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BOUTIQUE TOO BIG? On April 11, the University of Rochester received a patent that seems to give it lucrative dominion over the current belle of the drug market, next-generation painkillers. And the university asked for its dividends before the day was out, by suing G.D. Searle & Co., maker of the top-selling Celebrex. But even this money pot couldn’t keep New York’s Pennie & Edmonds on the job: The firm ditched the university, a five-year client, the next day. U. of R. has now shot back in court. It claims that P&E and its biotech group, led by S. Leslie Misrock, did double duty — the 165-lawyer intellectual property shop helped the school prepare to sue Searle while working on patent matters for (ulp) Searle. Other grievances: The university claimed that five lawyers were on the job but that the firm billed for 23, and didn’t use an ethical wall. The school wants its $700,000 back — and P&E thrown off Searle’s painkiller matters. Pennie & Edmonds, perhaps too busy reviewing its conflict-checking software, did not return phone calls by press time. MR. PURITY: In the judicial influence-peddling hoopla in New Hampshire, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is more than a memory — he’s become an alibi. The lawyers for Chief Justice David Brock, now on trial for impeachment, have unearthed a first set of papers showing that it was actually Hon. Souter, back when he was on the Granite State’s supreme court, who recommended, for reasons of law, speeding the appeal of a top state politician. Alas, Hon. Brock faces other accusations. Hon. Souter can deflect questions about his integrity with his 1998 financial disclosure filing, now online at apbnews.com. Unlike frequent flyer Antonin Scalia or avid investor Sandra Day O’Connor, Hon. Souter listed only two mutual funds, some savings accounts and a single reimbursement: a paid trip to Harvard Law School. KEPT QUIET: John S. Battle Jr., a former partner at Richmond’s McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe, died in 1997. Thereafter, his former secretary said that her boss had promised she would receive $300,000 after he died. The firm argued that to satisfy Gwenn Talbot’s claim would be illegal because her share “clearly would be based on an ongoing illicit sexual relationship between a married man and an unmarried woman for over 20 years.” In addition to his estate, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Talbot had gone after the firm, accusing it of scheming to cover up their affair. Now she has settled with it, terms undisclosed. TOO LAME: David Letterman’s “Late Show” has purged law firm groups from its studio, according to sources at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler and other firms quoted in the New York Observer. The reason: too few yuks, too few hoots. “You’re just not the kind of crowd we’re looking for,” a staffer supposedly said. A spokeswoman said the true problem is a group ticket backlog caused by Dave’s absence for heart surgery. OFF TO SCHOOL: Lawyers monitoring the frontiers of mergers-and-acquisitions practice might want to speak to Robert Grammig, a director of Tampa, Fla.’s Holland & Knight. On behalf of a mystery corporate client, he sent a letter to higher-ed insiders, asking whether anyone knew of an accredited university that was for sale. Those lawyers who smell a growing practice area in the trade of alma maters may want to check in with Grammig for overflow. No sales yet, but surely they’re on the way. He’s been contacted by plenty of would-be brokers eager to bird-dog him a willing institution.

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