Perkins Coie Hires Arbitration Co-Head: Business of Law

Perkins Coie LLP said Paul H. Cohen joined the New York office as a partner in the commercial litigation practice. He was most recently a partner at Thompson & Knight LLP in New York.

Cohen, who represents clients in international arbitration matters, will be co-chairman of the firm’s international arbitration sub-group, along with Seattle partner Steve Koh.

“Paul is an accomplished international arbitration practitioner with an incredible amount of experience around the world,” Schuyler Carroll, managing partner of the New York office, said in a statement.

Partner Moves

Littler Enhances Latin America Practice With Renata Neeser

Littler Mendelson PC added Renata Neeser, an employment lawyer licensed in Brazil and the U.S., as a shareholder in New York. She was previously an attorney in White & Case LLP’s international labor and employment practice.

“We have a strong footprint in Latin America and are continuing to grow the firm’s presence in the region,” Peter Susser, chairman of the international employment law practice group, said in a statement. “Having an experienced, licensed practitioner from Brazil will further enhance Littler’s capabilities to serve multinational employers throughout the Latin American countries.”

Data Privacy and Security Litigator Joins Reed Smith

Reed Smith LLP announced that Divonne Smoyer is joining the firm as a partner in Washington, where she will be a member of the global regulatory enforcement group. She was formerly a partner in the state attorneys general practice at Dickstein Shapiro LLP in Washington.

IP Litigator Elliott Joins WilmerHale in Washington

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP added Tara D. Elliott as a partner in the intellectual property litigation group in Washington. She was a principal at Fish & Richardson.

K&L Gates Expands Intellectual Property Practice in Washington

K&L Gates LLP hired Michael G. Verga, formerly of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, as a partner in the IP procurement and portfolio management practice in Washington.

Verga has almost 25 years of experience in IP law, both in-house and through private practice. He focuses on the strategic development and enforcement of intellectual property portfolios, including patent application drafting and prosecution, due diligence and licensing in the electrical, software, computer and mechanical-technology fields, the firm said.


Dead Madoff Executive Is to Blame for Deception, Lawyer Says

Bernard Madoff’s former chief information officer, who died months before the con man’s arrest, was responsible for the company’s deceptive computer code and related projects, not two ex-programmers on trial, a defense lawyer told jurors.

Liz Weintraub, the former boss of defendants Jerome O’Hara and George Perez, helped write and develop Madoff’s computer code more than a decade before the men were hired and oversaw programs to create fake reports and delete company e-mails as Madoff’s $17 billion Ponzi scheme grew, the lawyer, Gordon Mehler, said in his closing argument yesterday in the trial of five former Madoff aides.

“Her presence has invaded these proceedings like a ghost,” Mehler said in Manhattan federal court. “Maybe it’s true one should never speak ill of the dead, but that’s Liz Weintraub.” Weintraub died in February 2008, 10 months before the firm’s collapse.

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Firm News

Quarles & Brady Selects New Milwaukee Office Managing Partner

Kathryn M. Buono, a corporate services practice group partner, was selected as the new Milwaukee office managing partner for Quarles & Brady LLP.

She succeeds Ann M. Murphy, who led the office for 12 years and will continue her commercial lending and public finance practice full-time.

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