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Enron plaintiffs take a shot at Vinson & Elkins Vinson & Elkins “employed an eyes-wide-shut policy” about former client Enron Corp.’s complex accounting structures that helped lead to the Houston company’s bankruptcy. That’s according to a 281-page document titled “Lead Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment” filed last week in a shareholder class action pending in the Southern District of Texas in Houston before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. In Newby v. Enron Corp., filed on Oct. 22, 2001, the plaintiffs allege that V&E, other advisers and former Enron executives helped bring the energy company to its economic knees and concealed the company’s true financial condition. In court filings, Houston-based V&E denies the allegations made by the Newby plaintiffs. The trial is set to begin in October. Calif. lawmakers hike bench pay, add judges California lawmakers are poised to give state judges an 8.5% pay hike over two years and add at least 25 new judgeships starting next year. Legislative budget-writers met recently and approved the tentative spending plan for the courts. Court administrators had originally sought an immediate 8.5% raise as well as 50 new judicial positions in 2007. But judicial leaders hailed the compromise numbers as “a good package.” Trial judge removed for aiding robbery suspect A divided New York high court last week removed a trial judge, Queens Supreme Court Justice Laura D. Blackburne, for helping a robbery suspect evade arrest. The 5-2 ruling is a rare and possibly unprecedented case where the New York Court of Appeals decided that a judge who had no prior disciplinary record, and had committed misconduct that did not involve personal profit, venality, a breach of trust or moral turpitude, is unfit for the bench. The ruling in Matter of Blackburne, No. 70, made clear that judicial misconduct cases require case-by-case analysis, and that the court retains the discretion to fashion an appropriate sanction to unique cases, no matter what it has decided in other matters. Blackburne’s attorney, David Godosky of Godosky & Gentile in New York, said that the ruling was “unfair and unduly harsh.” Buchanan Ingersoll, Klett Rooney merge Pittsburgh firms Buchanan Ingersoll and Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling have become one after a shareholder vote at both firms last week gave the merger the go-ahead. The new firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, will become the largest law firm in Pennsylvania-in terms of number of attorneys in the state-with roughly 313 lawyers according to the last survey conducted by Pennsylvania Law Weekly, an NLJ affiliate. The firm will have more than 525 attorneys nationwide. The deal is effective on July 1, and will give Klett Rooney’s president and managing shareholder, John A. Barbour, one of three executive shareholder roles at the new firm. Four labor attorneys who were against the merger did leave Klett Rooney for Philadelphia’s Cozen O’Connor, Stephen A. Cozen confirmed last week. N.J.’s Riker Danzig opens London office A New Jersey firm is hopping the pond in hopes of improving its foothold in London’s insurance and reinsurance industries. Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti of Morristown becomes the first major New Jersey firm to open in London, setting up shop in the city’s financial district, where the largest carriers have offices. Riker Danzig hopes to build on an existing base of insurance clients and to start a commercial litigation and banking practice in London as well, said firm co-chairman Shawn Kelly, who heads the 40-lawyer insurance practice.

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