Irell & Manella LLP has a tradition of hiring young associates and grooming them for the firm’s partnership ranks – whether they stay in-house or go into the public sector and return.

So when Marshall Camp left the Century City firm in 2005 to become an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, it was almost preordained that he’d be back.

Irell announced last week that Camp rejoined the firm after his four-year stint prosecuting drug and securities cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Camp said he opted to return to Irell because the firm has boosted its profile with the likes of former Enron prosecutor John Hueston.

“When I heard about the firm adding John Hueston to the partnership, it was a signal that white collar was really part of the future plans for the firm,” Camp said. “My experience as a prosecutor would be useful.”

In the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Camp prosecuted South American drug traffickers and worked on the federal government’s case against an Afghan drug lord with ties to the Taliban.

At Irell, he will handle white-collar criminal matters, international investigations and complex commercial litigation. The firm is known for high-profile cases, and is currently representing former Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo against charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

Elliot Brown, Irell’s managing partner, said the firm is looking for attorneys like Camp.

“Attorneys who come with the experience of being prosecutors can supply expertise in white-collar matters, and enhance our overall litigation capability,” Brown said.

Public Interest

The number of Angelenos who need free legal services has increased dramatically as a result of the economic downturn.

As a result, L.A.-based pro bono public interest law firm Public Counsel is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of low-income families, non-profits and small businesses looking for help on numerous issues, including loan modifications and foreclosures, bankruptcy filings and civil rights violations.

“The client need has skyrocketed in a few areas,” said Public Counsel Chief Executive Hernan Vera. “Foreclosures are up 1,000 percent in some neighborhoods, and our hotline is overwhelmed with homeowners who are in foreclosure and have gone to loan modifications shops and been ripped off.”

Faced with the growing demand, Public Counsel added attorney Catherine Lhamon to its roster two weeks ago and created a new position for her as director of impact litigation.

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