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Defections from Coudert in London, Moscow Eight partners from Coudert Brothers’ London office have left to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s operations there. In addition, Orrick also has picked up three partners from Coudert’s Moscow office and recently hired the managing partner from Coudert’s Paris office. Since 2000, New York-based Coudert has closed offices in several locations. In the last two years, the number of attorneys at Coudert has dropped from 630 to 550. Coudert partner Edward Tillinghast, a member of the firm’s executive board, said the firm is restructuring to focus on core practice areas. He will serve as interim head of Coudert’s London office, replacing Dean Poster, now with Orrick. 9th Circuit sends asignal on terrorism act A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent a signal that it may declare unconstitutional a portion of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 on separation of powers grounds. In a May 18 order, the panel invited the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene with a brief defending claims that the terrorism act unconstitutionally limits sources of law the judicial branch must use to review state habeas decisions. Federal judges have chafed at Section 2254(d)(1), which requires them to ignore constitutional errors by state courts so long as the error was not “unreasonable.” Irons v. Carey, No. 05-15275. New California state bar chief urges dues hike Attorneys who want to become State Bar of California president don’t often come right out and say that a dues increase isn’t only necessary, but unavoidable, for the organization’s survival. Riverside, Calif., attorney James Heiting, who will be the state bar’s 81st president starting in September, did just that. He is a partner at Heiting & Irwin, which specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury cases. Heiting stated that fees-which are going up by $5 for active members this year after holding steady at $390 for six years-will have to go higher in the next few years. He argued that the state bar has held the line only by digging the organization into a hole through deficit spending. Without a raise in fees, he said, state bar programs and services for both lawyers and the public could suffer. Ashcroft’s lobbying move a first for AGs John Ashcroft’s decision to open his own lobbying shop in Washington marks the first time a former U.S. attorney general has opened a K Street lobbying firm. But political insiders say that Ashcroft, a 25-year veteran of politics and former governor and senator from Missouri, may be able to use his controversial tenure as attorney general to his advantage, particularly on homeland security issues. Ashcroft will be joined at his new firm, dubbed the Ashcroft Group, by long-time Chief of Staff David Ayres and former aide Juleanna Glover Weiss, a lobbyist at consultancy firm Clark & Weinstock. Ashcroft and Ayres declined to comment. Pa.’s high court reviews sperm donor duties suit Men will be reluctant to donate their sperm to sperm banks if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds an order directing a donor to pay child support for twins his sperm went to create, the donor’s attorney told the high court last week. The case of Ferguson v. McKiernan, No. 741 MAL 2004, pits the welfare of the children against the contractual rights of the donor father, who says the mother agreed-prior to conception-that he would neither have any rights to the children, nor be obligated to support them financially. A lower court found valid but unenforceable the oral contract between the donor and the mother, saying that Pennsylvania case law doesn’t permit parents to bargain away the support rights of children.

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