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Nearly five months have passed since the breakup of Atlanta-based legal recruiting firm Hughes & Sloan Inc. became effective. But Melba N.G. Hughes and Linda Sloan-Young still haven’t ironed out a separation agreement. What’s taking so long? Attorneys for Hughes and Sloan-Young say the devil is in the details. In April, Hughes agreed to sell her half of the firm to Sloan-Young. Sloan-Young then told the Daily Report that she expected Hughes to sign a noncompete agreement that would “significantly restrict” Hughes from recruiting. Agreements are set with the sale and the noncompete, the lawyers say. But the parties have yet to negotiate some the finer points. “We’re just sorting through some of the housekeeping matters,” says Sloan-Young’s attorney, Peter R. Weisz of Weisz & Associates. But, he adds, “No one’s signed anything at this point. We’re still negotiating.” When asked about specific issues left on the table, Weisz said, “We just have to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.” Sloan-Young also mentioned such issues as i’s and t’s and added that she and Hughes still needed to sort through tax matters. W. Randy Eaddy, who represents Hughes in the transaction, says there are minor issues to resolve before the transaction is complete. “It is in the grand scheme of things quite minor but not so inconsequential that everything can be deemed to be taken care of,” he says. The process is slow, Eaddy says, because “it is a complex corporate transaction” that entails the negotiation of many details. “Working out some of those details has taken some extra time,” he adds. Weisz, Eaddy, Sloan-Young and Hughes all say they expect the transaction to be completed soon. As for Hughes signing a noncompete agreement, Weisz says, “She has to. That’s part of the transaction.” Hughes would only say, “We’re still ironing out some issues” and referred further questions to Eaddy. Eaddy says Hughes will sign a noncompete agreement that will restrict her from recruiting. He added that he cannot comment on the length of that restriction. Briefly … Sole practitioner Mary Carole Cooney and her husband, Henry R. Bauer Jr. of Bauer & Deitch, recently spent more than two weeks in China with the National Geographic Society. The attorneys visited Chinese villages and discussed political and legal issues with the citizens there. Cooney says the Chinese government owns all real property there. But the Chinese are permitted to own any structure attached to the land. When the government takes property away from Chinese citizenry, Cooney says, it must compensate any tenant for the value of the structures. The concept is similar to the American notion of eminent domain, Cooney says. The tour included stops in Hong Kong, Beijing, Xian, Chongqing and Wuhan as well as a boat trip down the Yangtze River. The John Marshall Law School conferred honorary doctoral degrees on Rep. Carl Von Epps and Rep. Tyrone Brooks at the school’s graduation ceremony on May 20. Epps, D-LaGrange, is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and heads the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. Brooks, D-Atlanta, is also a member of the Georgia House.

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