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LOS ANGELES � A former U.S. district court judge who has advised the Regents of the University of California on the Enron litigation will join Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins next week. J. Lawrence Irving, who will be special counsel in the firm’s San Diego office, will be Lerach Coughlin’s liaison with the Regents. With the Regents serving as lead plaintiff, the Lerach Coughlin firm so far has obtained more than $7 billion for investors burned by Enron’s plunge into bankruptcy. “He has their confidence and has worked with them closely, so he’s going to act in a liaison role between us and the Regents as we move the Enron case along toward conclusion,” partner William Lerach said Wednesday. In addition to Irving’s work on the Enron case, he’ll advise other firm clients, including public, international and private institutional investors. “Judge Irving is a priceless asset,” Lerach said. “Our clients are very fortunate to have this resource to advise them on how the judicial system works.” Irving said the 175-lawyer firm made him a proposal he couldn’t refuse: “I just felt it was the perfect time and the perfect circumstances. Even though I’ve enjoyed my role as a consultant to the Regents, I will be doing much of the same thing only at the expense of the Lerach firm.” James Holst, general counsel for the Regents, said in a statement that the university is delighted Irving’s “outstanding judgment” will be available for all the plaintiffs in the case. Irving was a trial lawyer in San Diego before his 1982 appointment to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan. He left the court in 1990. Since then, he’s been doing mediation-related work and a handful of arbitrations. While at the Lerach firm, he will continue to serve as a mediator on certain cases. Irving first met and observed Lerach’s work when Lerach was the lead plaintiff lawyer trying the Nucorp energy class action in front of Irving more than 20 years ago. “He’s always impressed me as one of the brightest and most skilled lawyers in the U.S.,” Irving said. “The firm is full of very good lawyers, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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