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HOGAN & HARTSON TAKES ON HONG KONG WASHINGTON � Washington, D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson on Thursday became the first major law firm from the U.S. capital to open a Hong Kong office, marking a steady return of American law firms to Asia’s financial hub. Hogan already runs offices in Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai, but Hong Kong, a competitive market steeped in English legal tradition, has proved difficult for many of the top American firms. Only two years ago, Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Dewey Ballantine, both of New York, closed their Hong Kong offices, citing the lack of sufficient business to support U.S. legal services. Another Washington-based law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, recently said it has applied to open an office in Shanghai, its first in China, to complement its operations in Tokyo, Taipei and Sydney. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy of New York, which has an extensive presence in Asia, also is planning to open an office in Beijing, its first office inside China, by year’s end. “It’s a good example of what China has been doing in the region,” said Mao Tong, co-managing partner of Hogan & Hartson’s new Hong Kong office. “Twenty years ago, it was even difficult to travel in China, not to mention opening an office there.” Mao works with Steve Robinson, another co-managing partner at the Hong Kong office. He expects West Coast � rather than Eastern � firms will open up offices in Hong Kong, many of which have never set up shop in Asia, in a growing recognition of the importance of Asian companies in cross-border transactions. The Deal TOP GONZALES AIDES RESIGN AFTER 7 MONTHS WASHINGTON � After just seven months on the job, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ two closest aides � Chief of Staff Theodore Ullyot and senior counselor Raul Yanes � have resigned from their posts at the Justice Department, leading some to speculate that their boss might be slated to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Not so, says Ullyot. “He’s got a lot on his plate as AG. That’s where his attention is focused.” While the high-level departures may not portend a promotion for Gonzales, they do mean the AG will have to run the massive Justice Department without the two advisers he brought with him from the White House in February. The transition comes as the Justice Department is lobbying Congress to renew the USA Patriot Act and preparing for a structural overhaul � all while its critical No. 2 slot remains vacant. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a scheduled vote on Tyco lawyer Timothy Flanigan, the president’s pick to replace James Comey as deputy AG. Ullyot, who announced his departure Sept. 16, has accepted a job as vice president and general counsel of ESL Investments, an exclusive hedge fund based in Greenwich, Conn. Meanwhile, Yanes left the DOJ earlier this month to serve as general counsel of the White House Office of Management and Budget. &# 151 Legal Times ASSAULT VERDICT UPHELD AGAINST VEGAN PARENTS NEW YORK � An appeals court in Brooklyn has affirmed the first-degree assault conviction of two vegan parents who were accused of nearly starving their daughter to death. One member of the four-judge panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, however, cast doubt on whether the parents were aware of the risks that a vegan diet posed to a baby. The judge, Justice Sondra Miller, said the assault conviction should be vacated. “The defendants may have been naive, and misguided, and even unfit to serve as the custodians of their child,” Justice Miller wrote in People v. Swinton, 2003-04653. “What they did not do, however, is evince criminal recklessness.” Silva and Joseph Swinton, both 24, were convicted in 2003 and sentenced, respectively, to 6 years and 5 years in prison. Joseph Swinton was given a more lenient sentence due to his reduced mental capacity. Silva Swinton gave birth to a baby girl, Ice Swinton, in July 2000, at home. The infant weighed three pounds at birth. Over the next 16 months, the Swintons fed their daughter nothing more than nuts and fruit. In November 2001, Ice weighed 10 pounds when she should have weighed about 25. Ice is reportedly now healthy and living with relatives. The parents were charged with assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors also alleged they ignored warnings from family members who were concerned about Ice’s health. Last week, the majority of the Second Department said the reckless endangerment charge must be vacated, as it was a lesser included offense of the assault charge. The top charge should stand, the court said. &# 151 New York Law Journal

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