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KEY LAWYERS DEFECT FROM ARENT FOX As of April 4, William Sarraille was still listed on the Web site of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, even though the health care lawyer — like a number of colleagues from his old firm — already had a new employer. It’s not surprising if Arent Fox is struggling to keep its attorney roster up to date. In the past week, four senior lawyers from different practice groups have bolted, leaving the firm with roughly 200 lawyers in the District. Sarraille, who was a partner at Arent Fox, joined Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in the District. Former managing partner and antitrust specialist Christopher “Kit” Smith and tax law partner D. Jeffrey Disbrow went to the D.C. office of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, as did of counsel Stephen Gibson, an international specialist. All decline comment. The moves follow a series of exits from Arent Fox over the last year by lawyers seeking deeper and broader platforms. With the departure of Smith, who managed the firm from 1997 to 2002, and the defection last spring of hiring partner Elliott Portnoy — also to Sonnenschein — Arent Fox has lost two executive committee members in less than 12 months. And H. Van Sinclair, longtime counsel to BET founder Robert Johnson, resigned his partnership with the firm in February to serve as president of Johnson’s holding company. Sinclair retains the title “of counsel” at Arent Fox. One D.C. legal recruiter predicts even more departures, noting that he met with three of the firm’s partners in a single day last week to discuss lateral moves. They are part of an “outbound momentum” that, despite improved profitability in 2002, doesn’t bode well for the homegrown D.C. firm, says the recruiter. Arent Fox managing partner William Charyk concedes that the attorneys who left last week took with them enviable books of business. Still, he says, he is confident the firm can attract enough laterals to shore up practice groups like antitrust, health care, and tax and finance. Since January, the firm has brought on five partners, one counsel, and five associates. Seven more lawyers will start in April, the firm says. The additions are welcome after Thelen Reid & Priest scooped nine partners from Arent Fox’s finance, construction, and commercial litigation groups last spring, and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey successfully wooed five of the firm’s IP lawyers. After merger talks with Pepper Hamilton and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton ended, the firm has had a year of what Charyk calls self-imposed austerity, quietly stripping some less profitable partners of equity status and shedding others, he says. Now, Charyk continues, the firm will return to more generous compensation and a new strategic vision. Each practice group is undertaking a “sober analysis” of its skills, he says, with the focus on buttressing a few specific areas rather than geographic expansion. — Lily Henning BEST’S NEW ADDRESS Stephen Best, who rattled the white shoe legal community last month with his scathing report on how Simpson Thacher & Bartlett handled an internal investigation at Global Crossing Ltd., has moved to a new firm. Best, 38, investigated and drafted the report for a committee of the Global Crossing board as a D.C. partner at Coudert Brothers. Now he has signed on as a partner in the D.C. office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. He says his move is unrelated to the furor over the Global Crossing report. LeBoeuf “made me head of the practice group” that handles white collar investigations, he says. “It was an unparalleled opportunity.” Tara Giunta, the managing partner of Coudert’s D.C. office, did not respond to a request for comment. — Otis Bilodeau SORRY ABOUT THAT Pillsbury Winthrop has settled a $45 million defamation suit brought against it by former partner Frode Jensen. According to a statement released last week by Stanley Arkin, a New York attorney representing Jensen, the two sides have agreed to settle litigation pending in Connecticut Superior Court. The terms of the deal, including any financial payments, are confidential. The announcement also contained a four-sentence statement by Pillsbury Winthrop in which the firm recants its previous public statements regarding Jensen and calls him “one of the firm’s most productive corporate partners.” In September, Pillsbury stunned the legal community when chair Mary Cranston and managing partner Marina Park issued a press release disparaging Jensen, a corporate partner in the firm’s Stamford, Conn., office who had moved to Latham & Watkins. — Alexei Oreskovic, The Recorder MOVING UP (AND DOWN) THE RANKS Both universally reviled and universally read, the U.S. News & World Report annual law school rankings were released last week. Area law schools held steady, with two exceptions: George Mason University School of Law rose from 47 to 40 on the list and American University Washington College of Law fell to 55 and back into the second tier after making it into the top 50 last year for the first time. But AU Dean Claudio Grossman notes that his school “is not driven by commercial rankings,” which are “best taken with a grain of salt.” Georgetown University stayed at 14 in the overall rankings, George Washington moved up a bit from 25 to 22. The University of Virginia fell slightly from 7 to 9. And Howard University held steady in the third tier after a welcome move from the fourth tier in 2002. The University of Maryland climbed back into the top tier at 45, and Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law moved into the second tier, at 84. The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clark School of Law did not return the forms and was not listed. Adding a twist to its rankings, U.S. News introduced a diversity index this year in an effort to measure schools’ success in building heterogeneous student bodies. George Washington did the best of the area schools with a score of .49 out of a possible 1.0. George Mason, with a .20, had the lowest local score, and Howard, with a predominantly African-American student body, scored just .22, because 88 percent of its students are from a single ethnic group. — Siobhan Roth BOARD GAMES Global Crossing Ltd. has struggled for weeks to win U.S. approval of its planned sale to two foreign investors. Its proposed sale to Hong Kong’s Hutchison-Whampoa Ltd. and Singapore Technologies Telemedia Ltd. has been stalled by U.S. defense and law enforcement officials who contend that the purchase of Global Crossing’s international telecommunications network could threaten U.S. security. Now Global Crossing and its would-be acquirers have offered to install former Secretary of Defense James Schlessinger and other prominent U.S. citizens on the company’s board in an effort to assuage regulators’ concerns about the deal’s national security implications, say three sources close to the company’s talks with the government. Along with Schlessinger, others who agreed to serve in this role include David Komansky, the outgoing chairman of Merrill Lynch & Co.; Daniel Evans, the former Washington state governor and U.S. senator; and Jeremiah Lambert, the current chair of the special committee of Global Crossing’s board, according to these sources. Spokespeople for Global Crossing and Hutchison-Whampoa had no immediate comment. A spokesman for Singapore declined comment. Meanwhile, Richard Perle, who Global Crossing hired in March as an adviser to help push the deal through, formally dropped Global Crossing as a client on March 27, according to a resignation letter from Perle provided by the company. Perle’s work for Global Crossing drew fire because of his role as chairman of a private sector group that advises Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Perle has since resigned as chairman of that group. — Otis Bilodeau HOWREY STEALS THE SHOW In a $91 million save, an antitrust team from Howrey Simon Arnold & White gutted a verdict from a Philadelphia federal jury, using post-trial motions to reduce the award from $104.5 million to $13 million. Howrey partners John Briggs, James Rill, James Kress, and of counsel Kenneth Donnelly were brought on by Checkpoint Systems Inc. after the jury found the company guilty of attempted monopolization and conspiracy to monopolize the market for supplying tags used in shoplifter detection. The Howrey team convinced U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno that plaintiff ID Security Systems Canada Inc. failed to prove the existence of the “relevant market” that was central to its theory of the case. In a 167-page March 28 decision, Robreno knocked out the jury’s $85.5 million monopolization findings and shaved another $6 million due to “the speculative nature of the expert testimony” on damages. “The Howrey team dropped everything and gave up their normal lives to bring about this wonderful result,” says Checkpoint CEO George Off. “We could not be more pleased with the firm.” — Jenna Greene MOBBS SCENE In recent weeks, Pentagon adviser Michael Mobbs has shot from behind-the-scenes obscurity to the front lines of Iraq policy and is now slated to oversee 11 out of 23 Iraqi civil ministries after the war. But Mobbs, 54, has long been known within the Washington legal community. He has worked for Feith & Zell; Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; and Ludwig & Robinson in the District as well as the Moscow outposts of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and McDermott, Will & Emery. His name started peppering the public conversation last year when he submitted declarations in the cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi, two U.S. citizens being held as enemy combatants in military jails. Mobbs stated that the executive branch had wartime authority to designate the men as enemy combatants and hold them without the oversight of the courts. — Siobhan Roth A TRAGIC LOSS The D.C. office of McDermott, Will & Emery suffered a tragic loss last week when partner Jeanne Carpenter died of an aneurysm while vacationing in California. Carpenter, 50, counseled clients on antitrust, trade regulations, and federal consumer protection laws. Colleagues say Carpenter was an expert in her field and generously shared her expertise with others at the firm. Prior to joining McDermott, Will in 1984, she was a partner at D.C.’s Peabody, Lambert & Meyers. Carpenter, who suffered from epilepsy, was a past president and a member of the board of directors of the Epilepsy Foundation. She is survived by her husband, Timothy Waters, the managing partner of McDermott, Will’s D.C. office. — Tom Schoenberg

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