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Another high-profile supervisor is leaving the U.S. attorney’s office. Martha Boersch, who recently secured the conviction of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko after a lengthy trial, will step down as a prosecutor at the beginning of September to join Jones Day’s burgeoning San Francisco practice. “After 12 years, it’s time to move on,” said Boersch, who is head of the organized crime strike force. She informed U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan on Tuesday. It’s the second major resignation this week. Patrick Robbins, the head of Ryan’s securities fraud unit, also gave notice and is in talks with Shearman & Sterling, a New York-based firm with two Bay Area offices, San Francisco and Menlo Park. The departures of the two supervisors, along with that of William Kimball, another member of the securities fraud unit, have some members of the legal community wondering if there are problems within Ryan’s office. Ryan said it’s normal for talented lawyers to circulate back into private practice. He isn’t worried about the resignations, calling them just “natural and healthy attrition.” Besides, he said, “I believe this is going to be it for awhile.” Because Robbins and Boersch aren’t scheduled to leave until the end of the summer, Ryan said he’ll have plenty of time to find their replacements. Over at Jones Day, Boersch will be one of two partners brought in to establish the firm’s white-collar practice in San Francisco. The firm, which has about 2,000 lawyers worldwide, is growing its criminal investigations section nationwide, and Boersch will work with other defense attorneys who were recently hired into the Los Angeles office. Robert Mittelstaedt, a partner in San Francisco, said Boersch’s ability to try big cases makes her the “perfect fit” for Jones Day’s West Coast practice. She also will do some civil work. “I think her international experience will also be put to good use,” Mittelstaedt said. That experience faced a rigorous test recently during Lazarenko’s trial, which began this spring after years of delays. Although the former head of state came to the United States in 1999 seeking asylum, he was instead indicted on charges including extortion and money laundering. Prosecutors alleged Lazarenko, who was prime minister in 1996-97, used his position to extort and defraud tens of millions of dollars from the people of his home country and wired the money through banks in San Francisco. Boersch suffered a blow halfway through the case when U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins threw out about half of the nearly 60 charges against Lazarenko. But Boersch eventually prevailed — the jury returned guilty verdicts on 29 counts June 3. Boersch graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law and then spent 2 1/2 years clerking for a district judge in Alaska. She returned to California to work at San Francisco’s Sideman & Bancroft for three years before joining the Northern District U.S. attorney’s office. Before heading up the organized crime strike force, she was head of securities fraud. Boersch said she is ready to go. “Twelve years is sort of too long. [But] it’s a great job. I’m really going to miss it,” Boersch said. Jones Day opened its Bay Area office in May 2003 and has aggressively hired lawyers away from other firms. Now there are about 30 lawyers in San Francisco, including a dozen partners.

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