Smith Moore expands to Charlotte
In a bid to fortify its position as one of the most prominent Southeast-based law firms, Smith Moore has opened new shop in Charlotte. The firm hopes to hire some of North Carolina's top litigation and corporate attorneys to serve its clients in areas of business litigation, corporate law, real estate, tax, and wealth management. Larry Sitton, prominent commercial litigation attorney and former president of the North Carolina Bar Association, will be the senior litigator of Smith Moore's litigation team in the Charlotte office. Joining the team will be three accomplished commercial litigators from the firm's Greensboro office: Rob Marcus, Jon Heyl, and Heather White. Marcus will assist Sitton in leading the firm's litigation practice in Charlotte.

Rich Drake and Lynn Chandler will establish the firm's corporate law practice in Charlotte. The duo will join Smith Moore from Morris Manning & Martin. Drake practice centers on general business and real estate development, and Chandler focuses on tax law, wealth transfer, succession planning, and estate planning issues. Joining them will be Janice Davies and Tanya Oesterreich. The total number of attorneys in Charlotte will be eight.

The firm was planning to open a Charlotte office for some time, said managing partner Steve Earp. The firm got motivated to expand in the area owing to the region's emergence as the most dynamic business centers in the country and also in view of the growing scope of its practice areas. The firm's clientele in Charlotte and western North Carolina was the other factor.

Ken Mehlman rejoins Akin Gump
Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, rejoined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. In the firm, Mehlman will focus his practice on legislative, regulatory, corporate, and public relations matters. Earlier, Mehlman joined Akin Gump in 1991 as an associate and left the firm to pursue a career in politics. He also served as campaign manager for George Bush and Dick Cheney as they won a second term. The 900-lawyer Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is among the top law firm's in the world.

After serving in the capacity of the 62nd chair of the Republican National Committee, Mehlman said that he is looking forward to working with some of the "world's best lawyers and advisors to develop some of the most creative and effective solutions to solve problems at the nexus of business and public policy."


Porn on parole
Wayne E. Harding, age 53, was caught downloading pornographic material at the Solvay Public Library last Thursday while out on parole. Harding, a risk level 3 sex-offender, was sentenced to prison by the Onondaga County Court in 2005 for the crime of possessing prohibited pornographic material. The absence of computer access in jail held him to such good behavior that he received parole early this year. As soon as he hit the streets, Harding worked rigorously to make up for lost time, and regularly visited different public libraries since his release. The police caught on to his act when tipped off by a librarian and put him back in jail for violating parole conditions. Once again separated from computers, Harding is back to his good behavior and working hard to earn his next parole.

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