The Los Angeles office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is going beyond the traditional party and cake for its 25th anniversary celebration in 2008.


The firm is sponsoring the creation of an art show, called "LA25."


"We did a lot of brainstorming internally to come up with something that wasn't just celebratory, but also a way to make contribution to the future of the city," said Harold Williams, of counsel at Skadden and president emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Trust. He's overseeing the project.


The firm has assembled a jury that will select local artists for the show over the next three years to be exhibited at the Hammer Museum. The jury includes Weston Naef, curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Ann Philbin, the Hammer Museum's director, and Paul Schimmel, the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Most of the artists will be selected from programs at California Institute of the Arts, the Otis Art Institute, Pasadena Art Center College of Design, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UCLA and USC. The jury has already selected nine of the 25 artists, who cannot have had previous gallery representation before their selection.


"These artists are at a point in their careers when they're trying to make a breakthrough," Williams said. "They've gotten their education and developed their artistic capabilities, but they've got to get recognized in some fashion. It's a critical point in the career of a young artist."


The first group all uses photography in their work. The honorees are: Patterson Beckwith, Matthew Jordan, Elad Lassry, Jos & #233; Alvaro Perdices, Jeff Sheng, Natalie Shriver, Whitney Stolich, Lee Thompson, and Brenna Youngblood.


So Sonar
Senior Irell & Manella LLP litigation partner Richard Kendall may have saved the whales and the dolphins and seals with his pro bono work for the Natural Resources Defense Council of Santa Monica.


Kendall, the NRDC and other environmental groups went to court in an attempt to stop the U.S. Navy from using extensive sonar testing in waters in Hawaii known for large concentrations of marine mammals without taking extra precautions. Studies have demonstrated that sonar can be stressful to whales, dolphins and other deep-water mammals, all of which have extremely sensitive hearing.


The settlement, approved by the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles, requires new safeguards for marine mammals, including a sonar-free buffer zone around the Marine National Monument, and significantly increased monitoring for marine mammals during sonar drills.


Kendall first represented the NRDC in a 1994 case against the Navy to stop sonar testing off the Channel Islands, which are in the path of whales migration from Alaska to Mexico. He sued the Navy under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the resulting settlement created precedents for protection.


"This will force the Navy to take every reasonable step to reduce or eliminate harm to whales in its future uses of sonar," Kendall said. "I think it's very important that we fight for the principle that the military is not above the law, and I think we've seen how important that is in recent events." Navy officials directly involved in the case couldn't be reached for comment.


Kendall said he's interested in working on litigation relating to global warming and acid rain. He's also monitoring cases now in which the auto industry is suing the state of California for maintaining higher emissions standards than the federal government's and another on the East Coast that will determine whether manufacturers can be held responsible for the consequences when acid rain-producing chemicals are released into the atmosphere.


"I would like to think of myself as an environmental activist lawyer," Kendall said. "But I have a ways to go to earn my stripes."


Life Balance
As firms nationwide are struggling to retain women who want to have families, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP is touting its Balanced Hours Program, launched last winter.


Any lawyer in the firm's U.S. offices is eligible for the program, regardless of tenure. Participants work with firm leaders and administrators to develop "pragmatic solutions," such as telecommuting, flexible hours and variable workloads.


"Our Balanced Hours Program places the interests of clients first, but also acknowledges the highly responsible roles our lawyers have outside of the office," said Jeannine Rupp, firm director of professional and personal life integration. "Our program is unique not only because of its scope, but also because we have a dedicated team responsible for implementing the program's various features, including coaching, training and networking."


Obviously, it makes the firm more attractive to potential employees.


Around Town
Regina "Ginger" Covitt has joined Loeb & Loeb LLP as a partner in the Tax and Wealth Services Department. She specializes in tax and estate planning, trust and estate administration, and charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations. Lawyers Stuart Tobisman and Leah Bishop also joined Loeb after decades at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. They now lead the firm's tax and wealth services department. Thomas A. Lenz, a partner with Atkinson Andelson Loya Ruud & Romo, was named to the list of "Top One Hundred Labor Attorneys in the United States for 2006," compiled by Labor Relations Institute Inc.


Rajnish Puri has joined the M & A; practice at Clark & Trevithick P.C.


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

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