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WilmerHale nets SEC honcho for L.A. foray Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has scored a high-profile securities lawyer to anchor its move into Los Angeles: Randall Lee, the former Securities and Exchange Commission regional director there. “It’s been our intention to expand in California when we found the right people,” said managing partner William Perlstein, the co-chairman of the firm’s management committee. “Randall is one of the leading, if not the leading, enforcement lawyer on the West Coast.” The partnership voted in Lee last week, closing the door on what has been weeks of heavy recruitment since he left the SEC in mid-July. As the SEC has heightened its enforcement activity, its leaders are increasingly being sought in the private sector. U.S. firms target London mergers in hot market U.S. firms operating in London are increasingly willing to explore a U.K. merger, with nearly half now open to the move, while the number looking to increase their head count organically in London has fallen. An annual survey of U.S. firms operating in London by Legal Week, an affiliate of The National Law Journal, reveals that 47% of U.S. firms would be willing to consider a U.K. merger, up from 39% last year and 29% the year before. The survey of the top U.S. firms operating in London also records a decrease in the percentage of firms looking to build their practice there over the next 12 months, with 91% earmarking growth, compared with 96% in 2006. [For more information, go to www.legalweek.com.] Yale Law to allow military recruiters Yale Law School will end its policy of not working with military recruiters following a court ruling this week that jeopardized about $300 million in federal funding, school officials said last week. Yale and other universities had objected to the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows gay men and women to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation to themselves. The 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Yale, rejecting its argument that its right to academic freedom was infringed by federal law that says universities must give the military the same access as other job recruiters or forfeit federal money. Melvyn Weiss indicted, Bill Lerach pleads guilty Melvyn Weiss, founding partner of Milberg Weiss, has been indicted on charges that include obstruction of justice and making false statements to the grand jury in the government’s investigation of kickbacks that Milberg Weiss paid to named plaintiffs in its securities class actions. Milberg Weiss, which was indicted a year ago, also faces an additional charge of obstruction of justice, and Steven Schulman, a former Milberg Weiss partner, has agreed to plead guilty on a charge of racketeering. The house of cards began to collapse on Sept. 18, when William Lerach, another former Milberg Weiss partner, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. As part of the deal, Lerach has not agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. In a superseding indictment brought last year, prosecutors alleged that Milberg Weiss, as the plaintiffs’ firm is now known, collected more than $200 million in attorney fees by paying secret and illegal kickbacks to named plaintiffs. The original indictment, in 2005, was brought against named plaintiff Seymour Lazar and his personal lawyer, Paul Selzer.

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