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Unopposed Ill. judge to return campaign funds Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, a Democrat, will return some of the $1.48 million in campaign contributions she has received in her uncontested run to keep a seat on the state’s top court. The campaign committee will use some of the funds for advertisements asking voters to elect other Democratic judgeship candidates, said John B. Simon, the Jenner & Block attorney who chairs her campaign committee. After the Feb. 5 primary, two-thirds of the remaining funds will be returned to some 1,200 donors with the rest given back after the Nov. 4 general election, he said. “When she embarked upon this race, she anticipated having a contested election, which unfortunately would have cost quite a bit more than what she has raised,” Simon said. Survey: women bill $21 less per hour than men Regardless of law firm size, areas of practice or years of experience, women lawyers bill at lower hourly rates than men, according to the results of a survey of solo, small and midsize law firms by ALM Research. The average billing rate for women was $224 per hour, compared with $245 per hour for men. The highest hourly rate for women was $269 per hour, compared with $296 among men. The survey, which included 5,058 responses, was sent to law firms with no more than 170 attorneys. The most popular practice areas among women were family law, litigation and trusts and estates. ALM Research and The National Law Journal are part of ALM, which is owned by Incisive Media. Zuckerman’s Miami manager departs firm After 20 years as managing partner of the Miami office of Zuckerman Spaeder, Ronald Ravikoff has been replaced and is leaving the firm. Walter Tache, 38, who started at Washington-based Zuckerman Spaeder as an associate in 1997, has been quietly making the transition to managing partner since November 2007. Ravikoff, who was traveling in Europe, could not be reached for comment. But according to Tache, Ravikoff is going to Florida firm Akerman Senterfitt. Two other Zuckerman partners � Stephen Chaykin and Dan Gelber � also went to Akerman last year. Getchell’s 4th Circuit nomination is pulled The White House withdrew the nomination of E. Duncan Getchell Jr. last week for one of five vacant judgeships on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. President Bush’s nomination of Getchell, a Federalist Society member and appellate group chairman at McGuireWoods in Richmond, Va., to fill a judgeship traditionally held by Virginia was dead on arrival last September because Bush ignored the list of candidates proposed by Virginia senators Jim Webb Jr., a Democrat, and John Warner, a Republican. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wasn’t going to move Getchell’s nomination forward to a confirmation hearing without the consent of the home-state senators. $500M bias suit against GE clears early hurdle A $500 million sexual discrimination lawsuit against General Electric Co. brought by one of its former general counsel has cleared an early hurdle. A U.S. district judge in Connecticut flatly rejected GE’s motion to strike the allegations in the complaint. Judge Peter C. Dorsey ruled that GE failed to show that Lorene Schaefer, who serves as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking class action status, disclosed any company confidences by bringing the allegations. The action alleges that more than 1,000 women lawyers and executives at GE received lower pay and fewer promotions than their male counterparts. Wiley Rein is hit with $30M suit by Blackwater Blackwater USA filed a $30 million malpractice suit against Washington-based Wiley Rein last week, alleging that the firm made costly missteps in a wrongful death case brought on behalf of four former Blackwater employees who were killed in Iraq in 2004. The complaint, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, claims that lawyers at Wiley Rein filed sloppy pleadings that ultimately barred Blackwater from shifting the case from a North Carolina state court to federal district court, where the security firm could have mounted a stronger defense. “This is the first we’ve heard about this, and we’re investigating the allegations,” says Dale Hausman, a partner at Wiley Rein and one of the firm’s ethics counsel. After losing its bid to have the case transferred in October 2005, Blackwater discarded its high-wattage Wiley Rein team, which included Fred Fielding, now White House counsel.

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