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ORRICK NEARS DEAL FOR 50-LAWYER PARIS FIRM Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe may be on the verge of acquiring a 50-lawyer French M&A firm � a deal that could be forged in a matter of weeks. Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. confirmed Thursday that his firm was in talks with Paris firm Rambaud Martel. “We think very highly of Jean-Pierre Martel, of all of the partners in the entire firm,” Baxter said. “And we are very excited and optimistic about our discussion.” The firm is considered to be one of the top three corporate firms in the Paris market. Earlier this summer, Proskauer Rose raided it for six partners. If Orrick is successful in its acquisition, the firm would more than double its current size of 40 lawyers in the Paris market. The two firms would merge effective Jan. 1. Orrick’s European presence is rapidly growing. The firm opened in London in 1998, in Milan in 2003 and in Rome in 2004. This past year, the firm added groups in London and Russia by poaching lawyers from the unwinding but worldly Coudert Brothers. Baxter said the acquisitions would let the firm continue serving clients in cross-border transactions. “What you are now seeing in these developments at Orrick in the last 15 months are the near-term consequences and results of work that we have been doing for many years,” he said. � Marie-Anne Hogarth FORMER PDL GC MOVES TO FENWICK Sergio Garcia, a former general counsel and then consultant for Protein Design Labs Inc., has joined Fenwick & West. Garcia started Monday as co-head of Fenwick’s life sciences practice. “I’ve been canvassing the life sciences sector and the new companies being funded,” Garcia said. “It appeared to be an ideal moment to be on the outside, assisting various life science companies at the various times in their life cycles.” Laird Simons III, managing partner at Fenwick, said Garcia brings skills in licensing technology, corporate and joint ventures. “Our goal is to expand further into life sciences,” Simons said. “It’s been a continuing endeavor, but has accelerated in the last three years.” Simons said that Garcia is the latest in a string of hires made by Fenwick in that area. Others include Lynn Pasahow, chair of the litigation group, J. David Hadden, a partner in the litigation group, and Michael Shuster, the other co-chairman of the life sciences practice. Prior to working at PDL, Garcia was a shareholder at Heller Ehrman. “Being a GC is a lot of fun, too,” he added. “Having been a partner in private practice prior to being GC, the time was right to go back.” � Marie-Anne Hogarth MURPHY NAMED HEAD OF BAR ADMISSIONS Longtime State Bar employee Gayle Murphy was appointed Thursday to the position of senior executive for admissions. She replaces Jerome Braun, who retired Sept. 30. In her new post, the 52-year-old Murphy, formerly the director for administration in the office of admissions, will oversee 60 employees who provide staff support to the Committee of Bar Examiners. Among other things, that committee, made up of 10 lawyers and nine public members, administers the Bar exam twice a year, screens bar applicants for moral character and accredits law schools within the state. “Although there were several highly qualified candidates,” State Bar Executive Director Judy Johnson said in a prepared statement, “Gayle’s long relationship with the State Bar and her integral familiarity with the admissions process helped her stand out among the candidates.” Murphy joined the State Bar in 1981 as an administrative assistant in the admissions office. She is only the fourth admissions executive in 40 years. � Mike McKee

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