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Firm accused of copying multistate bar questions In a suit that could have national implications for how law students prepare for the bar exam, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has accused a California company of illegally copying questions from the Multistate Bar Examination for use in bar exam preparation courses. In the suit, NCBE claims that employees of Multistate Legal Studies Inc. have attended bar exams in several states for the sole purpose of copying questions to be used in its prep courses. In response to the suit, lawyers for MLSI contend that the similarities between the questions in their prep courses and those on the MBE stem from the fact that both are drawn from the same pool of material-hornbooks, law treatises and case law-and that such similarity is entirely permissible. National Conference of Bar Examiners v. Multistate Legal Studies (E.D. Pa.). Lack of fen-phen work puts N.J. firm on a diet With the abrupt ending of mass tort litigation over the diet drugs known as fen-phen, Morristown, N.J., firm Porzio, Bromberg and Newman laid off 53 people, including 16 lawyers and 21 paralegals, on July 18. Porzio had been defending pharmaceutical giant Wyeth. The work dried up when the firm representing most of the remaining 943 cases administratively withdrew the complaints. First Amendment covers newsletter stock advice In a case of first impression, a Texas appellate court has ruled that the author and the publisher of a financial newsletter deserve First Amendment protection from claims alleging they printed bad investment advice. The opinion by the Texas Court of Appeals 2d District in Ernest Reynolds III v. Michael Murphy concerns a Fort Worth lawyer who sued after he allegedly lost money by following the newsletter’s stock tips. Ernest “Skip” Reynolds III of Fort Worth’s Sharpe, Reynolds & Tillman sued the author of articles in Technology Investing, and the publisher, Phillips Investment Resources. David Harper, of Dallas’ Haynes and Boone, who represents author Michael Murphy and Phillips Investment, said, “You see MSNBC and they say, ‘I like these stocks,’ ” he said. “ That doesn’t make them your individual investment adviser.” Mayer Brown lures nine Crowell partners Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw has hired nine partners from Crowell & Moring to boost its securities regulation and enforcement practice in Washington. Those joining the Chicago-based firm include Pat Conti, former chair of Crowell & Moring’s securities regulation and enforcement group, and Peter White, former co-chair of Washington-based Crowell’s government investigations and litigation practice. The attorneys will work with Mayer Brown’s financial services clients. Other attorneys moving to Mayer Brown include: Bruce Bettigole, Joseph Goldstein, Elizabeth Knoblock, Kathryn McGrath, Stephanie Monaco, Richard Morvillo and Jeffrey Robertson. Former associate sues Orrick over partnership A former associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has sued the firm for fraud and breach of contract, charging he was promised but then denied promotion to the partnership. In a suit filed recently in a New York City state court, Patrick J. Hoeffner, a former associate in Orrick’s New York intellectual property practice, claims that partners William Anthony, Robert Isackson and Robert Cote promised in 2002 to make him a partner because they feared he would leave the firm and take a patent infringement client with him. Hoeffner, a 1996 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, is seeking $100 million in damages. J. Peter Coll, the firm’s current New York managing partner, said the suit contained many “baseless and false” allegations and that Orrick would defend the case vigorously.

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