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.


According to Ellis, New World was attempting to introduce its video-on-demand technology in the United States through Fremont-based Prediwave Corp. The suit alleges that Prediwave failed to deliver its set-top boxes, which were needed to disseminate New World's technology.


The writ sets aside $117 million in Prediware's bank account for immediate payment to New World if the Hong Kong firm prevails in the June 19 trial in Santa Clara County. The total amount New World is seeking from Prediwave is $700 million, remuneration for investments and purchases.


Prediwave did not return calls seeking comment.


Suit Unplugged
A major class action lawsuit accusing a Texas business services firm of helping Enron in the alleged manipulation of California's electricity market has been dismissed.


The ruling is a victory for L.A. law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP, which has been representing Perot Systems Corp. since 2002.


Last week the Northern District of Texas granted Perot Systems' motion to dismiss with prejudice.


The ruling was the third consecutive victory for McDermott in its representation of the Plano-based firm founded by the one-time presidential candidate Ross Perot.


All of the victories came in cases arising from allegations of energy market manipulation.


The all-Los Angeles team representing Perot throughout the entire litigation included local partner-in-charge Gordon Greenberg, recently retired partner Stephen Kroft and partners Rich Frey, Dan Chammas and Francisca Mok.


Movers and Shakers
The notoriety from partner Bert Fields' involvement in the ongoing Anthony Pelicano case may be taking a toll on Greenberg Glusker. The firm's Shai N. Halbe is leaving to become a shareholder in the real estate group at Heller Ehrman LLP. It has also been widely speculated that name partner Dale F. Kinsella and partner Howard L. Weitzman will leave and take seven attorneys with them in mid-April.


John P. Stigi III has joined Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the business trial practice group from the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C.


Seyfarth Shaw LLP has promoted Geoffrey Long to a partnership in its litigation group Michael H. Starler, who represented high net worth individuals and closely held businesses, is joining Greenberg Traurig as of counsel to its tax group.


William J. Birney has joined Kennerly Lamishaw & Rossi LLP as an associate. He was previously a general counsel at Bentley-Forbes Group Inc., a privately held real-estate investment firm.


*Staff reporter Emily Bryson York can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235, or at eyork@labusinessjournal.com .

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