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I am writing in response to TheRecorder’s April 6 article titled ” Playing Hard to Get.” The article attributes to me the suggestion that “top trial lawyers don’t tend to reside in national firms” and that I don’t try to recruit trial lawyers from smaller firms because they would be “too independent” for a big firm. Now that I have endured a week of good-natured ribbing from friends and colleagues alike, I would like to correct the considerable mis-impression I must have left with your reporter. I have been a trial lawyer for 34 years and I’ve been privileged to work with and against some of the finest trial lawyers of our time. It is true that somelarge law firms no longer have many — or in some cases any — truly accomplished trial lawyers. Large firms do, however, have many great litigators — practitioners who are often smart enough, lucky enough or otherwise prefer to avoid the ultimate crucible of legal conflict. Trial lawyers are a breed apart and they are by nature independent. I regard this as a virtue, and I am sure my own stubborn independence has been a subject of some comment among my many partners and friends over the years. So, let me refine or restate the message I thought I had conveyed to your reporter. Our discussion was occasioned by our announcement that Dan Johnson, who is indeed a great trial lawyer and a very independent person, had elected to join Morgan, Lewis. My message was that some big firms have accomplished litigators and excellent peripheral services, while some boutiques offer fine trial lawyers but little else. Morgan, Lewis, on the other hand, has more than 600 lawyers skilled in every litigation specialty. We have litigated more than 10,000 cases in the last three years andwe do have an impressive group of the country’s finest trial lawyers, including nine Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, 58 lawyers in The Best Lawyers of America, and four honored as California Lawyers of the Year recipients — three for their trial work. I appreciate your paper’s courtesy and professionalism in inviting me to clarify this matter. Franklin Brockway Gowdy San Francisco

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