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Solicitor general veteran goes to Akin Gump Veteran assistant to the solicitor general Patricia Millett, who has argued more U.S. Supreme Court cases than any other woman currently in public or private practice, has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as a partner in the firm’s appellate practice. Millett, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was an 11-year veteran of the Office of the Solicitor General, where she argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court and was responsible for briefing 49 cases. Prior to joining that office, Millett served for four years as an attorney in the appellate section of the Department of Justice Civil Division, where she argued 19 cases and briefed more than 25 others in various federal and state appellate courts. Sidley pays $27.5M to settle EEOC age bias suit Sidley Austin has agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle an age bias lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 32 former partners who claimed they were forced out of the law firm because of their age. At issue in the case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois was whether the partners were protected as employees under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In signing a consent decree, Sidley agreed that the partners seeking relief were employees within the meaning of the ADEA. The decree also barred the 1,712-attorney firm maintaining a formal or informal policy of requiring the retirement of partners based on age. The average payout to partners will be $859,375. “This settlement puts the cost, time and distraction of this litigation behind us,” said the firm in a written statement. London’s Norton Rose to open a Tokyo office London’s Norton Rose is to boost its Asia reach with the opening of an office in Tokyo, the firm announced last week. The office will be led by corporate finance partner Chris Viner, who previously led the firm’s English law practice in Moscow, with the firm also transferring banking partner Jeremy Gibb from its London headquarters. The office will concentrate on corporate finance, transport, energy, financial institutions and technology work. Heller Ehrman axes 65 administrative staff Heller Ehrman axed 65 administrative staff in its U.S. offices last week to eliminate overlapping positions and costs. The layoffs come as Heller management continues to warn partners that profits may be less than what the firm projected at the beginning of the year. Firm leaders said the cuts had been planned for some time. Robert Hubbell, managing partner, said that “in some places for some part of the year there have been some modest reductions in work level due to the natural life cycles of cases that come to an end,” but he emphasized that the staff cuts had nothing to do with those slowdowns. Covington partners vote in a new chairman Covington & Burling has a new chief. The venerable Washington firm recently elected Timothy Hester as its chairman in a consensus vote among the 168 partners. He’ll replace outgoing Chairman Stuart Stock on Jan. 1, 2008. Stock served as chairman for six years, during which time the firm’s gross revenue and net profits both more than doubled. When being re-elected for a term beginning in 2006, Stock told the partnership he would serve two years of the four-year term. Troutman adds to its expanding London office In London, Atlanta’s Troutman Sanders has recruited Robert Bata from the local office of Salans to expand its British office and add transactional and corporate finance capabilities. Bata’s addition frees up John R. Varholy, previously the London managing partner, to further develop his global energy trading and marketing practice, which the firm has made into a freestanding practice group, said Troutman’s chairman and managing partner, Robert W. Webb Jr. With Bata, Troutman has five lawyers in London. The office had been exclusively an energy practice, but some of the firm’s clients need expertise there in international mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and capital markets.

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