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23 Districts Improperly Report Attorneys
Blog News | 2008/03/31 14:38

Twenty-three school districts - nearly one-fifth of all the school districts on Long Island - improperly reported private attorneys as employees, which helped the attorneys earn public pensions totaling more than $342,082 a year, plus health benefits worth thousands more, a Newsday review of records has found.

In some cases, a town, village, library, special district or county also reported the attorneys as employees, often as full time, even though records show they did not always work full time. By being reported as employees at these other agencies while also working in private practice, they were able to enhance the size of their state pensions.

The employment arrangements - some of which started in the early 1970s and continue to this day - enabled a select group of 10 attorneys to garner generous public benefits, even as they earned millions in legal fees as well, state and school district records show. Three of the 10 have not yet begun receiving their pension.

Among the attorneys is one currently collecting a six-figure public pension; another is a Nassau County legislator. Although most of the attorneys declined to comment, those who did speak with a reporter said they were following previous practice when they got onto the public and school district payrolls. Two recently changed their status from employee to independent contractor.

The issue of independent contractors being treated as employees so they could obtain public benefits has been called into question after Newsday reported on the case of Centerport attorney Lawrence Reich. Five school districts falsely reported him as a full-time employee, enabling him to collect a pension of nearly $62,000 and health benefits for life.

About three weeks ago, the state comptroller's office found that Reich did not meet the standards used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether someone is an employee. As a result, he must pay back the pension he has been collecting since September 2006.

The FBI, IRS and New York attorney general's office all have launched investigations of lawyers being carried as employees by school districts.



Herbies Promotes Record Number of Partners
Blog News | 2008/03/28 15:45
Herbert Smith has made up a record 18 associates to the partnership and a third of them are women.

The bulk of the promotions were made around the firm's international network with just eight of the 18 based in the London office. As last year, when the firm made up a total of 10, the corporate practice gained the highest number of new partners at seven. Litigation and arbitration has gained five new partners while finance and real estate will receive two new partners apiece and employment and competition each gain one.

Senior partner David Gold said the geographic and departmental splits had been very deliberate. "This year's promotions will support two of our key strategic priorities, namely strengthening our international capability and further developing the distinctive breadth and balance of our practice," he added. "Both are pivotal to our ability to support clients and maintain high activity levels across the range of economic cycles."

In terms of offices, after London, Paris has gained four new partners while Hong Kong and Tokyo have each gained two and Beijing and Brussels have gained one each. This is a big shift in strategy from last year's promotions when Hong Kong received one internal promotion with the remaining nine going to the London office.



Diana Sen Selected as Regional Finalist
Blog News | 2008/03/27 15:45

The White House yesterday announced that Diana Sen (NY Litigation) has been selected as one of 97 Regional Finalists across the country for the White House Fellows Program. Founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the program offers exceptional men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the Federal government. Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career, evidence of leadership potential, a proven commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the Federal government.

During March and April 2008, Regional Finalists participate in a rigorous interview process. Based on the results of the interviews, approximately thirty candidates will be named National Finalists. The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships will interview the National Finalists in June 2008 and then recommend candidates to President George W. Bush for a one year appointment as White House Fellows.

Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields including Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, United Nations Foundation President and Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, U.S. Senator Samuel Brownback and Marshall Carter, Chairman, New York Stock Exchange.




Sidley Austin Expands with Addition of Six
Blog News | 2008/03/26 16:20
Chicago – Sidley Austin LLP announced that sixlawyers will join the firm in Chicago in the private equity practice.These lawyers, S. Michael (Sy) Peck, Jeffrey Smith, Roger Wilen, DirkAndringa, Alexis Cooper and Nancy Kasko, will integrate theirsignificant experience representing private equity sponsors and theirportfolio companies with Sidley’s well established M&A andsecurities practices and expanding private equity practice.

“Theseare six exceptionally talented and successful lawyers in the privateequity arena and they will make valuable contributions to our privateequity team,” said Fred Lowinger, co-head of the firm’s M&A andPrivate Equity practice. “Our new colleagues will be an integral partof our efforts to expand the scope and depth of our services to theprivate equity community.”

“Sidley offers us the idealplatform to grow our practice in all areas of private equity,” saidPeck. “Sidley is already recognized as global leader in so many areas,including M&A, capital markets, financing, corporate governance andhedge funds. Their global private equity practice is extremely activeand we are thrilled to not only be a part of this, but to add a newdimension of experience to an already substantial practice.”

Thesesix new private equity lawyers have extensive experience in a widerange of complex corporate transactions, including LBOs, equityinvestments, add-on acquisitions, divestitures, public offerings,recapitalizations and restructurings.


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