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Pillsbury’s Cranston is ready to step down Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Chairwoman Mary Cranston announced last week that she will not run again after her third term ends in December. The firm’s managing partner, Marina Park, said she’s not sure if she’ll run for another term, either. Cranston-the first female chair of a big national law firm, whose reign has spanned seven years and two mega-mergers-made the announcement a month after the firm posted a drop in 2005 profits per partner. But she said that had nothing to do with her decision. “I am telling people early because I think law firms and professional service firms need to work hard at transition,” Cranston said. Pillsbury’s largest offices are in Washington and San Francisco. Defamation claim trumps Internet anonymity Ruling on one of the most important First Amendment issues of the day, a Philadelphia judge has ruled that a valid defamation claim trumps any right to speak anonymously on the Internet. In his opinion in Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers v. JPA Development Inc., No. 0425, Common Pleas Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr. ordered the operator of two now-defunct Web sites to turn over the identities of the anonymous authors of comments on the sites that allegedly defamed a Philadelphia law firm, Kleher Harrison. Victims have right to be heard at sentencing Crime victims must be given a chance literally to have their say in court before sentencing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. By granting a rare writ of mandamus, the court cleared up confusion surrounding the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, a 2004 federal law that establishes “the right to be reasonably heard” during sentencing. In Kenna v. U.S. District Court, No. 06 C.D.O.S. 523, the 9th Circuit ruled that Judge John Walter of Los Angeles erred when he refused to let W. Patrick Kenna speak at the sentencing hearing of Zvi Leichner, who was convicted along with his father of scamming millions from Kenna and other investors. Judge Alex Kozinski ruled that the Crime Victims’ Rights Act clearly conferred a right to oral statements. Chicago firm to open its fifth office in Florida A midsized Chicago law firm will open for business in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., next month after wooing lawyers from three Florida firms. Arnstein & Lehr, a 113-year-old, 130-member firm, has hired 11 Fort Lauderdale lawyers and is finalizing a lease to open a 15,000-square-foot office at the Sun-Sentinel building in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The new lawyers include six from the Fort Lauderdale office of Miami-based Adorno & Yoss; a three-person law firm run by James C. Brady; and long-time Broad and Cassel partner Franklin Zemel and an associate there. With the opening of the Fort Lauderdale office, Arnstein & Lehr will have five Florida offices, including West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa and Boca Raton. EEOC ordered to pay firm for ‘frivolous’ action The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission must pay more than $1 million to a law firm that it sued unsuccessfully over allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination, a federal judge has ruled. The EEOC action was a “frivolous” lawsuit against Los Angeles’ Robert L. Reeves & Associates, which practices immigration law, U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian said in a ruling issued last week. Reeves maintained that the EEOC should have known the harassment and discrimination allegations that the agency was pursuing were part of a scheme by two of his former law associates to destroy his firm, said a statement from lawyers representing Reeves. The EEOC has already appealed the judge’s findings, said Anna Park, the EEOC regional attorney in charge of the Los Angeles district office’s legal division. The EEOC originally filed suit against Reeves & Associates in 2001.

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