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PITT RETURNS TO D.C. SCENE AS CONSULTANT Harvey Pitt is back. The erstwhile chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and longtime leader within the private securities bar has embarked on a new consulting venture, several sources close to Pitt confirm. Dubbed Kalorama Partners LLC, and based in Washington, Pitt’s new consultancy is still in a formative stage, some of these sources say, although they note that Pitt has already been retained by at least two clients. The name of the venture appears to be a reference to the tony Kalorama section of the District, where Pitt owns a home. Pitt is expected to bring in a few partners, two sources familiar with the matter say, including Terry Lenzner, chairman of D.C.-based private investigation firm Investigative Group International Inc. Lenzner’s firm conducts, among other services, internal investigations of potential fraud within companies and other organizations, such as nonprofits. Pitt declined to comment on the matter, other than to say, “There are a number of things I want to do. I’ll probably be doing some teaching, and I am interested in setting up a consulting firm, which I’m in the process of doing.” Lenzner, who is a lawyer, did not reply to two requests for comment. It’s unclear what types of services Pitt’s consultancy will offer, and to whom. But people close to Pitt, including several former SEC officials, say they expect he’ll offer guidance to large corporations on corporate governance and crisis management. Before he resigned as SEC chairman in November, Pitt stated publicly on several occasions that he did not wish to return to the practice of law. He had been a longtime partner and rainmaker in the D.C. office of New York’s Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson before he signed on as SEC chairman in August 2001. Pitt’s brief and tumultuous tenure at the helm of the SEC ended earlier this year after a mini-scandal ensnared William Webster, Pitt’s nominee to head up the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. That debacle and the vitriol of his many critics while he was in office may have tarnished Pitt’s public image. But securities experts say he’s still likely to be viewed by sophisticated corporate players as a valuable behind-the-scenes counselor — particularly on the host of new corporate reform rules the SEC issued under his leadership. “Harvey has clearly got the qualifications and the profile to offer strategic advice in the way that Henry Kissinger does,” says James Doty, a D.C. securities partner at Baker Botts and former SEC general counsel. For consultants at that level, he adds, “blue-chip clients pay substantial, handsome retainers.” — Otis Bilodeau BENCHED After an 11-year odyssey, Hogan & Hartson partner John Roberts Jr. was finally confirmed by the Senate on May 8 for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. First nominated by the first President Bush in 1992 and renominated two years ago, Roberts leaves big shoes to fill at Hogan. In the last 10 years, he argued 19 cases before the Supreme Court — twice as many as the rest of Hogan’s appellate group combined. Firm partner Jonathan Franklin says Hogan remains “committed to the appellate practice, and our group has many other talented attorneys.” Last December, in a rare show of unity, dozens of Supreme Court advocates and top D.C. lawyers wrote Senate leaders calling Roberts “one of the very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation, with a deserved reputation as a brilliant writer and oral advocate.” — Vanessa Blum and Tony Mauro DOING THE LIMBO The fight over Miguel Estrada goes on and on. On May 8, Senate Democrats for the sixth time blocked a bid to end floor debate on the D.C. Circuit nominee. The White House continues to stand behind Estrada, but with the Democratic filibuster going strong, Republicans familiar with the nomination process say talk is beginning about a possible replacement for the nominee. Sources caution that Estrada’s withdrawal is far from imminent, but the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner is said by one GOP lawyer to be tired of having his nomination hang in limbo. One name being floated for the vacancy is that of Associate White House Counsel Brett Kavanaugh, 38. Kavanaugh, a Maryland resident and former associate independent counsel to Kenneth Starr, was considered earlier for a 4th Circuit seat but failed to get approval from his state’s Democratic senators. Kavanaugh did not return a call. Jonathan Groner GOOD SPORT D.C. lawyer James Tanner Jr. takes his place alongside the likes of Michael Jordan and Venus Williams in Sports Illustrated‘s list of the 101 most influential minorities in sports. In its May 5 issue, the magazine ranks the Williams & Connolly partner at #78. Tanner, who works with Williams & Connolly’s sports law pioneer Lon Babby, represents professional athletes such as basketball players Tim Duncan and Chamique Holdsclaw in contracts both on and off the court. While Tanner shares the list with a few other lawyers, including Johnnie Cochran (#68), the 34-year-old says he and the firm are unusual in the world of sports agents because they bill by the hour. “We are agents in the context of a law firm. We bill [athletes] like clients,” he says. Agents can reap anywhere between 4 percent and 20 percent on various multimillion-dollar contracts, so an athlete billed hourly is saving a “dramatic” amount of money, Tanner says. Prior to joining Williams & Connolly, Tanner was a senior adviser to the Clinton/Gore 1996 presidential campaign. Transitioning from the political world to the sports world was not difficult, he says. “I’d have to say they’re both extremely competitive environments; the campaign environment served me well.” But, he laughs, the sports world is “a lot more fun.” — Alicia Upano COMMON SENSE? Philip Howard of Covington & Burling thinks some lawyers make too much money. No, the vice chairman of the D.C. firm and author of several books criticizing the American legal system isn’t seeking to slash associate salaries or partner profits. Instead, he’s spearheading an effort aimed at personal-injury lawyers. Last week, Common Good, a D.C.-based nonprofit headed by Howard, filed petitions with lawyer discipline authorities in 12 states, including Virginia, to limit attorneys’ contingent fees in personal injury cases that reach quick settlements. The petitions ask for lawyers to be limited to earning their hourly rates in fast-settled tort cases, with a maximum cap of 10 percent of the recovery, instead of the customary one-third. The petitions contend that in cases that settle rapidly, a one-third fee vastly overcompensates an attorney for the work performed and the amount of risk faced in bringing a suit that may fail. “The current state of affairs can only exacerbate disrespect for the rule of law. The average American is convinced that lawyers are more interested in hefty fees than in the just resolution of tort claims,” reads the Virginia petition. Also signing on to the Virginia brief were Common Good GC Nancy Udell; Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute; Kirkland & Ellis partners Rick Richmond, Jeffrey Rosen, and Gerald Masoudi; and Paul Rosenzweig of D.C.’s Rosenzweig Law Office. — Daniel Wise, New York Law Journal DOL’S WUNDERKIND Conservative labor lawyer and Wiley Rein & Fielding alum Howard Radzely is expected to follow an easier road to nomination as solicitor of the Department of Labor than did his predecessor, Eugene Scalia. Scalia was appointed to a recess post after a vote on his nomination was blocked over objections to his opposition to workplace safety regulations. Radzely, 33, who’s been DOL acting solicitor since January and joined the department in June 2001 as deputy solicitor, clerked for Scalia’s dad, Antonin Scalia, on the Supreme Court. Coors Brewing Co. General Counsel Samuel Walker, who held DOL posts under the first President Bush and is the former head of Wiley Rein’s labor and employment practice, says Radzely was an early standout at the firm who won’t carry much baggage into his confirmation hearings. Radzely joins a growing group of Wiley Rein veterans serving in the Bush administration, including Food and Drug Administration General Counsel Daniel Troy, Health and Human Services GC Alex Azar, and Federal Communications Commissioner Kevin Martin. — Lily Henning BAR TAB The D.C. Bar is once again cranking up the machinery for raising the court-approved ceiling on annual attorney dues. The limit was raised to its current level of $155 per year for active members four years ago, and a committee is now set to make the case for a new increase to the Bar’s board of governors at a May 13 meeting. In a memorandum to the board, committee Chairman William Davis of Ross, Marsh & Foster says inflation and increased bar staff are driving the proposed hike, which, according to Davis’ financial projections, would increase dues to about $195 per year. Under the proposal, dues would rise gradually from 2004-05 until they hit the ceiling in 2008-09. Dues for inactive and judicial members would increase more slowly. Under D.C. Bar rules, the D.C. Court of Appeals must approve all increases in the dues ceiling. Davis says he would like to have a final proposal sent to the court by late June. The court will then open the proposal up for comment before issuing its ruling. — Jonathan Groner and Siobhan Roth LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF New York’s Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and London’s Ashurst Morris Crisp aborted their merger discussions last week, ending a year of speculation. “There were too many uncertainties in the path of completing a combination of two partnerships of substantial size and histories,” the firms said in a May 5 joint statement. “The two firms remain on excellent terms, and we expect to continue to work together in the future.” According to The American Lawyer, 560-lawyer Fried, Frank and 686-lawyer Ashurst Morris generated profits per partner of $875,000 and $868,000, respectively, in 2001. But Ashurst employs a lockstep compensation plan, while some top business-getters at Fried, Frank command much higher draws than many of their partners. Paul Reinstein, co-managing partner of Fried, Frank, declines to say why the firms ended the talks. “We gave this opportunity our best shot,” he says. — Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal

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