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Atlanta-based Morris, Manning & Martin has shifted almost a third of its technology practice to create a privacy and security group. The firm says the lawyers will continue to work partly in technology and insists the move does not reflect a slowdown in its tech sector. Technology partner James W. Butler III will co-chair the privacy group with insurance and health care lawyer L. Chris Petersen, who is of counsel. Butler, who calls the privacy group “cross-departmental,” says all 23 lawyers in the new group have been involved in privacy and security work and that they now can pool efforts more efficiently. All practice areas may encounter privacy issues, Butler says, so it makes sense to consolidate those with experience in the field. Marketing opportunities also motivated the move, says Butler. The group will enhance the firm’s technology practice as well as emphasize security work, which he says is neglected by many law firms’ privacy groups. Morris Manning has 27 tech lawyers and includes Yahoo Inc., Powertel and Witness Systems in its client base. Last June, the firm launched eFacilitator, a division within its technology group that evaluates the financial and operational needs of startup clients and matches them with sources of funding, management and professional services. Other tech-heavy firms have scrambled to avoid layoffs in the economic slowdown. Washington-based Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe and San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison have uprooted corporate technology associates and placed them in busier areas, such as litigation and bankruptcy. Morris Manning’s privacy and security group will include corporate partners David M. Calhoun, John H. Northey III and Juliana M. Spaeth, employment partner R. Jason D’Cruz and litigation partner Bryan G. Harrison. Maureen A. FitzGerald, Robert H. Myers Jr. and S. Roy Woodall, who are of counsel to Morris Manning, will join the group, along with eight technology and two corporate associates, plus one each from health care and financial institutions. FitzGerald and two of the technology associates also will be part of the firm’s insurance e-commerce group. Morris Manning lost insurance partner Brian T. Casey and of counsel Patrick J. Hatfield to Lord, Bissell & Brook earlier this month. In a release announcing the additions to the e-commerce group, Managing Partner Robert E. Saudek reported that the firm’s revenue is up 41 percent for the first seven months of 2001, compared to the same period last year. Butler says the tech group successfully has weathered the financial storm so far by replacing IPO and financing work for dot-com clients with strategic partnerships and acquisitions. BUTLER STEPS DOWN Teresa L. Butler has stepped down as managing partner of Littler Mendelson’s Atlanta office. She is succeeded by Cameron S. Pierce, who took over the 19-lawyer labor and employment outfit on Aug. 13. Butler, 41, who managed the office for five years, says she wanted to spend more time working for clients Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. and Gambro Health Care. Management consumed half her time, she says. A single mother of three, Butler will remain on Littler’s board of directors. Butler, who’s been with the firm nine years, moved to Atlanta from the Fresno, Calif., office in 1996. Pierce, who is 37, was one of four lawyers who established the Atlanta office in 1996. Before that, he was with Fisher & Phillips. Briefly … David S. Fried, formerly a sixth-year associate in Hunton & Williams’ Atlanta employment and litigation group, is now a name partner at Loewenthal, Fleming, Howard & Fried. Fried says he left Hunton to develop his own practice, gain career autonomy and work with long-time friends. Loewenthal is a boutique that focuses on plaintiff-side litigation but does some defense work, says partner J. Marcus Howard. Alston & Bird partner Kevin E. Grady has been elected vice chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law. Under the bylaws of the antitrust section, he’ll become chairman-elect for 2002-2003 and section chairman for 2003-2004. He was elected during the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago the first week in August. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker has been honored by International Data Group’s CIO (Chief Information Officer) magazine. The “CIO-100″ toasts those companies that exemplify a particular area of business or organizational excellence. This year’s publication praises companies whose innovative approaches have improved products, services and relationships with partners and clients. Paul Hastings was recognized for its early adoption of technology in communicating with its clients and among the firm’s nine worldwide offices. It uses BlackBerry handheld communication devices as well as cell phones to send e-mail, voicemail and fax messages and to maintain contact lists and calendars. King & Spalding, Alston & Bird and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan have been chosen as 36th, 89th and 99th, respectively, in Vault Inc.’s latest ranking of the 100 most prestigious firms in the country. Sutherland, Asbill and A&B also made Vault’s list of the “best 20 law firms to work for.” Sutherland was sixth on that list and Alston 10th. Associates rated the top 20 based on quality of life issues such as pay, diversity and training. Vault says more than 9,000 attorneys from 120 law firms were polled. Founded in 1997, Vault is a media company that publishes career information on companies and industries.

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