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U.K.’s former AG joins Debevoise & Plimpton The former attorney of the United Kingdom has joined New York’s Debevoise & Plimpton as the firm’s London-based head of European litigation. Peter Goldsmith, who served as the chief lawyer for the British crown and government from 2001 until June of this year, said in an interview last week that he was happy to be joining a firm of Debevoise’s stature, and the fact that it was an American rather than British law firm had not been important to him. “The key part for me is that this firm understands problems need to be dealt with on a global basis,” said Goldsmith. He also said he had known Debevoise for many years from the firm’s pro bono and public interest work. As attorney general, Goldsmith oversaw criminal prosecutions in Britain and advised the government on major legal issues, including the war in Iraq. Midsize Missouri firms eye a possible merger Blackwell Sanders and Husch & Eppenberger, both based in Missouri, are in merger talks to create a 630-attorney law firm. Leaders from Blackwell Sanders and Husch & Eppenberger said in a joint statement that they are in the early stages, “with serious intentions” of completing a merger. Blackwell Sanders, based in Kansas City, has about 330 attorneys, while Husch & Eppenberger, based in St. Louis, has about 300 attorneys. The deal would create the second-largest firm in Missouri. The largest firm with its origins in the state is 800-attorney Bryan Cave, which has about 250 lawyers in St. Louis. Linklaters partner to head U.S. practice Linklaters has shuffled its U.S. management, with global finance and projects chief John Tucker relocating from London to New York, as the firm looks to underline its commitment to the United States. The transfer sees Tucker take overall control of the Magic Circle firm’s Americas practice, with overall responsibility for Linklaters’ New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil, offices. Meanwhile, U.S. managing partner Paul Wickes will take on a new role as U.S. senior partner. Alston & Bird nabs Kennedy finance team Atlanta’s Alston & Bird has swiped a 13-attorney structured finance practice in Charlotte, N.C., from the headquarters of Charlotte firm Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman. The group handles commercial mortgage-backed securities � bonds backed by commercial real estate mortgages � as well as residential mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities. The practice is led by J. Patrick Hayden, previously the chairman of the structured finance group at Kennedy Covington, who joins Alston as a partner. Motley Rice considers shutting Atlanta office Less than two years after it opened, the Atlanta office of Motley Rice is poised for a major shake-up. The South Carolina-based firm has asked three of its four Atlanta lawyers to move to its home base in Mount Pleasant, a suburb of Charleston. “Regrettably, the practice did not materialize as we had hoped,” wrote Ann K. Ritter, the firm’s managing partner, in a letter that was obtained by the Fulton County Daily Report, an affiliate of The National Law Journal. Motley Rice partner Joseph F. Rice confirmed that the letter was authentic. In Calif. ruling, clients get less time to sue firms A ruling last week from the California Supreme Court leaves former clients less time to hit a firm with a malpractice suit. The clock for filing a malpractice suit starts ticking when a client ends its relationship with a law firm � even if the client still retains one of the firm’s former attorneys, the court ruled. “When a lawyer leaves a firm and takes a client with him, the firm’s representation of the client ceases,” Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for a unanimous court. Real Bank SSB v. Arter & Hadden, No. 07 C.D.O.S. 11711. The decision should be met with relief by the state’s lawyers. Nine major law firms joined the Los Angeles County and Orange County bar associations in filing amicus curiae briefs.

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