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FIRM POACHES 20 FROM SHAW PITTMAN WASHINGTON — Hunton & Williams’ has added 20 attorneys from Shaw Pittman’s insurance group to its McLean, Va., office, including practice co-founders Walter Andrews and Lon Berk. The departures from Shaw Pittman come just three weeks after the firm announced its merger with Pillsbury Winthrop. At the time, Pillsbury and Shaw Pittman indicated that the combined firm would shed approximately 100 lawyers, and the two firms’ insurance practices were said to have significant client conflicts. “In a merger this size, there are going to be conflicts,” said Pillsbury spokeswoman Crystal Rockwood. Thomas Cawley, managing partner of Hunton & Williams’ 45-lawyer Tysons Corner office, said that the new group’s leverage, its partner-to-associate ratio, was particularly attractive. Leaving along with Andrews and Berk are partners Paul Janaskie and Edward Grass. They are accompanied by 15 associates and one counsel. Cawley said that the new group is “a natural complement to the patent and toxic tort litigation that we’re already doing.” A spokeswoman for Shaw Pittman did not immediately return a call. Last week, Frank Winston, also a co-founder of what had been Shaw Pittman’s 23-attorney insurance group, announced that he and two associates were departing to join the insurance practice of Steptoe & Johnson’s D.C. office. — Legal Times U.S. OUTLINES EBBERS’ FRAUD, STEP BY STEP NEW YORK — In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors labeled former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers as the leader of a massive accounting fraud orchestrated to save his personal fortune. “Money, power and pressure corrupted Ebbers,” William Johnson, an assistant U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York, said in summarizing the complicated case against Ebbers. Johnson, whose voice remained at a steady volume throughout, offered a systematic portrayal of the $11 billion accounting fraud. He also brushed aside the defense claim that Ebbers was ignorant of the fraud despite his position as its leader. In a low-key, methodical delivery lasting more than three hours, the prosecutor outlined the steps Ebbers and his foot-soldiers took at WorldCom to understate expenses and inflate revenues to meet lofty Wall Street expectations. The government charged Ebbers with nine counts of securities fraud and related crimes. If found guilty, he could face decades in jail. “What we heard in this trial,” Johnson said, “is that Ebbers and Sullivan cooked the books quarter after quarter.” — New York Law Journal

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