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FORMER GOV. WILSON JOINS BINGHAM GROUP Former California Gov. Pete Wilson will join Bingham Consulting Group, a subsidiary of Boston-based Bingham McCutchen. Wilson, who begins work in Los Angeles on Monday, will also be of counsel to Bingham McCutchen. Bingham Consulting helps national and international companies create and implement multi-state business and political strategies. The firm specializes in state-regulated industries such as energy, financial services, health care and information technology. Wilson is currently a distinguished visiting fellow at the Herbert Hoover Institution of Stanford University and a member of President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. — Adrienne Sanders WILLIAMS SETTLES WITH PG&E AND OTHERS The Williams Cos. will pay $140 million to Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and other companies to settle claims that it drove up prices during the state’s 2000 energy crisis, according to a statement released by PG&E. PG&E, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, said it will receive approximately $75 million from Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams. “This settlement brings us another step closer in closing the book on California’s energy crisis,” said PG&E Senior Vice President and General Counsel Roger Peters in a statement. In November 2002, the state of California settled its energy crisis-related claims with Williams for $417 million. Williams is one of numerous energy generators accused — in a $9 billion refund case pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — of manipulating the market and overcharging utilities for gas and electricity between 2000 and 2001. The company joins Houston-based El Paso Corp., which settled with the state of California and various utilities in June 2003 for $1.6 billion. Williams’ settlement agreement must be approved by the FERC, the California Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court overseeing PG&E’s Chapter 11 case. — Alexei Oreskovic BANKRUPTCY STILL A GROWTH INDUSTRY Personal insolvencies drove bankruptcy filings up 5.2 percent in 2003, according to a report released Wednesday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2003, federal bankruptcy courts took in a total of 1,660,245 filings, compared with 1,577,651 the year before. Non-business bankruptcies continued to increase and to account for the lion’s share of the filings, while the number of business cases dropped for the second year in a row. According to the report, non-business bankruptcies increased to 1,625,208, up 5.6 percent from the 1,539,111 non-business cases filed in calendar year 2002. “Today’s announcement underscores the continued hangover effect of high levels of consumer spending and debt acquired over the last decade,” American Bankruptcy Institute Executive Director Samuel Gerdano said in a statement about the report. Chapter 11 business reorganizations dropped 16.6 percent, with 9,404 filings, compared with 11,270 the year before. The report also flagged the rising caseload inundating the bankruptcy court. According to the report, the number of filings per judge has surged 90.8 percent in the past decade, with each judge responsible for 5,124 filings in 2003 compared with 2,685 in 1993. Meanwhile, the report noted, no new bankruptcy judgeships have been created since 1992. — Alexei Oreskovic BINGHAM PARTNER JUMPS TO SHEARMAN Securities law and corporate governance specialist Stephen Hibbard is leaving Bingham McCutchen for New York-based Shearman & Sterling. Hibbard, who had been the chair of Bingham McCutchen’s securities and corporate litigation group, will work out of Shearman & Sterling’s San Francisco office. “In many ways it’s a dream job for someone who regularly represents investment banks,” Hibbard said, citing Shearman’s strong capital markets practice in Northern California and its global presence. Hibbard has represented U.S. and foreign clients in securities class actions, derivatives litigation and merger and acquisition litigation. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1986. Shearman has more than 1,000 lawyers, including nine partners in San Francisco and Menlo Park. — Adrienne Sanders

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