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Legal Aid Budget Gap May Spawn Layoffs The Legal Aid Society last week told the union representing its 800 staff attorneys that it will resort to layoffs if a projected budget gap of $21 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is not resolved by early May. Spokeswoman Pat Bath said the group hopes to close the deficit through increased funding and cost-saving measures, such as voluntary buyouts. Layoffs would be implemented “only as a last resort,” she said. Neither side has broached the question of contractual concessions as a way of realizing cost savings, said both Ms. Bath and union president James Rogers of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. If the gap persists by early May, Ms. Bath said, any union attorneys to be laid off will be given the contractually required 45-day notice. Only once in recent memory � in 1995 � have layoff notices been issued to staff attorneys, but actual layoffs were averted after a last-minute commitment of state funds. � Daniel Wise Federal Appeals Caseload Grows to Record High The number of appeals filed nationwide with U.S. Courts of Appeals grew by 6 percent last year, to a record high of 60,847, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts announced yesterday. The number of new federal criminal cases rose by 5 percent, to 70,642, and the number of bankruptcies by 7 percent, to more than 1.6 million. The statistics are kept by fiscal year, which means the most recent data is for the year ending Sept. 30, 2003. During the same time, civil filings dropped by 8 percent, to 252,962, with most of the decline attributable to a decrease in the number of asbestos suits filed. Personal injury/products liability filings, which had increased by 98 percent in fiscal year 2002, fell by 33 percent in 2003. � Daniel Wise Judge, Jury to Visit Scene of Alleged Rape A Nassau County Court judge is expected today to accompany jurors in a rape case to a Port Washington house where the alleged crime occurred. Judge Jerald S. Carter arranged the outing after it became evident that a pivotal issue in the case is where, within the small home, the alleged acts took place. Counsel for defendant Marilu Fischetti asserted that she could not have raped and sodomized a 15-year-old boy where prosecutors argued it had occurred because others in the house at the time would have known. Attorneys for both sides are expected to attend, as well as court officers and court personnel. Ms. Fischetti is charged with rape, sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child. She faces up to 4 years in prison. � Leigh Jones Cardozo Elects New Board Chair Kathryn O. Greenberg has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the first time in its history that the school has elected a chair from the ranks of its alumni. Ms. Greenberg, class of 1982, is founder and honorary chair of the New York Legal Assistance Group, which provides free civil legal services for low-income New Yorkers. She succeeds Earle I. Mack, who was board chair since 1992. Personal Notes on LawyersCharlotte Moses Fischman has been elected president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-NYC Metro. Ms. Fischman is a commercial litigation partner at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel. � Thelen, Reid & Priest has named Veronica E. Rendon a partner in its commercial litigation group. She has experience in securities, copyright and trademark infringement. � Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler has promoted Karla G. Sanchez to partner, litigation group and Karen M. McCarthy to counsel, international and corporate law. � Andrew S. Roffe has joined Robinson & Cole as a partner and chair of the administrative law group. He formerly practiced at Plunkett & Jaffe.

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