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LAMBDA’S DAVIDSON PROMOTED TO DIRECTOR Jon Davidson, senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, was named the group’s legal director Monday. The promotion will take Davidson to Lambda’s national headquarters in New York. “Jon Davidson is a brilliant lawyer and one of our movement’s great strategic minds,” Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said in a prepared statement. “As a longtime civil rights attorney, Jon understands the needs of the [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] and HIV communities, and he know how to deliver results that impact people’s lives.” Davidson has worked for Lambda for nine years, coming to the organization after serving as the senior staff counsel and director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. He also worked eight years for L.A.’s Irell & Manella after getting his degree from Yale Law School. At Lambda, Davidson has won cases establishing public school students’ First Amendment right to be open about their sexual orientation, determining gay employees’ right to pursue same-sex harassment claims and making clear that asylum must be granted for persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “Working on behalf of LGBT people and those with HIV has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Davidson said in a prepared statement. “By assuming stewardship of Lambda Legal’s talented legal department, I am taking on a task that both humbles and excites me.” — Mike McKee VISITS BY INSPECTORS SANS WARRANT ALLOWED NEW YORK — The “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement can be applied to a regulatory inspection of private property by environmental officials, a divided federal appeals panel has ruled. Judges Roger Miner and Jose Cabranes of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found a Department of Environmental Conservation inspector was justified in walking onto private property to perform a visual inspection of tidal wetlands for a proposed dock expansion, even though the owner had written the department to specifically refuse access to his land. “We think it is wise for courts to be cautious in applying the special needs doctrine, given that it allows for a degree of governmental intrusion into concededly private areas,” Judge Miner wrote in Palmieri v. Lynch, 03-9038. “But we cannot escape the conclusion that in cases such as the one at bar, the doctrine may be especially applicable, given its utility in providing a framework to balance important non-arbitrary governmental objectives against de minimis intrusions in situations in which there is some degree of an expectation of privacy.” The opinion was strongly opposed by Judge Chester Straub, who in dissent said the court was expanding the “narrow ‘special needs’ exception to cover non-exigent searches” of private property “belonging to citizens who neither have nor are suspected to have committed any crime at all.” — New York Law Journal

NEW PARTNERS

BINGHAM MCCUTCHEN LIFTS EIGHT TO PARTNER Bingham McCutchen announced Monday that it will elevate eight local associates — seven in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek — to partner, effective Jan. 1. Marc Bruner represents public agencies in environmental and land-use issues from the firm’s office in Walnut Creek. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1993. Monty Agarwal, a 1997 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, specializes in IP litigation and patent prosecution. Anthony Falzone, also a member of the IP Litigation and Patent Prosecution Group, works with technology and media clients. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1997. Thomas Hixson specializes in commercial litigation as a member of the Antitrust and Trade Regulation Group. He also received his J.D. in 1997 from Harvard Law School. Geoffrey Holtz specializes in IP, commercial and tort litigation, and insurance as a member of the IP litigation group. He received his J.D. in 1997 from Hastings College of the Law. Neha Shah Nissen focuses on complex commercial litigation, telecommunications and energy suits as part of the antitrust group. She graduated in 1997 from the Boalt Hall School of Law. A member of the Construction and Project Finance Group, Craig van Rooyen was a Riverside County deputy district attorney before joining Bingham. He received his J.D. in 1996 from the UCLA School of Law. Jason Yurasek, a member of the antitrust group, specializes in commercial litigation with a focus on class actions. He graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1997. Bingham also elevated four partners in its Boston office, three in New York and one in Orange County. The 850-lawyer firm promoted a total of six associates to partner last year. — Justin Scheck

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