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ALAMEDA COURT NAMES NEW PRESIDING JUDGE George Hernandez Jr. was named presiding judge of Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday while fellow jurist Henry Needham Jr. was named assistant presiding judge. Both judges were selected by their colleagues through a nomination process and will replace Presiding Judge Barbara Miller and Assistant Presiding Judge Robert Freedman on Jan. 1. Hernandez, 54, has served as the supervising judge of the Hayward Hall of Justice since 2004 and is also a past supervising judge of the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton. A former municipal court judge, he was appointed to the superior court by Gov. Pete Wilson. Hernandez received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law. Needham, 61, received his law degree from San Francisco Law School and was also appointed to the superior court bench in 1996. He has presided over civil and criminal courts and is currently assigned to asbestos litigation cases. Also a former Alameda County deputy DA, Needham was a partner of Walnut Creek firm Anderson, Galloway & Lucchese, specializing in medical malpractice suits. Both will serve two-year terms. — Warren Lutz GOVERNOR APPOINTS 3 TO SUPERIOR COURT SEATS Two prosecutors and a court commissioner were appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to fill judicial vacancies in Sacramento, Placer and Lake counties. Michael Savage, a Sacramento County deputy district attorney since 1986, was appointed to the Sacramento County Superior Court bench. Savage has been assigned to homicide prosecutions, sexual assaults and other serious violent felonies for the past six years. The Republican is a graduate of McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific. He replaces Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, who was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal in December. Richard Martin, a Mendocino assistant district attorney, was appointed to the Lake County Superior Court bench. Martin, 58, is a Republican and a graduate of San Fernando Valley College of Law. He fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert Crone. Schwarzenegger also appointed Robert McElhany, 60, a Placer County Superior Court commissioner, to the Placer County Superior Court. McElhany is a Republican and a McGeorge School of Law graduate. — Jill Duman SHEARMAN & STERLING ELECTS SENIOR PARTNER Shearman & Sterling announced Wednesday the election of Rohan Weera�singhe to the firm’s top spot, senior partner. Weerasinghe’s New York practice includes representing underwriters and corporate clients in public offering transactions, especially complex transactions such as those involving LBOs, high-yield debt issuances, IPOs and cross-border offerings. He also advises companies on corporate and securities law issues and corporate governance matters. According to an article in the June issue of The American Lawyer, Weerasinghe has strong relationships with several firm clients, including Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and Bank of America Corp. Weerasinghe has asked New York-based M&A partner John Madden and Dusseldorf-based partner Georg Thoma to continue as firmwide co-managing partners. The two will also continue to serve as members of the firm’s executive group along with Executive Director Kimberly Gardner. According to American Lawyer, Madden had been considered the front-runner in the jockeying to replace the firm’s last senior partner, David Heleniak. He resigned from the partnership in May to become vice chairman of Morgan Stanley. Weerasinghe’s new executive group appointments are London Managing Partner Kenneth MacRitchie and New York-based partner Linda Rappaport. Weerasinghe, 54, who was born in Sri Lanka, was previously head of the capital markets group and is a member of the firm’s policy committee. He joined Shearman in 1977 and was elected to the partnership in 1985. — Marie-Anne Hogarth

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