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TRIAL LAWYERS STILL BIG SPENDERS AMID CAPITOL LOBBYISTS Some wags say trial lawyers’ influence in Sacramento is waning, but a report issued last week by the Secretary of State suggests that, if money equals political power, the plaintiffs bar is still a player in the Capitol. The Consumer Attorneys of California ranked 10th in spending among more than 2,600 lobbying entities that reported efforts to influence lawmakers in 2005, according to a tally by the Secretary of State’s office. The trade group spent $1.5 million, much of it on salaries for three in-house lobbyists and a retainer for an outside firm, Green & Azevedo of Sacramento. CAOC’s filings also report occasional payments for meals with lawmakers and their staff members. The trial lawyers’ spending is a pittance compared with the $9.5 million the teachers’ lobby shelled out. And it’s just a minuscule fraction of the $228 million that individuals and groups spent lobbying the Legislature and state administrative offices. But $1.5 million did give trial lawyers an audible voice in legislation ranging from the so-called car buyers’ “bill of rights” to a proposal to tax legal services to fund education programs. In contrast, the tort-reform group Civil Justice Association of California reported spending just $207,000 on lobbying last year. Other top lobbyists among the legal profession include the state’s bond counsel, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe ($177,825); the American Civil Liberties Union ($308,581); the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association ($600,124); and the California District Attorneys Association ($136, 461). Two law firms with substantial lobbying operations also cracked the top 10 for cumulative payments in 2005: Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, which ranked second with receipts of $4,129,228, and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which earned more than $2.7 million and finished 10th. � Cheryl Miller CRIME LAB UPDATE Driving down West Hedding Street in downtown San Jose, one can’t help but notice the big gaping construction zone next to Santa Clara County’s Hall of Justice. Right now, it’s just a mess of steel and bulldozers, but by the end of next year, it will morph into Santa Clara’s new “state-of-the-art” crime lab: a $75 million, four-story, 90,000-square-foot, glass-paneled structure. “God, we are going to have windows, and [lab staffers] are not going to know how to deal with it,” gushed Benny Del Re, director of the crime lab. Under the purview of the district attorney’s office, the lab is currently housed in a basement facility on Berger Drive, about two miles away from the county’s civic center. The new lab will be “the gateway to the whole civic center,” Del Re said. “They wanted it to have a dramatic look to it.” Because of space constraints, Del Re explained that a couple of the lab’s main services � toxicology testing and computer forensics � have to be done elsewhere, namely at the county coroner’s department and the fourth floor of the DA’s office. The process of building a new crime lab began around 1999 when the county Board of Supervisors was asked to study the issue. The new lab, Del Re said, is being built with 2020 staffing levels in mind. Currently, the lab has 59 employees. By 2010, Del Re anticipates 90 to 100 people will be working there. The Santa Clara crime lab is highly regarded around the Bay Area, according to Del Re, who adds that other counties often turn to his office for help. “It’s real easy to get buried in case work,” he added. � Julie O’Shea CENTENARIAN REMINISCES ABOUT EARNING $ 150 A MONTH At 100 years old, Harold Boucher has likely outlived most of his clients. The partner who retired from the firm formerly known as Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro made a career out of writing the wills of executives from large San Francisco companies such as Standard Oil, the predecessor to Chevron Corp. Last Tuesday, Boucher celebrated his century milestone with a party at the Pacific Union Club in San Francisco. About 50 of his closest friends and partners were in attendance, and proclamations from Pillsbury and his alma mater Boalt Hall School of Law were read in his honor. “The party was great,” quipped Boucher. “Although, some of my partners are a little bald-headed and have grown a little old.” Boucher, who has a full head of hair, isn’t one to over-think life. He says that following high school, his father told him to choose between becoming a truck driver and a lawyer. Boucher opted for law, attending UC-Berkeley and starting law school at Boalt Hall his senior year. Upon graduation in 1930, he initially went to work for a small firm that did work for the British consul but moved over to Pillsbury in 1934 after the two partners from his first firm died. “I was just a youngster, so Pillsbury said they wanted me to come over to their firm and to continue to act as counsel to the British consul,” Boucher said. It was the height of the Depression and people were lucky to get any job. Boucher says he earned approximately $150 a month, an amount that today would cover the lunch tab for a couple of summer associates. “Now I understand these young graduate students come to a large firm and they are paid $100,000,” says Boucher. Over the years, he has handled two extradition cases and in 1973 was awarded the Order of the British Empire, an honor bestowed on few Americans. During World War II, Boucher enlisted in naval intelligence, and helped conduct surveillance and wiretaps. “We had a lot at Pillsbury that served,” Boucher recalls. “At the time, some of the firms got women to come to the firm to work, and that is when the women got their start.” Since his retirement in 1965, Boucher has written a book about estate planning, “California Living Trusts & Wills: What You Must Know Before You Make a Will.” He also wrote a book about John Cowell, who wrote the first English law dictionary in the early 17th century. These days however, Boucher says he mainly enjoys traveling and dining with his wife, Dilys Jackson-Lembi, age 86. The secrets to a long life, he says, are not smoking and skiing, a hobby he enjoyed until 1980. “I never thought about turning 100,” he says. “It just crept up on me.” � Marie-Anne Hogarth

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