Thursday, March 10, 2011

San Leandro Law Firm Awarded $700,000 by California Stem Cell Agency

The California stem cell agency today approved on a voice vote a 32 percent increase($160,000) in fees this year for Remcho, Johansen & Purcell of San Leandro, Ca., for its work as outside counsel for the agency. Also approved was a $545,000 contract for 2011-12.

The firm, principally through James Harrison, has represented CIRM since 2004. Harrison is one of the five attorneys who drafted the ballot initiative that created the agency. A CIRM memo said the $350 per hour rates for partners and $265 per hour rates for associates at the firm are "significantly lower than the market rates for firms with similar expertise."

The memo presented to the board today did not explain why additional funds were needed this year. Nor did it give provide an overall figure for the current contract. A CIRM document from last June reported that Remcho was slated originally to be paid $475,000 this year.

CIRM staff reported the $475,000 figure during the meeting after being asked for it by Director Ted Love, a biotech industry executive. The board was also told that an increased workload generated the need for the 32 percent increase in the Remcho contract this year.

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