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ORRICK TRIO PLEASED TO BE TANGLED IN TOUGH WEB CASE For a trio of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe litigators, representing a gay couple denied access to an adoption Web site is a chance to tackle a high-profile discrimination case — and work on a cutting-edge Internet issue. Orrick partner Neel Chatterjee and associates Anne-Marie Dinius and Christiana State are working pro bono for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in a suit against Adoption.com. Butler v. Adoption Media LLC, 03-427355, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Dec. 15, alleges the Web site operators are engaging in discriminatory and unfair business practices by denying access to prospective adoptive parents, Michael and Richard Butler of San Jose. Tempe, Ariz.-based Adoption.com did not return calls seeking comment. As intellectual property litigators, Chatterjee and Dinius said they are gleeful for the opportunity to work on a lawsuit involving the Internet and some of the jurisdictional questions it represents. One of the issues will be whether California law applies to a Web site operator based in Arizona. “Not only was it the right thing to do but it was exactly the kind of case we deal with,” Chatterjee said. “We know a lot about Internet liability and digital rights.” Chatterjee said Orrick’s Silicon Valley office, where he is based, has a long-standing relationship with the NCLR. The case struck a personal chord for him because his wife is expecting. He said he envisions the joy he’ll feel when his daughter arrives, and empathizes with the clients who’ve had the prospect of parenthood snatched away. Dinius said she also has a personal interest in the case. She’s a lesbian with an adopted son and has volunteered with NCLR before. She said she’s also been drawn to constitutional law questions since college and is psyched to be working on an Internet suit that involves jurisdictional issues and technology. “Web jurisdiction is a new aspect of the law that has been evolving over the past 10 years,” Dinius said. “It’s fun to be on the cutting edge.” – Renee Deger CHATTER MATTERS Silicon Valley litigators typically go to war over contracts, securities and intellectual property. But a trio of attorneys in Pillsbury Winthrop’s Palo Alto office have rallied to defend a chaplain’s free speech rights. The lawyers sued the Los Angeles County sheriff last week, challenging a policy of preventing L.A. County Jail volunteers from talking to the media. “I’m not a First Amendment specialist at all,” says Pillsbury partner Jason McDonell. “Nor do I think you need to be a First Amendment specialist to understand and get excited about this case.” Pillsbury, along with the Youth Law Center, have filed suit to restore chaplain Javier Stauring’s access to the jail where he ministers to minors facing trial in adult court. Stauring was barred from the jail in June after he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article criticizing the harsh conditions within the facility’s juvenile wing. The article described how minors were locked in small, windowless cells for 23-and-a-half hours a day, and noted two youth inmate suicides in May. Immediately after the article appeared, Stauring’s access to inmates was revoked. Two weeks later, the sheriff enacted a policy forbidding volunteers from talking to the press without prior approval. It’s basically an “effort to prevent public dialogue about what’s going on in these jails,” says McDonell. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeks injunctive relief. McDonell is being assisted by William Abrams, the co-chair of Pillsbury’s intellectual property practice, and securities litigation associate Krista Martinelli. A spokesperson for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said the department had been advised by its counsel not to comment on the case. — Alexei Oreskovic GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Cooley Godward lawyers who’ve left the fold haven’t been forgotten. Earlier this month the firm launched a Web portal for former colleagues –www.cooleyalumni.com — to provide job information, alumni profiles, proprietary legal publications and invitations to Cooley events. Marketing representative Christine Wherry said Cooley attorneys would also use the site to poll former colleagues about certain issues, such as the most important attribute in selecting outside counsel. Wherry said Cooley is contacting about 1,000 lawyers who have left the firm over the last decade to let them know about the online network. “The relationships that have been built among attorneys at Cooley are enduring ones,” Cooley Chairman and CEO Stephen Neal said in a news release. “Offering this portal is simply a way to strengthen and in some cases rekindle some of those connections.” Cooley is one of several firms to launch an alumni Web site in the last two years. Morrison & Foerster’s 2-year-old site includes an alumni directory and news about the firm and alumni, as well as a store to buy MoFo hats, T-shirts and other memorabilia. While MoFo developed its site, Cooley hooked up with SelectMinds Inc., a New York City-based company that creates Web sites to foster alumni relationships. O’Melveny & Myers has a similar alumni network, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is set to launch one in January. Other firms are also considering this new outreach tool. Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe communications director John Buchanan said Heller is trying to determine the best option for a “robust alumni program.” — Brenda Sandburg

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