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11/07/06

Jenner & Block strengthens communications network


Law firm Jenner & Block signed a three-year contract with telecom giant AT&T, which will provide the firm with Business Network (ABN) integrated services, as well as a Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) service. The move will help the firm enhance connectivity among its offices and secure the confidentiality of its data. The ABN solution combines Internet, local, long distance, and international voice services into a single package offered at a discounted rate. It will also enable customers to make service changes and check network performance online. AT&T's MPLS service creates a virtual private network in order to protect data. It also provides a disaster-recovery feature and facilitates migration to Voice over IP (VoIP) service. With more than 400 attorneys, Jenner & Block focuses on corporate transactions and litigation; the firm has offices in Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington, DC.

Courtroom takes the high-tech route
Paper documents and blackboards in courtrooms are quickly being replaced with the latest technology, including Elmo video projectors, flat-screen monitors, and Sanction II evidence presentation software. In Miami, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently switched to an electronic case filing system, while the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., Federal Courthouse, which is under construction, is slated to implement evidence presentation systems, DVD playback options, teleconferencing features, and videoconferencing features. Traditionally, lawyers have been wary of using high-tech gadgets in courtrooms out of the fear that something might go wrong during a trial. However, as more and more attorneys are successfully utilizing these devices in their practices, they are now willing to utilize them in the courts, too. Improved technology also helps judges speed up the trial process, as it can allow them to better understand the evidence being presented.

Memphis Bar Association offers seminar on legal technology
For the benefit of legal professionals, the Memphis Bar Association is organizing a seminar entitled "Current Developments in Legal Technology and Practice Strategy." The meeting will feature a presentation by Mark Vorder-Bruegge, Partner in Charge of Technology at Louisville-based Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, on the latest developments in legal technology. Among other topics, there will be a discussion on how law firms can recruit and retain competent attorneys, as well as a talk on strategic planning for law firms. To be held on Friday, November 10 at the offices of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, in East Memphis, the seminar will be limited to the first 30 people who sign up.

Jones Day adds IT and outsourcing specialist in London
Jonathon Little has been appointed Partner in the London office of international law firm Jones Day. An IT and outsourcing lawyer, Little comes from Simmons & Simmons, where he was a partner. Little has expertise in advising clients on business process outsourcing and technology transactions and has 13 years of experience in the field. He is the second such addition to the firm; his appointment follows the appointment of Mark Taylor, an outsourcing and TUPE specialist. This move highlights the increase in demand for legal work related to outsourcing, an area in which Jones Day apparently plans to expand.

Mayer Brown restructures top management
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, LLP, has announced the creation of an Office of the Chairman, which will replace current Chairman Ty Fahner, who will step down in spring of 2007. The firm's policy and planning committee selected the new team, which includes James D. Holzhauer (Chairman, Chicago and New York), Kenneth S. Geller (Vice Chairman, Washington, DC), and Paul Maher (Vice Chairman, London). The leaders will divide their time among the various offices and will retain offices in New York, Chicago, and London. The new team will take office on June 1, 2007. The firm envisions that the restructuring will provide leverage for further growth in the international market. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw is an international law firm with a strength of 1,400 attorneys. It is one of the largest law firms in the world, with U.S. offices in Chicago, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, and Washington, DC.

21 Shumacker Witt lawyers move to Husch & Eppenberger
21 lawyers from Chattanooga, TN-based Shumacker, Witt, Gaither & Whitaker, PC, have moved to Husch & Eppenberger, LLC's Chattanooga office, bringing the total number of lawyers in the office to 39. The new additions will strengthen the firm's real estate, finance, commercial lending, and corporate transactions areas. Established in 1922, Husch & Eppenberger is a full-service law firm with additional offices in Kansas City, Jefferson City, Springfield, Memphis, Nashville, Peoria, and St. Louis. The firm specializes in litigation, dispute resolution, business transactions, and private client services. Its clients include financial institutions, charitable and governmental organizations, and private individuals.

Holland & Knight relocates staff
Holland & Knight is planning to move 55 members of its administrative staff from its Harden Blvd. office in Lakeland, FL, to its Tampa office by April of next year. The Lakeland office will continue to operate and will be run by nine attorneys and supported by a 13-member staff. A few months back, the firm closed offices in Bradenton and St. Petersburg, FL, moving their staff to the Tampa office. It also closed its Lake Wire Drive, Lakeland, office at that time and relocated approximately 20 attorneys and staff members to the Harden Blvd. office. Although the firm is concentrating its practice in big cities, the Lakeland office is likely to continue operations for a few more years. With a strength of 1,150 attorneys, Holland & Knight is one of the largest law firms in the United States.

Fisher & Phillips adds labor specialist
Alva Cross, Esq., has joined Fisher & Phillips, LLP, as an associate in the firm's Tampa office. Cross will primarily work on labor and employment law cases but will also participate in the firm's African-American Business Practice Group (AABPG), which serves the labor and employment law requirements of African-American business owners and operators. Cross, who comes from Phelps Dunbar, LLP, was awarded the Florida Bar Labor and Employment Law Section Dean W. Gary Vause Award for outstanding scholarship while studying at Stetson University. A major law firm in the area of labor and employment law, Fisher & Phillips, LLP, has more than 200 attorneys in 16 offices.

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