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Longtime AO Chief Mecham to Step Down Leonidas Ralph Mecham, the feisty director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for the last 20 years, is retiring at age 77. He has reigned over the administrative side of the judicial branch with a strong, behind-the-scenes hand. • Exit Sandman: Arnold & Porter’s Managing Partner to Step Down For more than a decade, James Sandman has been the face of Arnold & Porter. But after becoming president-elect of the D.C. Bar this summer, Sandman has stepped down as managing partner of D.C.’s third-largest firm. • From Hell: List Ranks the Six Worst Courts in the Nation The annual “Judicial Hellhole” list is out and, according to the American Tort Reform Association, Illinois is red-hot. • Messing With Texas: High Court to Hear Case on Redistricting Lawyers challenging the Republican-led middecade redistricting plan in Texas will be writing through the holidays as they race to file briefs with the Supreme Court on an expedited schedule. • Phone Home: Anderson Headed to D.C. Jail Use of a contraband cell phone and other alleged infractions behind bars have prompted the transfer of accused tax cheat Walter Anderson from a privately run detention facility to the D.C. Jail. • Judging Iran: Country Must Pay $126 million to Victims of 1983 Beirut Bombing The Islamic Republic of Iran must pay $126 million to 29 victims of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, a federal judge ruled last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. • Hobby Shop: Arent Fox Lawyers Show Life Beyond the Law At Arent Fox, lawyers have a “life outside the law.” Or at least that’s what a new section on the firm’s Web site boasts. • Speaking Up: Gansler Speaks Out on Censure Douglas Gansler has never been one to shy away from the media. And despite the D.C. Court of Appeals’ decision to censure the Montgomery County, Md., state’s attorney for public statements he made about murder cases his office handled, it appears his candor hasn’t waned. • Rail Wars: Documents Sought in Rerouting Hazardous Rail Cargo A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to embark on a massive search for documents that pertain to the rerouting of hazardous rail cargo away from the nation’s capital. • Taking Stock: SEC Decisions Carry More Weight Than NASD Sanctions Securities and Exchange Commission decisions trump the sanctions imposed by the brokerage industry’s self-regulatory agency, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled last week. • A Tasteless Opinion: H�agen-Dazs Subject to Higher Tariff Fees The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided that H�agen-Dazs’ sorbet and yogurt bars are in fact not predominately sorbet, as the company had claimed. What’s at stake?

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