Four Leave Kaye Scholer to Start T & E Boutique

Four lawyers from the trusts and estates department of Kaye Scholer, including department head Sanford J. Schlesinger, have left to launch a private client boutique. The newly founded Schlesinger Gannon & Lazetera, whose other partners will be Thomas P. Gannon, Lianne Lazetera and Martin R. Goodman, will also affiliate with the 35-lawyer Dreier firm, which has litigation, real estate and other practices. Mr. Schlesinger said the group sought a smaller firm environment because large firms like Kaye Scholer are largely focused on institutional rather than individual clients. “The trusts and estates practice is not given the significance it deserves,” he said. In recent years, many large firms have curtailed trusts and estates practices. � Anthony Lin

Murder Defendant Who Was Televised Fleeing Wins Acquittal

A murder defendant who eluded capture for 10 months was acquitted by a Manhattan jury last week. Kirk Burgess, who fled the scene of a barroom brawl where a patron was shot to death in March 2002, was captured shortly after being featured on a segment of the nationally televised show “America’s Most Wanted.” Mr. Burgess’ lawyer, Stuart Rubin, said the jury deliberated for nearly four days and was apparently swayed by evidence that a key witness had been found to have committed perjury in his own criminal case. � Daniel Wise

More Federal Judges Now Accepting Electronic Filings

Twenty-one Southern District judges will begin participating in the district’s new Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system starting today. Joining 11 of their colleagues and all the district’s magistrate judges who are currently using the system, the judges will assign newly filed civil and criminal cases to ECF. Attorneys seeking to prepare to litigate cases on ECF should log on to the district’s Web site, www.nysd.uscourts.gov. � Mark Hamblett

Medical Data Privacy Forms Are Available on Web Site.

In an effort to reduce litigation delays resulting from disputes about whether medical information authorizations meet the privacy requirements of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Office of Court Administration has promulgated a form that court officials, medical associations, civil and criminal bar groups and state health agencies have agreed meets HIPAA requirements. The form is posted on OCA’s Web site and is effective as of today. See the Court Note on page 14 for details. � Cerisse Anderson

Civil Court Primary Applications Available

Anyone wishing to win the endorsement of the Manhattan Democratic Party for one of three countywide openings on the Civil Court this year must submit an application to the party’s screening panel no later than March 16. The panel may recommend as many as nine candidates. Party rules require that it select its three candidates from the list approved by the screening panel. Applications may be obtained from Tracee Davis, the administrator of the panel, at 575 Lexington Ave., 10th floor, New York, N.Y. 10022; (212) 826-5358; or from Democratic Party headquarters at 60 E. 42nd St., 18th floor, New York, N.Y. 10017; (212) 687-6540.

Bar President Takes Offense at ‘Terrorist’ Label

New York State Bar Association President A. Thomas Levin of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein in Mineola last week fired off an angry letter to American International Group (AIG) Chairman Maurice Greenberg, who allegedly referred to trial attorneys as “terrorists” in a recent speech before the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club. AIG is the largest insurer in the world, and Mr. Greenberg is a vocal advocate of tort reform. “Your use of the word ‘terrorist’ to describe a group of fellow Americans who dare to challenge your ‘bottom line’ at the expense of safety and who protect working families from the devastation of negligence is an insult to the memory of those who died at the hands of real terrorists and those who today continue to fight courageously to keep our country safe from another attack,” Mr. Levin wrote. � John Caher

Personal Notes on Lawyers

� New York State Insurance Fund General Attorney Douglas J. Hayden has been nominated to serve as vice chairman of the New York State Bar Association’s Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law section.