bag jobs or paid hits,” Kline said. “I don’t know anyone who does that stuff.” – Brenda Sandburg GENERATING CAPITAL AT THE CAPITOL Lobbying federal lawmakers is a sport dominated by Washington, D.C.’s indigenous firms. But for California law firms with Capitol Hill outposts, lobbying can provide a modest boost to the bottom line. According to public lobbying disclosure documents for the first half of 2003, San Francisco’s Thelen Reid & Priest was the highest-billing California firm in the federal government lobbying business. The firm reported approximately $1.5 million in lobbying income during the six-month period ending June 30, thanks to a client list studded with municipalities, and companies such as Goldman Sachs and L-3 Communications. Andrew Ness, Thelen’s D.C. managing partner, said the governmental affairs group was a small yet important practice within the office. “We need to offer clients the opportunity to solve their problems in a non-litigation kind of manner. You can challenge a regulation after it comes out, but it’s much more effective many times to try and get the problem solved at the legislative level and the regulatory level,” said Ness. He noted that only certain lobbying activities are subject to reporting requirements, such that the governmental affairs overall billings likely exceed $1.5 million. Thelen may have something of an inside track with the Bush administration. Former partner Stephan Minikes was a fund-raiser for George W. Bush and is now an ambassador. Other Golden State firms that reaped lobbying revenue include Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, which each netted approximately $1.2 million during the first half of the year. Of course, the numbers are small potatoes compared with the billings of the capital’s top lobbying machines. Washington, D.C.’s Patton Boggs, for instance, raked in $14.3 million during the same period, representing hundreds of clients ranging from the National Soft Drink Association to the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians. — Alexei Oreskovic FIRM FRIENDS On his way out the door last week, Gov. Gray Davis looked to a politically active Beverly Hills plaintiffs firm to fill several spots on unpaid commissions. Three attorneys with Kiesel, Boucher & Larson will go to two different panels. Davis tapped more people from the firm in his final round of appointments than from any other source, except for his own administration. Despite its small size, Kiesel, Boucher is well known in Democratic circles. Name partner Ray Boucher is vice president of Consumer Attorneys of California. In that position, he helps coordinate the group’s fund-raising efforts, which included the recent push to try to keep Davis in office or at least replace him with Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante In the 2001-02 election cycle, Boucher’s firm gave about $100,000 to various Democrats. The firm filed the first lawsuit challenging Davis’ recall, a pro bono case attacking signature gathering to put the recall on the ballot. The firm also represents Bustamante in energy litigation and has worked for the state Senate. Davis appointed Paul Kiesel, another name partner, to the Employment Training Panel and sent associates Elaine Mandel and Patrick DeBlase to the Commission on Uniform State Laws, which implements the recommendations of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. None of the positions require Senate confirmation, and incoming Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot make new appointments to those slots until 2005. Of the 187 non-judicial appointments announced Tuesday by Davis, 15 went to people readily identifiable as lawyers. — Jeff Chorney ALRP MARKS ITS 20TH The AIDS Legal Referral Panel of the San Francisco Bay Area celebrated its 20th anniversary last week with a nod to how the needs of the community it serves have evolved. “Today, we face more challenges to housing, insurance and employment issues than wills and powers of attorney,” which were the key issues facing clients when ALRP was formed, said Karl Christiansen, co-chair of the ALRP board of directors and a financial services lawyer at Morrison & Foerster. Since its founding in 1983, ALRP has handled more than 40,000 free and low-cost legal matters for people living with HIV/AIDS. It currently leverages nearly $1 million annually to serve more than 1,000 clients. The annual fund-raiser, held Thursday evening at the LIMN Gallery on Townsend Street, featured wine, hors d’oeuvres and silent and live auctions. It attracted an estimated 300 people and raised more than $100,000 — a record, said Jim McBride, ALRP’s director of development. Before Carole Migden, chairwoman of the state Board of Equalization, kicked off the live auction, she spoke of the progress made by the gay and lesbian community since ALRP’s founding, and of the mood in Sacramento. “We’ve matured,” she said. “We’ve created respect throughout the state and the country. It’s a great time to be queer.” And she added, “Arnold won’t be bad.” Migden got the live auction off to a good start, raising $7,500 for a 1963 Mini Cooper. — Lesley Guth

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