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California U.S. attorney collections total $1.6B The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California has reported collecting nearly $1.6 billion from criminal and civil cases last year, a total officials said is probably the most received in any year by a U.S. attorney’s office. The Los Angeles office, which covers seven counties, collected a record $1.59 billion for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, a jump from the previous year’s $204 million. The increase is largely due to a $565 million settlement with Boeing Co. for the aerospace company’s allegedly improper use of competitors’ information, and a $519 million settlement with Tenet Healthcare Corp. regarding the hospital chain’s filing of allegedly false claims to federal health insurance programs. DLA Piper partners part for Cooley Godward Lawyers’ firm-swapping usually slows down once bonus time nears, but two longtime DLA Piper partners bucked the trend last week, jumping to Cooley Godward Kronish. Gregory Smith, chairman of DLA’s government contracts practice, and Kevin Mullen, who was co-leader of DLA’s General Services Administration leasing and compliance team, left to start Cooley’s government contracts practice. Smith said Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley’s smaller size, fewer client conflicts and California client base were reasons for his move. Thelen merger spurs more exits in L.A. Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner’s merger with Thelen Reid & Priest has led to another two departures from Brown Raysman’s Los Angeles office, just days before the two firms officially combined last week. The move follows four attorney departures from that same office last month, calling into question what will become of the combined firm’s outpost in L.A.’s Century City section. Partner Brian Pass and an associate left for the Century City office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, a Los Angeles firm Pass said fits his practice, which focuses on entertainment, technology and intellectual property. While Thelen has an office in downtown L.A. with about 70 attorneys, Brown Raysman’s Century City office has just nine attorneys left. Firm leaders said they’re still deciding what to do. New Jersey AG’s Law Division down by 13% New Jersey’s largest law firm-the state attorney general’s 580-lawyer Division of Law-is in retrenchment. Since the spring, the division has lost 79 of its lawyers, mostly line deputies in all practice groups, and has replaced only six-a 12.6% net loss. Half the vacancies were created by 40 layoffs last spring, and the remaining 39 arose through attrition, retirements and one death, said Robert Gilson, the division’s new director. Forty deputy attorney generals were laid off in late April in cost-cutting measures by the administration of Governor Jon Corzine; all were from the Division of Law. Seattle’s Davis Wright acquires Cole Raywid Davis Wright Tremaine, a Seattle-based law firm with about 420 attorneys, said it will merge with Washington-based Cole, Raywid & Braverman on Jan. 1, 2007. In the merger, Davis Wright will acquire a boutique firm with 35 lawyers who largely represent cable and telecommunications companies. Cole Raywid’s attorneys will be folded into Davis Wright’s communications, media and technology law practice, boosting that group’s numbers to 120 nationwide. Daniel Waggoner, the Davis Wright partner who chairs the practice, said attorneys from the firms have worked together on numerous matters for years and share a number of clients, including Discovery Communications Inc., Comcast Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and T-Mobile. EEOC seeks to block Sidley discovery bid The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is suing law firm Sidley Austin for allegedly demoting around 30 partners on the basis of age, is seeking to block discovery concerning the subsequent job performance of several of the former partners, as well as the mental health of one. Sidley has denied having a mandatory retirement policy and claims that the partners at issue were demoted in 1999 due to performance issues, including low billable hours and poor business-development skills. The firm is hoping to show that new employers encountered similar performance problems from demoted partners who left Sidley. But in a motion for a protective order filed on Nov. 17 in Chicago federal court, the EEOC called the information sought by Sidley “not relevant to any disputed fact” in the case.

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