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Quinn Emanuel opens a Tokyo office after merger Los Angeles-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges has merged with Koda & Androlia, a Los Angeles boutique firm, to open its first office in Tokyo. Henry Koda and William Androlia, former partners of Koda & Androlia, will become partners at Quinn Emanuel. They opened the Tokyo office on Dec. 4. Ryan Goldstein, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel who is fluent in Japanese, will co-head the firm’s Tokyo office with Koda. Androlia will be located in Los Angeles as a liaison to the Tokyo office. Koda and Androlia both specialize in patent and trademark prosecution and intellectual property litigation for Japanese clients. The office will counsel Japanese companies, law firms and individuals on U.S.-based litigation. Parental benefits are ramped up at Latham Latham & Watkins announced a new parental leave policy for associates last week that significantly ups the amount of time biological and adoptive parents can take leave while receiving their full base salary. Some observers say that, much like associate salaries, Latham’s move, and some by other firms, could have ripple effects. Latham’s new policy scraps one that provided 12 weeks for primary-caregiver birth mothers and four weeks for new fathers and adoptive parents. It replaces it with 18 weeks for birth mothers who are primary caregivers and adoptive parents who are primary caregivers. It also increases to 10 weeks the time other primary caregivers, such as a biological father, can take off. Tort costs dropped after an eight-year rise U.S. tort costs dropped last year compared with the prior year for the first time since 1997, declining by 5.5% to $247 billion, according to a report from Towers Perrin, a global consulting firm. “In 2006, the modest decline in personal tort costs was combined with a significant drop on the commercial side,” Russ Sutter, Towers Perrin principal, said in a press release. Commercial tort costs, including legal, settlement, award and administrative expense, decreased by 7.7% to $159.6 billion, while personal tort costs declined by 1.2% to $87.4 billion, the report said. About 75% of part-time attorneys are women About 75% of all part-time attorneys are women, according to a survey from NALP, formerly the National Association for Law Placement. Although nearly 98% of the 1,500 law offices responding to NALP’s survey offered part-time schedules for lawyers, just 5.4% of attorneys in those firms worked part-time. Among women attorneys overall, 12.7% worked part-time, and among women partners, 11.7% practiced part-time. Among all part-time lawyers, associates were more likely to work part-time, at 4.8%, than partners, at 3%. Part-time partners were more than twice as common in Chicago and Washington as in New York. Judges may get more authority on mortgages Bankruptcy judges would get new authority to modify the terms of a mortgage on a homeowner’s primary residence under legislation approved on Dec. 13 by the House Judiciary Committee to assist homeowners facing foreclosures because of the subprime mortgage crisis. Under current law, bankruptcy judges are able to adjust terms of a loan only on second homes. H.R. 3609 would allow judges to modify the mortgage for a primary residence based on its actual value rather than on an inflated appraised price if the borrower shows he or she is unable to make payments and the home is in the foreclosure process. The committee had been studying legislation that sought to alleviate some of the subprime crisis through bankruptcy law. U.S. judge dismisses suit against BAR/BRI A federal judge has agreed to dismiss a class action alleging that the makers of the BAR/BRI bar-review course used deceptive advertising materials to overcharge tens of thousands of law school students preparing for the New York bar exam. Robert Arleo, a solo practitioner in Haines Falls, N.Y., who brought the suit in July, had objected to a recent $49 million antitrust settlement in California with the same defendants, West Publishing Corp. and West’s parent company, Thomson Corp. The California case was filed on behalf of 300,000 current and former law students nationwide. U.S. District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn of the Northern District of New York disputed that the advertising materials were deceptive or misleading, referring to some of the BAR/BRI statements cited in the complaint as “non-actionable puffing” and a “self-serving endorsement.”

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