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08/21/06

Real estate perceived as profitable practice area


The growing increase in high value real estate deals has prompted many law firms to aggressively work towards developing expertise in real estate practice. This development may be attributed to the fact that many equity and pension funds are involving their finances in high profile deals, which in turn is creating legal work. As reported on law.com, the majority of national law firms are shifting focus from conventional practice areas to a more lucrative real estate practice. Goodwin Proctor hired former Pillsbury real estate partner Lewis Feldman to its newly set up LA office, and Seyfarth Shaw brought in former Pillsbury partner David Roseman to beef up operations in the West Coast real estate market.

Although the advent of globalization has drastically transformed the way deals are conducted, the legal experts feel that the majority of the legal work remains local. However, legal professionals in real estate practice anticipate that evolving capital markets and continued investment in products will lead to more complex deals in future. From a traditional price sensitive practice area, real estate is now the latest buzzword in the legal profession that will benefit law firms in the long run.

Law firms reconsider campus recruiting
Law firms across United States have embarked on a unique hiring strategy. Leigh Jones of The National Law Journal reports that firms are now hunting in new law schools outside their geographical domains and are considering students who stand out on other qualifications besides academics. Moreover, interview sessions are tending to be scheduled earlier, to allow students to interact freely with the potential employers without missing their academic sessions. Firms rely on lawyers who are alumni from the schools to help them conduct on-campus interviews. Recently, the majority of law firms have begun offering new salary structures for associates, which will serve as a considerable draw for law students.

To meet the hiring demands, some firms are expanding their reach by taking help of technology. Many law schools are members of Law School Connect, a videoconferencing network that links firms and schools for live interviews. Despite this, law firms face the tricky situation of prevailing high attrition rate in the profession. Revamping hiring methods in law jobs not only ensures a secure position for a law school student but also allows the associates a greater job security.

Foley & Lardner reviews usage of moniker and marketing material
In the wake of a trademark infringement dispute between Boston-based Foley Hoag and Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner, the latter has begun reviewing its short name and marketing material. This development was in direct result of the settlement between the two firms that prompted a U.S. federal district court to dismiss the case. As part of the settlement agreement, Foley & Lardner is considering changes to its abbreviated name (currently Foley) and marketing material.

As reported by thelawyer.com, Foley Hoag earlier alleged that the usage of the term "Foley" by Foley & Lardner creates confusion and gives an impression of mistaken identity. As a result, Foley Hoag sued Foley & Lardner last October. It is noteworthy that earlier, in 2004, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Foley & Lardner's request to trademark 'Foley' as its abbreviated name because it could cause confusion with Foley Hoag, which adopted this brand name in 2002. The firm therefore continued to use the word.

Lowenstein Sandler rated as Lead Investors in PIPEs
Lowenstein Sandler PC has found a place among the leading five law firms for total number of Private Investments in Public Equity (PIPEs) transactions advised through the second quarter of 2006. In a survey, research firm PrivateRaise.com, allotted a no. 2 rating to the firm's specialty finance group, which represented lead investors in deals that raised more than $10 million. The law firm attributes this success to the growing capital finance market, coupled with attorneys of the specialty finance group that acted as placement agents in the investment banks, involved in more than fifteen PIPE and Registered Direct transactions in 2006 worth $300 million.

The specialty finance group is associated with the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASDAQ, Amex, and the NASD and has helped issuers with primary and secondary underwritten offerings of high value, during this period. Lowenstein Sandler PC received the Chambers USA Guide rating as the top law firm in the country for litigation, corporate, and environmental law practices. With more than 245 attorneys spread across offices in New York and New Jersey, the firm provides a full range of legal services to business and industry.


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