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Duane Morris loses McKesson ethics fight A Georgia state judge has ruled that Duane Morris of Philadelphia violated conflict-of-interest rules by representing subsidiaries of McKesson Corp. in Pennsylvania and then working for a couple against an unrelated McKesson subsidiary in Atlanta. Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore of Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta last week disqualified Duane Morris from the Georgia proceedings. She wrote that she was not persuaded by the firm’s efforts to “explain away the apparent conflict of interest” by relying on an engagement letter between Duane Morris and two other McKesson subsidiaries in the Pennsylvania case. Duane Morris’ general counsel, Michael J. Silverman, said the firm is considering an appeal. N.Y. chief judge plansto seek reappointment New York chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, whose term expires in March, will reapply for the position she has held since 1993, court insiders confirmed last week. The chief judge informed her colleagues and New York Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer that she will seek reappointment primarily because she is confident of achieving some of her unfinished goals with the reform-minded Spitzer as governor, but also to ensure a smooth transition. Kaye declined to comment on the reports. Though not on the ballot, Orrick wins big in Calif. Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe wasn’t on the ballot last week, but California’s leading bond counsel firm was one of the biggest winners on election night. California voters approved $37 billion in infrastructure bonds, including a record-high $20 billion transportation issue. The complex series of sales will likely extend Orrick’s monopoly as lead counsel on California general-obligation bonds. With a standard fee arrangement on those bonds of 7 cents per $1,000 sold, Orrick stands to make $2.59 million. Orrick is under contract to serve as California’s lead general-obligation bond counsel through June 2007, although Treasurer-elect Bill Lockyer can make changes to that pact when he takes office in January. The outgoing state attorney general last week sidestepped questions about his plans for the office. N.Y. top court to consider firm’s right to defer pay New York’s high court has agreed to hear a case concerning law firms’ ability to withhold capital contributions and compensation from departing partners. W. Edward Bailey, the former managing partner of intellectual property boutique Fish & Neave, and Kevin J. Culligan, a former management committee member, are suing their old firm for allegedly trying to penalize them for defecting to another firm ahead of a merger with Boston’s Ropes & Gray. A decision by the New York Court of Appeals could have a major impact on law firm mergers. DLA Piper poaches Hong Kong talent Finding a good lawyer can be difficult for firms looking to expand their China practices. Competition for new hires in the relatively small market can be fierce. So DLA Piper was pleased as punch last week to poach attorney Esther Leung from Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques for its Hong Kong office. Leung worked in Mallesons’ Hong Kong office and focused on cross-order M&A deals and IPOs. She adds to DLA Piper’s burgeoning China practice. The firm has about 100 lawyers based in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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