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Former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partners are having trouble keeping their counsel of choice. At a hearing Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali reaffirmed his earlier decision to disqualify Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub from representing a large group of former Brobeck partners. And a bankruptcy trustee is trying to sever the group’s ties with another lawyer. “I am persuaded that I got it right,” Montali said of his previous ruling. The subject matter Pachulski, Stang previously handled for Brobeck “constitutes enough sameness” to the issues raised in the bankruptcy proceedings to disqualify the firm. Bankruptcy trustee Ronald Greenspan objected to the firm providing counsel since it had previously represented Brobeck and would be acting in opposition to the estate. Montali denied a stay of his order pending an appeal by Pachulski, Stang, and a group of 128 former Brobeck partners has lined up a replacement: Los Angeles boutique Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern. The group is also seeking to hire Eliot Jubelirer, of Morgenstein & Jubelirer, to counsel it in matters related to the bankruptcy. But the trustee is opposing his involvement as well, since he previously represented Brobeck in a suit brought against it by the now-defunct Santa Monica firm Dickson, Carlson & Campillo. “We’re disheartened that out of hundreds or thousands of firms out there, [the Brobeck partners] picked one with a deep and elaborate connection to Brobeck,” said Greenspan’s lawyer James Johnston, a partner at Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman. In an indication of the contentiousness between the two parties, Jubelirer told Montali that the trustee had threatened to disqualify Klee, Tuchin from the case if he talked to the firm, “on the grounds I am contaminating them.” Montali asked Johnston which parts of the case he would like to disqualify Morgenstein & Jubelirer from working on. Johnston said such matters would include the defense of partners against claims brought by the trustee. Greenspan had said in a previous court filing that the Brobeck estate could potentially recover $275 million in distributions made to partners while Brobeck was insolvent. He also filed a complaint against a group of former Brobeck partners and employees for assigning rights to a suit against Clifford Chance to a liquidation trust in a way that favored members of the trust over other creditors. Montali did not take up the proposed settlements that Greenspan has reached with Clifford Chance and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to clear them of potential litigation over Brobeck’s collapse last year.

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