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Date : 10-17-2006

MindServer streamlines case data searches for Morrison & Foerster


In a bid to feed information regarding external developments affecting clients and ongoing cases to its more than 1,000 attorneys working in 19 offices across the globe, Morrison & Foerster chose two products developed by Recommind, Inc. (an enterprise search and knowledge management vendor), MindServer Legal Matters & Expertise and MindServer Legal Enterprise Search, to minimize operational time wastage and maximize quick retrieval of data. The applications, which are web-based and require no formal training for users, have been renamed in-house as Morrison & Foerster's AnswerBase. With so many offices, Morrison & Foerster's 3,000 attorneys and support staff members were having difficulty finding needed case information quickly, and their demands overwhelmed the firm's old search system. The move is expected to save the law firm $4 million annually. Recommind's enterprise search and categorization platform automatically organizes, manages, and distributes large volumes of information from multiple sources. The products can thus save time, enhance quality of output, increase the value of information assets, and improve competitiveness and profits by facilitating swift access to the right information. Morrison & Foerster will use the software to go beyond keyword searches to gather information from assorted sources, including documents, databases, web pages, and email.


LeClair Ryan opens doors in Manhattan


Virginia-based law firm LeClair Ryan opened offices in New York's midtown Manhattan area and hired Paul A. Merolla, former GC and VP of Instinet Group, to lead the Manhattan operations of its securities litigation and regulation group. The firm will concentrate mainly on expanding its financial services and corporate bankruptcy practices in Manhattan. Merolla has wide experience in investment banking, as well as publicly traded company environments. Two more new attorneys, Michael T. Conway and Andrew J. Frisch, have joined the firm as partners. Conway, who has firsthand experience in bankruptcy, creditors' rights, and securities, comes from Lazare, Potter, Giacovas & Kranjac in New York; he will head LeClair Ryan's bankruptcy practice and will look after the bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice group in the firm. LeClair Ryan hopes to benefit from Frisch's 20 years of experience practicing criminal law in New York City's federal and state courts, as he leads the firm's white-collar criminal defense practice. LeClair Ryan's present workforce includes more than 140 attorneys in Virginia and Washington, DC.


Baker Botts strengthens influence in Asia


In a bid to solidify its presence in Asia, Baker Botts hired Chinese lawyer Libin Zhang as a partner. A former legal counsel at ABB (China) Limited, Zhang has more than 15 years of experience working on cross-border transactions (concerning both in-bound and foreign investments). Baker Botts aims at stabilizing its global commitments, as well as adding muscle to the China team with Zhang's entry into the firm. Zhang's wide range of experience as an advisor on U.S. and PRC-related transactions will aid Baker Botts in developing its Asian presence, especially since his experience in the power industry relates to the firm's plans for its expansion in Asia. Baker Botts' more than 700 lawyers provide legal services to clients across the globe.


Cohen & Grigsby adds muscle to team


Pittsburgh-based Cohen & Grigsby added five new names to its roster: Elizabeth H. Cronise, Philip K. Kontul, Nicole L. Phatak, John M. Rumin, and Helen S. Shaffer. Cronise will concentrate on the areas of mass torts, product defects, consumer protection, antitrust, and securities fraud in the firm's litigation group, while Kontul, who will serve as an associate in the labor and employment group, will handle a wide range of employment-related matters. Phatak, an associate in the estates and trusts group, will work on estate and trust planning, while Rumin, working as a director in the business group, will concentrate on corporate finance, municipal finance, and taxation. Shaffer will concentrate on general litigation matters as an associate in the firm's litigation and bankruptcy and creditors' rights groups. Cohen & Grigsby's range of clientele is wide, and its attorneys offer legal advice in many practice areas, from bankruptcy and IP to immigration and real estate.


Parker Poe expands its presence in Myrtle Beach


Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein has established a new office in Myrtle Beach, catering to its Carolina-based clients, under the leadership of Michael W. Eisenrauch, Partner in Charge at the firm's new office. The premeditated move to spread out to Grand Strand aims at fulfilling clients' demands in Carolina's rapidly escalating resort, hospitality, and planned development sectors. In the new set-up, Eisenrauch will have help from Matthew J. Norton, leader of the firm's resort, hospitality, and planned development industry team, and Robert S. Guyton, who has joined as the new Counsel. Former Chairman of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Guyton specializes in real estate transactions and development in the Myrtle Beach area. Parker Poe has a workforce of more than 200 lawyers in six offices across the Carolinas and provides legal services in diverse practice areas.


Akerman Senterfitt gets a new office


Akerman Senterfitt opened the doors of its new office in Orlando. For a long time, the firm squeezed its growing multitalented team of attorneys into the close confines of Citrus Center, an office it had used since 1971. The firm relocated its attorney strength of 90, along with nearly 180 staff members, to the new office, retaining the old office for its information technologies, accounting, human resources, and administration personnel departments. Incidentally, the firm is also celebrating its 85th anniversary. With more than 475 attorneys and consultants across the country, Akerman Senterfitt provides notable legal and business solutions to a varied list of clientele in over 40 practice areas.


Perkins Coie's renewed China bid


Perkins Coie's sojourn in Asia sees new vistas being opened with the firm's plans to establish a new office in Shanghai. Earlier, an economic slump in the region forced the firm to close its Hong Kong office. Perkins Coie, which deals in personal estate planning for expatriates and intellectual property in its China office, recently received the China Ministry of Justice's green light to open new offices in Shanghai. Perkins Coie serves multinational clients (both in China and the U.S.) in the areas of intellectual property (with a focus on the life sciences industry), corporate finance and securities, international business, and personal planning. The new Shanghai office will also specialize in intellectual property and will be led by two lawyers—Fabiola Suwanto and Zhaohui (Zoe) Wang. With more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices across the United States and in China, Perkins Coie serves many major corporations.


White & Case has three aces up its sleeve


White & Case raided Clifford Chance to add muscle to its corporate practice group in Berlin by hiring three new people—two partners and an associate. Jörg Kraffel, an expert in all aspects of corporate and commercial law and former head of Clifford Chance's Berlin office, concentrates on restructuring and privatizations, as well as mergers and acquisitions, most notably in investments and acquisitions in the energy sector. Besides Kraffel, Partner Carsten Rodemann and Associate Jutta Dissen will also begin working towards expansion of the firm's corporate practice in Germany. With the new additions, the Berlin lawyer count has risen to 28, and the German corporate practice count has risen to 84 lawyers. White & Case, a leading global law firm with more than 2,000 lawyers in 24 countries, is well known in Germany, where it advises clients in a number of areas, including public law, real estate, and banking.


Reed Smith gets triple-energized


Reed Smith added three new partners—James Tandler, Patrick de Carbuccia, and Michael Pollack—to its New York City office. Tandler joins the tax group and comes from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Carbuccia, who was formerly with Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher, joins the firm's corporate and securities group; and Pollack, former partner and head of the U.S. real estate practice at Withers Bergman, joins the real estate practice group at Reed Smith. The firm hopes to strengthen its aim of building a wide-ranging New York corporate practice with their collective experience in handling sophisticated real estate transactions, securities matters, and taxation issues. Since January 2005, Reed Smith's New York office has added 33 attorneys and seen exponential growth in its corporate and securities, financial services, real estate, product liability, intellectual property, labor and employment, and tax practice groups.


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