Breach of contract and real estate cases are the specialty of Elizabeth Camacho, an associate at Irell & Manella LLP. She's doing some of her best work of late pro bono in an entirely different arena.

The bilingual attorney has been helping Spanish-speaking foster families finalize the adoption of children in their care.

Camacho finalized 11 adoptions in 2005 and already completed five in the first months of 2006.

"I feel like it's my responsibility as someone who has access to the legal system to offer my services to someone who has less of a voice," she said, "and it's hard to think of anyone who has less of a voice than children, particularly foster children."

Camacho, who has three of her own children, sees herself as "a small but critical part of a long process that's vital for these children."

Camacho's work is in association with the Foster Children's Adoption Project of the Alliance for Children's Rights, a legal organization that provides free legal services to protect abused and impoverished children in Los Angeles County.

The Alliance was founded in 1999 with the help of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. They've been involved in 10,000 adoptions since.

Camacho isn't the only Irell attorney involved with the adoptions. Partner Steve Marenberg is president of the Alliance and the firm is planning a summer adoption project group.

The Alliance has attorneys all over town working for them. On April 21, attorneys from Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP and Munger Tolles & Olson LLP will work with Southwestern Law School students to complete about 50 adoptions.

The Alliance hopes to complete about 100 adoptions this summer, working with a variety of firms.

Trade Tangles
With China and other Asian countries increasing their imports of technology and other goods to the United States, a new wave of complex legal battles could be in the offing.

"As China becomes more and more commercialized, this is going to be something that American courts will have to deal with," said Dennis Ellis of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. "Companies in Hong Kong and Mainland China will be working with and getting in disputes with American companies and seek resources from U.S. courts for relief."

Ellis recently led a team that obtained a $117 million writ of attachment on behalf New World Tmt Ltd., a media and technology company based in Hong Kong.


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