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Sidley given deadline in EEOC discrimination suit In an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. District Judge James Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois last week ordered Sidley Austin to provide, within eight weeks, any additional reasons that the firm had for ousting or demoting 34 of its attorneys. The EEOC sued the Chicago-based firm last year, saying it illegally dismissed or demoted the lawyers because they were 40 years old or older in 1999 and that the firm had an illegal age-based retirement policy. The EEOC last week asked the court to compel the firm to provide a witness to testify on all of the firm’s reasons for actions against the lawyers. Sidley-which has denied that the actions were based on age-argued that the agency’s request was duplicative because the firm has already provided lengthy explanations for the actions and that the agency is planning to depose the individual managing partners anyway. Zagel denied the agency’s request for an additional witness, but said Sidley should provide the full list of reasons by Sept. 14. He said he wouldn’t be “particularly rigorous” about the firm weighting the importance of the reasons as requested by the EEOC. The next hearing on the issue is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Chicago. U.S. EEOC v. Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, No. 05 CV 0208 (N.D. Ill.). ‘Skip’ Miller launches high-stakes litigation firm Louis “Skip” Miller, the high-profile Los Angeles lawyer who earlier this year left the firm he founded, is launching Miller Barondess, a new firm specializing in high-stakes litigation. Early this year, Miller left Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro in the midst of an ongoing investigation into managing partner Terry Christensen’s use of celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano. Miller would not comment on his reasons for leaving, though sources speculated that tensions stemming from the investigation played a role. Miller Barondess’ founding partners include Mark Barondess, a lawyer who represents the interests of television host Larry King and his companies, and Daniel Park, a former senior associate at the firm now called Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro. Powell Goldstein raids Akin to open in Dallas Atlanta’s Powell Goldstein has launched a Dallas office with a real estate capital markets group hijacked from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The group, which focuses on commercial mortgage-backed securities, is led by Robin R. Green in Dallas and Keith A. Dunsmore in Washington. Their clients include Capmark Financial Group, formerly GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp. Green and Dunsmore are bringing a team of 10 lawyers, including themselves, to Powell Goldstein, along with paralegals and staff from Akin Gump. Powell also has an office in Washington. Ex-KPMG employees sue company over legal fees Sixteen former employees of accounting firm KPMG have sued to compel the company to advance their legal fees and expenses in connection with a federal probe of an illegal tax shelter scheme. Stein v. KPMG, No. S106 Civ. 5007, was filed in federal court last week. It follows an invitation last month by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, who ruled in U.S. v. Stein, No. S105 Crim. 0888, that prosecutors had violated the defendant employees’ rights under the Fifth and Sixth amendments by coercing KPMG into capping legal fees for the former employees. In related news, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kaplan directed KPMG, federal prosecutors and the former partners to schedule a meeting with U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum to see if the parties could resolve the issue in private. Kaplan indicated that the dispute over legal fees, as well as other issues, may move the trial date from September to early 2007. FBI raid on lawmaker’s office is ruled legal A federal judge last week upheld the FBI’s unprecedented raid of a congressional office, saying that barring such searches would turn Capitol Hill into “a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime.” Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected requests from lawmakers and Representative William Jefferson, D-La., to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson’s office. The overnight search was part of a 17-month bribery investigation of Jefferson. Hogan said that the lawmakers’ “sweeping” theory of legislative privilege “would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime.”

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