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Winston & Strawn has asked Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Helen Freedman for permission to depose former General Electric Chairman Jack Welch on the eve of trial in a suit against the firm by one of its partners. Anthony LoFrisco, 73, claims Winston & Strawn owes him millions of dollars for breaching an agreement that would have allowed him to avoid “decompression,” the process by which most partners’ compensation is reduced each year after reaching 65. Before the firm decompressed him in 2002, LoFrisco was among Winston & Strawn’s most highly paid partners, due largely to his role as billing partner for GE. LoFrisco claims the firm took advantage of Welch’s 2001 retirement to break its agreement with him.Winston & Strawn has denied it was bound by such an agreement and also denied that LoFrisco was chiefly responsible for the GE relationship. In October, Welch filed an affidavit on LoFrisco’s behalf, calling him the “crucial player” in the relationship between GE and Winston & Strawn, and stating he was not familiar with the firm until LoFrisco became a partner there in 1991. In its request for permission to depose Welch, who resides in Connecticut, Winston & Strawn’s lawyer, Philip Forlenza of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, said LoFrisco was “stonewalling” on providing his witness list, leaving the possibility that Winston & Strawn would only have days to prepare for Welch’s testimony before the beginning of trial on Jan. 4. LoFrisco’s lawyer, Michael Carlinksy of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, declined to comment.

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