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What happens in Vegas? Ask MoFo The city of sin has turned to Morrison & Foerster for help. Earlier this month the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) hired MoFo attorneys for a battle over its hit advertising slogan, “What happens here stays here.” The dispute began last year when Dorothy Tovar launched a clothing line emblazoned with the phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” which LVCVA claims infringes its oft-quoted ad. The advertising agency that created the tagline, R&R Partners, sued Tovar for trademark infringement in March 2004. The litigation took another turn, though, over LVCVA’s sale of rights to the phrase to R&R for $1 last November. Las Vegas Sun recently reported that MoFo had been hired to conduct an investigation into how LVCVA “secretly gave away” the slogan. Mayor Oscar Goodman announced on July 12 at an LVCVA board meeting that the tourism agency would hold a public meeting when MoFo completed its report. Taking the slogan to heart, MoFo attorneys Douglas Hendricks and Zane Gresham declined to talk about the case. Hendricks heads the firm’s trademark practice group, and Gresham advises clients on joint ventures and strategic alliances. Tovar’s attorney scoffed at the claim that his client named her clothes after LVCVA’s tag line. “That’s incredibly silly,” said Daniel Ballard, an associate at McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento. “She applied what’s in the everyday vernacular to a line of clothing.”- ALM Reality TV for young lawyers David E. Kelley, the Hollywood wunderkind and former attorney, has teamed with nationally renowned trial lawyer Roy Black in the latest attempt to show American television watchers what litigation looks like. NBC calls the unscripted program- The Firm, set to debut on July 28-a “new alternative drama” series. Kelley is more straightforward in labeling it as reality TV. The setup: A dozen real-life young lawyers from around the country argue real cases in front of real judges, with the one attorney eventually deemed most persuasive by Black winning a $250,000 jackpot. As the Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of scripted shows such as L.A. Law and The Practice, Kelley acknowledged personal trepidation in entering what for him is a new genre. Most reality shows, said Kelley in an interview, are “godawful.” He added, “Most of the fare I felt disrespected the medium and, more importantly, degraded its contestants. This series won’t do either. It’s a smart show. It’s not a forum to exploit or ridicule the lawyers.” Professor Victor Goode, who teaches legal ethics, among other subjects, at City University of New York School of Law, said: “I suppose there is some interest and drama in watching excellent lawyers prepare for trial and engage at trial. “But the idea of making this a contest where the best hotshot lawyer wins a prize seems to distort the whole purpose of representation-to zealously advocate on behalf of clients, including the tactical and strategic choices in that regard.” Most of Kelley’s “contestants” are California-based attorneys, as are all five retired jurists selected to hear civil cases. The opposing parties have agreed to consider their decisions as binding. According to NBC executives, the cases will be a mix of bench and jury trials “ranging from First Amendment issues to neighbor disputes to wrongful death.” Black, who serves the reality show as a fictional managing partner of a law firm, said The Firm would dramatize not simply courtroom arguments, but “what the lawyers have to do” in getting to trial. - ALM

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