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New leader is named for Akerman Senterfitt Andrew M. Smulian has been named the new chairman of Florida firm Akerman Senterfitt. Smulian, who is based in Miami, was elected by the firm’s shareholders. He succeeds Thomas Cardwell, who served a five-year term as chairman of the 420-lawyer firm. Smulian is popular and, having spent years as a lawyer in New York before coming to Miami, “he speaks to a bigger market than Florida,” said a former Akerman lawyer. Earlier this month, Akerman was rocked by the news that eight partners were leaving the same week. Akerman president Robert Zinn insisted the departures were unrelated and that there are no morale problems at the firm. [ Related article.] U.S. firms struggle to draw laterals in London Lateral partner hires among elite U.S. firms in London have slowed during the last year, according to research from Legal Week, illustrating the uphill struggle faced by U.S. firms attempting to recruit leading names in the United Kingdom. The survey of hiring trends at 23 U.S. firms in London found that they made a total of 65 lateral hires in 2007, up from 58 the previous year but down from 2005, when hiring activity peaked at 70 lawyers. Legal Week is the London-based affiliate of The National Law Journal. Some U.S. firms saw a fall in partner-hiring activity with 10 firms, including Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis, reporting a drop in lateral appointments. TiVo wins injunction in a key patent fight The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit proved last week that it still grants influential injunctions in patent fights. The court upheld TiVo Inc.’s claims that Dish Network infringed on a patent used in its digital-video recording technology. The decision triggered a permanent injunction against Dish Network and a $94 million damage award. Ever since the 2006 Supreme Court decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange LLC, 126 S. Ct. 1837, that an injunction shouldn’t automatically be issued on a finding of patent infringement, such orders have been less frequent. Patent lawyers say the TiVo case shows that there are situations in which that won’t be the case. Suit against N.Y. firm may move forward A federal bankruptcy judge has declined to dismiss claims by a trustee against a New York state bankruptcy boutique. In In re Food Management Group (Grubin v. Rattet), No. 04-22880 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.), Judge Martin Glenn ruled that allegations, which include fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty, could proceed against two attorneys as well as the law firm Rattet, Pasternak & Gordon Oliver. The lawyers and the firm are accused of failing to disclose that an “insider” of debtor Food Management Group had violated a court order by submitting a bid in the auction of the company’s assets. Morgan Lewis defeats client’s $20M lawsuit Morgan, Lewis & Bockius defeated a former client’s $20 million breach of contract claim last week. The 12 jurors in Brodie v. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius came back just before noon after 3 1/2 hours of deliberations over two days in Philadelphia. They were unanimous in their defense verdict. While jurors found that Brodie � operating as Purolite Co. � and its owners, Don and Stefan Brodie, properly brought the suit within the four-year statute of limitations, they said Morgan Lewis did not breach its contract with the Brodies by advising them to continue selling their water-filtration products to companies in Cuba.

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