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Cadwalader shakes up its top management As it wrestles with an ongoing slump in its core capital markets practice, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has shaken up its top management team. The New York-based law firm announced recently that Robert O. Link, its longtime chairman and managing partner, would relinquish the position of chairman to W. Christopher White, effective on March 1. Link will continue to serve as Cadwalader’s managing partner and remain a member of the firm’s six-partner management committee. Gregory A. Markel, head of the firm’s litigation practice and a management committee member, said the move had been a consensus decision by the committee aimed at broadening management responsibilities as the firm presses ahead in a number of relatively new practice areas. Ex-Milberg Weiss expert agrees to plead to perjury John B. Torkelsen, a former expert witness for Milberg Weiss, has agreed to plead guilty to perjury, admitting he lied to a federal judge in a securities class action about how he was getting paid. Torkelsen, who ran Princeton Venture Research Inc. and Equity Valuation Advisors Inc., served as an expert witness in hundreds of shareholder derivative and class actions for several law firms from 1985 to 2003. According to prosecutors, the law firms told federal judges that Torkelsen was serving as an independent expert. But in secret, Torkelsen was being paid on a contingency fee basis. In the Milberg Weiss case, prosecutors allege that the firm and seven of its partners generated $250 million in attorney fees by paying illegal kickbacks to name plaintiffs. Bracewell & Giuliani trio goes to McDermott McDermott, Will & Emery plans to open a Houston outpost staffed with three energy lawyers who have defected from Bracewell & Giuliani. McDermott, founded in Chicago, will expand its energy practice with Robert Stephens, David W. Locascio and Jose Luis Vittor, opening the office in March 3. In addition, Fay Morisseau, an intellectual property partner in McDermott’s Orange County, Calif., office who has tried cases in the Eastern District of Texas federal court, will transfer to the Houston office to manage the operation. Jenner & Block hires FCC’s general counsel Jenner & Block has hired Samuel L. Feder, a one-time summer associate at the firm who has been general counsel for the Federal Communications Commission since 2005. He will be a partner in the Washington office starting on March 3. As general counsel to the federal agency that oversees U.S. telecommunications regulation, Feder supervised a department of 50 attorneys, advised the FCC on legal decisions, guided the FCC litigation and reviewed mergers and acquisitions that required FCC approval, the firm said in a press release. Prior to taking the senior counsel position, Feder was a legal advisor to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin and Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. Key motions in Scruggs bribery case are denied In a blow to the defense of Mississippi plaintiffs’ attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the judge overseeing his bribery case denied a slew of defense motions last week, including change of venue and motion to suppress wiretaps. In one of the motions, U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. even went so far as to characterize one of Scruggs’ co-defendant’s actions as corruption. In a case that has rocked Mississippi legal circles, Scruggs, along with four co-defendants, is being charged with conspiring to bribe a judge to rule his way in a $26 million fee dispute involving Hurricane Katrina cases. Two co-defendants have plead guilty and agreed to cooperate against Scruggs, his son, Zack, and their co-counsel Sidney Backstrom. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 31.

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