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Ex-McKesson CEO, GC acquitted by federal jury A federal jury on Nov. 3 acquitted the former chairman of McKesson HBOC and corporate counsel of HBOC of conspiracy but hung on six remaining counts of fraud over $9 billion in losses from the 1999 merger of healthcare giant McKesson with the software company HBOC. Former board chairman Charles W. McCall, 62, and General Counsel Jay Lapine, 53, were accused of artificially inflating the value of HBOC to make the merger more attractive. In an emotion-charged San Francisco courtroom, jurors disclosed they hung, 11-1, for conviction on three of the six unresolved charges. Prosecutors have yet to determine whether to seek retrial. Ex-Comverse GC pleads guilty in stock scandal The former general counsel of voicemail software maker Comverse Technology Inc. pleaded guilty last week to a scheme to pocket millions of dollars by backdating stock options. William F. Sorin told a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., that he conspired with former Chief Executive Officer Jacob “Kobi” Alexander to backdate the options and falsify financial statements to conceal the fraud from shareholders. Alexander fled the country but was arrested in September in Namibia, where he is fighting extradition. Sorin, 57, faces a possible five-year prison term at his sentencing on Feb. 9. Minorities hold few top Justice Department jobs Nearly two years into the tenure of Alberto Gonzales, the nation’s first Hispanic U.S. attorney general, the senior leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice is less representative of America’s racial diversity than under either of Gonzales’ two predecessors. There are no blacks in the 19 top-level, presidentially appointed positions that oversee the department’s investigative agencies, courtroom litigation and relations with Congress. “The attorney general is proud to be the first Hispanic attorney general in U.S. history, and while his first priority when making hiring decisions is finding the most qualified person for the job, he certainly appreciates and respects the benefits of a diverse work force,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos. Thelen Reid to merge with Brown Raysman Thelen Reid & Priest and New York’s Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner announced last week they have agreed to become 615-lawyer Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner, effective on Dec. 1. The merger pairs a larger bicoastal firm best known for its construction practice, which represents engineering giants like Bechtel Corp., with a smaller New York firm focused on technology and intellectual property matters. The current Thelen Reid firm is itself the product of a 1998 merger between San Francisco’s Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges and New York’s Reid & Priest. Day Berry links up with Pitney Hardin One of New Jersey’s oldest and largest firms, Pitney Hardin, is merging with Connecticut’s biggest, Day, Berry & Howard, to create a 395-lawyer firm with branches ranging from Boston to Washington. The new firm, to be known as Day Pitney, will come into being at year-end. The move reflects both firms’ need to compete in a market that is becoming increasingly regional, in which practices restricted to individual states can no longer thrive.

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