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Troutman Sanders gets Jenkens’ New York office Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders has acquired the 91-lawyer New York office of Dallas’ Jenkens & Gilchrist. The acquisition is a bold move for Troutman Sanders, which will now have about 600 lawyers. “This is our first foray into the Northeast,” said Robert W. Webb, the managing partner of Troutman Sanders, who said the firm had made the acquisition a key part of its growth strategy. Webb said his firm had faced considerable client pressure to open in New York. But he said it was also clear that the firm should have a decent-sized presence very quickly. Ruling limits disclosure of Social Security number Absent an explicit legal exception, a private party cannot require a person to disclose his or her Social Security number, a New York trial court judge has ruled. “While the privilege must give way as required by statute, regulation, or court order, in ordinary circumstances, the person who holds the social security number appears to be free to decline disclosure,” Acting Supreme Court Justice Diane E. Lebedeff ruled in Meyerson v. Prime Realty Services, No. 118001/03. Lebedeff labeled the decision as one of “nationwide first impression.” The case arose when plaintiff Anna Meyerson’s landlord demanded she reveal her Social Security number in a form that accompanied her renewal lease. Belnick starts his own litigation boutique While an acquittal in a high-profile case is great advertising for most lawyers, it is unclear if that remains true when the lawyer is the one who has been acquitted. Mark A. Belnick is about to find out. After being found not guilty in one of last year’s most closely watched criminal trials among members of the legal profession, the former Tyco International Ltd. general counsel is returning to practice, this time at his own one-lawyer firm in New York. “There’s something very exciting about hanging up your shingle and seeing what will happen,” Belnick said. The Law Offices of Mark A. Belnick will focus on the sort of complex commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense work Belnick handled in his many years as a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison of New York. Round two for Microsoft Microsoft corp. has been given another chance to prove it did not infringe a University of California (UC) patent covering Web-browser technology and thereby sidestep a $521 million jury verdict. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled last week that a lower court erred in preventing Microsoft from presenting evidence to a jury that could invalidate the patent, which UC licensed exclusively to Eolas Technologies Inc. The decision sends the closely watched case back to U.S. district court in Chicago for a new trial on the validity of the Eolas patent. However, the appeals court did uphold the lower court’s interpretation of patent claims and found Microsoft liable for damages on foreign sales of its Windows and Internet Explorer products. Eolas Techs. v. Microsoft, No. 04-1234. Asian lawyers not happy over Calif. judge picks California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is catching heat from Asian-American lawyers over two appointments to San Francisco Superior Court. The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Chinese for Affirmative Action, a local community advocacy group, said they are disappointed in the choices to fill the seats on the San Francisco bench vacated by the death and retirement of two long-time judges, both Asian-Americans. “Not having an Asian-American included in this round of appointments is a slap in the face to the Asian-American community, which in large part supported this [governor's] administration,” Adachi said. The critics organizing the press conference emphasized, though, that they are not questioning the qualifications of the two nominees. The Republican governor’s Feb. 23 picks for San Francisco were Curtis Karnow and Marla Miller, both Democrats with big-firm civil litigation backgrounds and prosecutorial experience.

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