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Calif. trial lawyers bolster class actions at ballot box Employing a tactic they used successfully last year, California’s trial lawyers launched three ballot initiatives last week to derail an anti-class action measure sponsored by big business. Some of the provisions in the initiatives, sponsored by the Consumer Attorneys of California, would strip the pay of corporate executives convicted of fraud and distribute the money to California’s Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund, and require a majority of shareholders to approve the compensation packages of a company’s board of directors and top 10 executives. Raymond Boucher, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California, said in a prepared statement that the initiatives would “provide real reform” and “power to consumers, workers, and small businesses in California.” ABA stands against mandatory retirement The American Bar Association is calling on law firms to abandon their mandatory retirement policies. In an Aug. 13 vote by the ABA’s House of Delegates at its annual meeting in San Francisco, the organization urged law firms that require their attorneys to retire at a certain age to rethink those policies. Proponents of the measure argue that law firms with such policies operate contrary to almost every other workplace where mandatory retirement violates age discrimination laws. The resolution recommends that law firms discontinue such policies and that they evaluate senior partners based on their performance. Padilla is convicted of terrorism support Jose Padilla, A U.S. citizen held for three years as an enemy combatant, was convicted last week of helping Islamic extremists and plotting overseas attacks in a case that came to symbolize the Bush administration’s zeal to clamp down on terrorism. When Padilla was arrested in the months following the 2001 terrorist attacks, authorities touted him as a key al-Queda operative who planned to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” in a U.S. city. That allegation never made it to court. Instead, Padilla and his foreign-born co-defendants were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people and two counts of providing material support to terrorists. Vinson & Elkins acquires bankruptcy boutique Vinson & elkins has acquired a New York bankruptcy boutique founded by former partners of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The five lawyers of Cronin & Vris will join Houston-based Vinson & Elkins’ New York office, where Dennis F. Cronin will become a partner and co-head of the firm’s insolvency practice. Cronin, 59, was a partner at Wachtell from 1978 to 1993, and he served as that firm’s managing partner from 1981 to 1987. Also joining Vinson & Elkins as partners are Jane Vris, 54, a former Wachtell partner who joined Cronin’s practice in 1997; and Dov Kleiner, 40, a former Wachtell associate. Qualcomm names Lam as new general counsel Qualcomm Inc. tapped former San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam to replace Louis Lupin as its general counsel last week. Lupin’s departure comes on the heels of several punishing legal defeats, including a scorching order last week accusing the chipmaker and its lawyers of litigation misconduct. Emily Kilpatrick, Qualcomm’s director of corporate communications, said Lupin was leaving for personal reasons. “He has been an outstanding leader and contributor to Qualcomm’s success over the past 12 years; however, he has decided to step down as general counsel and take a personal leave.” Baker & McKenzie show $1M in profits per partner Baker & Mckenzie, the world’s largest law firm, has announced a 20% increase in its revenue this year. The firm, which has its largest offices in Chicago and London, said last week that it grossed $1.83 billion in its 2007 fiscal year, which ended on June 30. That compared with $1.52 billion in 2006. The firm will also report that, for the first time, its profits per partner were above the $1 million mark. The firm said it had profits per partner in 2007 of $1.06 million, up 22% from the year before.

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