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Who had an impact in 2002? Who really had an impact? In the 19 articles in this Special Section, the editors and reporters of Legal Times have made value judgments and choices in distilling the year. The kind of people we were looking for turn up in many guises — famous and relatively obscure; headline makers and those who shift the legal landscape in significant but little-noticed ways; individuals at work in courts, at law firms, within federal agencies, and toiling on their own to spur change. There’s Larry Thompson, the deputy attorney general. It’s always a job of sprawling responsibility, but in this age of security anxiety and corporate corruption, dusting Main Justice for Thompson’s fingerprints seemed a particularly useful exercise. Similarly, we looked past Harvey Pitt to find a couple of other gentlemen who left their mark on the Securities and Exchange Commission — and at Richard Painter, the law professor from nowhere whom corporate lawyers can thank for the Sarbanes-Oxley provisions aimed at them. Speaking of Sarbanes-Oxley, consider Vinson & Elkins: Fair or not, the firm became the whipping boy for politicians looking to finger some lawyers for the Enron fiasco. In more depressing news: It was a year that murder reigned in the D.C. area — with snipers on the front page and “traditional” homicides on the rise. There’s the good, too: We found D.C. Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield, working hard and fast to reform Family Court. There’s the weird: 9/11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui teaching the world a lesson in the rights of the accused. And the solemn: A couple of federal judges reminding us all that the judiciary is a necessary check on the executive. Lastly, we remember Robert Carter Jr., a partner and leader at McKenna Long & Aldridge who died on Sept. 19 at age 37, less than a year after his diagnosis. I didn’t know the man, but my heart goes out to the people he left behind. Death is not supposed to come so early. –Richard Barbieri, Editor in Chief

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