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Kirkpatrick talks merger with Preston Gates Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham and Seattle’s Preston Gates & Ellis are in merger talks that could be completed by year’s end, according to leaders of both firms. “We’re serious about it and starting to get practice groups engaged, but it’s still early in the process,” said Karen Glover, Preston’s managing partner. If a merger goes through, the resulting firm would have about 1,400 attorneys in 21 offices, including posts in Europe and Asia. The two firms’ combined gross in 2005 was $665 million, which would have put them among the top 25 highest-grossing firms. Kirkpatrick’s lawyers are mainly in the Northeast; its largest office is in Pittsburgh. Reed Smith shuts office in Newark, cites efficiency With branch offices in Princeton, N.J., and New York, Reed Smith really doesn’t need one in Newark, N.J., so the firm has decided to economize by shutting it down next year. Steven Picco, the New Jersey partner in charge, said the closure, decided in recent budget deliberations, is in sync with the 1,100-lawyer firm’s plan to eliminate redundant offices as it expands internationally. It has 14 U.S. offices and four in Europe, and on Jan. 1, 2007, its London office will merge with 400-lawyer Richards Butler, with branches in Asia, the Middle East and South America. H-P general counsel resigns, takes the Fifth The general counsel of Hewlett-Packard Co. announced her resignation last week, shortly before the company’s former chairwoman told Congress she was never advised that H-P’s spying probe involved illegal tactics. Ann Baskins had been with H-P for 24 years, including the past six as the company’s top in-house lawyer. She had been scheduled to testify to a House committee as well, but she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and did not answer lawmakers’ questions. Baskins’ resignation follows the same decision by Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who along with CEO Mark Hurd was going before the House committee to explain how the company came to obtain information about board members suspected of leaking information to journalists. Two other directors have also resigned. D.C.’s AG calls it quits, will head to Schertler The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Robert Spagnoletti, submitted his resignation last week, continuing an exodus of some high-ranking city officials before likely mayoral successor Adrian Fenty shakes up the Washington municipal government. “Nobody should have one of these high-level jobs for too long,” Spagnoletti said. “There needs to be fresh blood and new ideas when the administration changes.” Spagnoletti’s last day as AG will be Oct. 13 before becoming a partner at the small yet high-profile Washington firm Schertler & Onorato. After overseeing more than 600 assistant attorneys general and support staff, Spagnoletti will move to a 12-attorney firm that recently relocated to 601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The final chapter for Coudert: Chapter 11 Defunct law firm Coudert Brothers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a petition filed recently in Southern District of New York bankruptcy court, the firm, which broke up last year, said it lacked the funds to post appeal bonds to challenge two judgments against it, one a $2.5 million award in a legal malpractice suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The firm said in its petition that it also continued to face a number of suits from landlords, vendors and a number of partners seeking the return of capital contributions. Coudert, which said it had already satisfied major creditors including Citibank and JPMorganChase, expects to recover some $1.5 million from overseas accounts that former partners are improperly controlling. It also said it expected to receive some $10 million in contingent fees in matters that remain pending. Once considered the nation’s pre-eminent international law firm, Coudert dissolved in August 2005 following years of declining profitability.

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