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Gonzales mulls overhaul of counterterrorism The Justice Department is in the final stages of presenting President George W. Bush with a proposal to overhaul the department’s counterterrorism efforts. The most dramatic option being considered would create a new national security division within the Justice Department-a move that would transfer responsibility for fighting terrorism from the Criminal Division to a new counterterrorism czar at the upper levels of the department. In a recent interview with Legal Times, a sister publication of The National Law Journal, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that “[f]ighting terrorism is the No. 1 priority of the department. Yet we don’t have a centralized point within the department that addresses solely terrorism-related issues.” Lawyers have duty to investigate source of fees In a decision that legal ethics experts say could affect a variety of civil lawyers, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an attorney has a duty to investigate the funds with which a client pays-especially if a court injunction has frozen the client’s assets. In a case of first impression, the 5th Circuit ruled in Federal Trade Comm’n v. Assail Inc., No. 03-51461, that the same general ethics rules that require criminal defense attorneys to audit clients to ensure they are not being paid in tainted fees should also apply to civil attorneys. 9th Circuit: Judges may review ‘Booker’ rulings The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave district judges limited power to review their own sentences last week in a compromise to resolve the hundreds of appeals thrown into disarray by U.S. v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005). The fractured 7-4 en banc decision was one of the most acrimonious to come out of the circuit in recent memory. Dissenters accused the majority of not following Supreme Court precedent and of placing administrative concerns over the interests of justice. “If we decline to find out what the district court knows unless the defendant can make a showing of something over which he had no control, the defendant will surely feel abused . . . and everyone will be left to wonder about whether the sentencing court might have acted differently,” Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote. Christopher Cox picked by Bush to lead SEC President George W. Bush named conservative U.S. Representative Christopher Cox, R-Calif., to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, a day after William Donaldson announced he was stepping down after 28 months. Bush called Cox “a champion of the free enterprise system in Congress” and said “he’ll be an outstanding leader of the SEC.” Cox, 52, a member of the House Republican leadership, has a wide-ranging background, from foreign policy and economic issues to homeland security. He has represented California in Congress for 16 years. Before that, he was a corporate finance lawyer in private practice and served as a senior counsel in the Reagan White House. Pillsbury Winthrop pulls out of Connecticut Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman doesn’t have enough lawyers in Stamford, Conn., to justify the cost of maintaining its branch office there, firm officials said recently in announcing an end to the outpost’s 26-year run. Plans were to close down Pillsbury’s Stamford office at the end of last week. Susan J. Kohlman, managing partner of the approximately 900-lawyer firm’s New York office, said the move is not related to the recent merger of Pillsbury Winthrop and Shaw Pittman. “It was purely a business decision the board made. We’ve always been looking at [the Stamford office] because size has always been a concern,” Kohlman said. Kohlman would not say what is to become of the eight lawyers now based in the Stamford office.

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