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New Chicago firm touts alternative billing plan Three civil trial lawyers this year have launched a new firm in Chicago called Valorem, Latin for “value,” that they hope will be an answer to clients’ increasing demand for alternative fee arrangements that lower legal costs. Patrick Lamb and Hugh Totten, both in Chicago, and Mark Sayre, in Los Angeles, have joined together to start the firm. The firm, which intends to focus on high-end commercial civil litigation, will work with clients to agree on fixed rates, contingency fees, monthly retainers or other arrangements, Totten said in an interview. If some clients want to use hourly rates, Totten expects they will be 20% to 30% below those of major firms. U.C. Irvine law dean building his team The University OF California, Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Law has filled the first of its top administrative positions: those of assistant dean and a director of development, according to the school’s dean, Erwin Chemerinsky. Charles Cannon, the director of development at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, will become the director of development at the Irvine law school on Jan. 22, Chemerinsky said. In addition, Rebecca Avila, the senior associate dean for administration and finance at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, will become the assistant dean for administration and finance. GC who called for diversity switches jobs Roderick ‘Rick’ Palmore, who as general counsel at Sara Lee Corp. has pushed outside law firms to diversify their attorney ranks, is leaving the Chicago-area consumer food company to join Minneapolis rival General Mills Inc. Palmore will join General Mills on Feb. 11 as general counsel and executive vice president with oversight for worldwide legal activities, corporate security and ethics, and compliance, his new employer said in a press release. Palmore in 2004 began a campaign that called on U.S. companies’ legal departments and law firms to increase women and minority lawyers in their ranks and asked general counsel to agree to limit their ties with or fire firms that didn’t meet certain criteria on hiring and promoting a diverse set of attorneys. K&L Gates opens its 24th office, in Paris Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis has opened its 24th office, in Paris. Two partners of 30-attorney Kahn & Associ�s, Diane Hedary and Olivia L� Horovitz, are the start of what the firm said would be “rapid” expansion in the City of Lights. Hedary is a member of the Paris and New York bars and focuses her practice on real estate, corporate and mergers and acquisitions transactions. L� Horovitz handles private equity, mergers and acquisitions, corporate and environmental law. With its recent merger with Dallas-based Hughes & Luce, K&L Gates has more than 1,500 lawyers in 24 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia. Nevada court orders indigent defense reform The Nevada Supreme Court has issued an order mandating sweeping changes to the state’s indigent defense system. The order adopts performance standards for public defenders to help ensure defendants in criminal cases are provided appropriate representation. It sets standards for determining whether a defendant is entitled to an appointed attorney, including a more rigorous screening process. The court also declared that judges should not be involved in the appointment of defense attorneys who represent indigent defendants in their courts. Additionally, the court required that statistics on services to indigent defendants be regularly provided by all counties. Finally, the court ordered the creation of a permanent statewide commission to oversee indigent defense. Reed Smith revenue up, and so is merger talk Reed Smith increased its gross revenue in 2007 by 38.5%, due in large part to two mergers completed last year that gave the firm nearly an additional 400 attorneys. And there is some talk that the firm is currently in merger discussions again, this time with a firm that has strong New York ties. Reed Smith’s revenue increased from $644 million in 2006 to $892 million in 2007. That increase includes revenue from the firm’s Jan. 1, 2007, merger with 250-lawyer Richards Butler London and the March 1, 2007, merger with 140-attorney Sachnoff & Weaver in Chicago. There have been rumors that the firm is in merger talks with New York-based Anderson Kill & Olick, which has a little more than 80 of its nearly 120 attorneys in New York.

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