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Tough time for law firms predicted by new report Although 2006 proved to be another year of robust revenues and profits per partner among law firms, problems loom for them going forward, according to Hildebrandt International’s annual report released last week. Productivity increased modestly in 2006, but it was well below the levels of 2000, the report noted. In addition, realization rates for the past two years were flat for most law firms and have declined among the most profitable. Last year also marked significant increases in expenses. Revenues among law firms for 2006 are expected to modestly exceed 9.8%, the compound growth rate from 2000 to 2005. Hildebrandt’s report is based in part on information provided by about 150 law firms to Citigroup Private Bank. N.Y. judges advised not to link recusals to pay The New York court system’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics has concluded that judges should not recuse themselves from cases where state legislators or members of their firms are representing parties before them because of the “long-standing issue of judicial salary increases pending before the Legislature.” As judicial morale sagged after the Legislature failed to enact a pay increase in December, several judges around the state began to take themselves off cases handled by legislators or members of their firms. Reliant deal hinges on deferred prosecutions Nearly three years after then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said an energy company had been charged with conspiring to jack up electricity prices during California’s 2001 power crisis, the case ended last week with a set of deferred prosecution agreements. The deals, which need to be finalized by Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California, will dismiss charges against Reliant Energy and four of its traders, provided they stay out of trouble for the next two years. The company will also have to pay a $22.2 million fine. Reached last week, defense lawyers and a spokesman for the prosecutors declined to comment. In general, nonprosecution agreements involving a company require that it pay a fine, but do not make it admit to criminal liability. Harvey Miller to return to roots at Weil Gotshal Harvey Miller, who built Weil, Gotshal & Manges into a bankruptcy powerhouse before he left in 2002, is rejoining his old firm. But he’s going back to a much different Weil, one whose bankruptcy department has been suffering through a long cold spell since he left the firm. Miller said last week that he would be rejoining New York-based Weil as a partner after spending the last five years at Greenhill & Co. Inc., an investment bank. Miller described the move as “returning to an old love.” Former N.Y. governor goes to Chadbourne Former New York Governor George E. Pataki has joined Chadbourne & Parke as a counsel focusing on matters involving environmental issues, particularly renewable energy. Pataki, who served as the state’s Republican governor for 12 years before stepping down earlier this year, said in an interview last week that he was drawn to 400-lawyer Chadbourne by its reputation in the area of renewable energy. The firm has been a leader in the representation of companies or investors in the areas of wind, geothermal and solar power.

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