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BUSH TAPS TRIAL LAWYER FOR D.C. SEAT President George W. Bush nominated a lawyer from the private civil bar for a slot on the D.C. Superior Court last week. Brian Holeman, managing partner at Largo, Md.’s Wells & Holeman, was picked to replace Judge Mary Ellen Abrecht, who retired in January. Holeman is Bush’s 11th pick for the 62-judge D.C. bench, and the second civil law practitioner. Holeman, 45, has primarily focused on medical malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance coverage cases — for both the defense and plaintiffs. From 1989 to 1992, he defended hospitals and doctors while an associate at D.C.’s Montedonico & Mason, which was later named Montedonico, Hamilton, Altman & Nash. One of Holeman’s colleagues at the time was Melvin Wright, who became a D.C. Superior Court judge in 1998. D.C. lawyer Thomas Mooers, who worked with Holeman at the Montedonico firm, describes him as “brilliant, very aggressive, and charismatic.” In 1992, Holeman, a D.C. resident, moved to the Annapolis, Md.-based firm of Wharton, Levin, Ehrmantraut, Klein & Nash, where he later became a partner. In 1998, he joined the plaintiffs firm Eaton & McClellan, where Holeman remains of counsel to its Philadelphia office. For the past three and a half years, Holeman has been a solo practitioner and just recently started a small plaintiffs practice with medical malpractice lawyer Gregory Wells. “I know him as an opponent and more recently as a colleague,” says medical malpractice veteran Jack Olender, adding that he wrote a letter of support for Holeman’s nomination. “He’s a good lawyer with a nice temperament and should be a good judge.” Civil law practitioners say they’re excited to see an experienced civil trial lawyer join the bench, noting that cases flow more smoothly when the judge has had experience in the field. Holeman did not return calls seeking comment. The nomination must still be approved by the Senate. Four other Superior Court nominations have been pending in the Senate since January — including three new judgeships created for Family Court. Meanwhile, on May 16, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission recommended three D.C. lawyers to the White House to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge Frederick Dorsey. Two are in the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Craig Iscoe, a 50-year-old prosecutor in the Fraud and Public Corruption Section; and Dorothy Ames Jeffress, a 38-year-old prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section. The third is Phyllis Thompson, a 50-year-old partner at D.C.’s Covington & Burling who specializes in health and welfare litigation and regulatory work. — Tom Schoenberg SETTLEMENT FOR ESTRADA Miguel Estrada hasn’t gotten closer to confirmation to the D.C. Circuit, but his litigation docket at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher just got lighter. On May 22, Aetna Inc. and lawyers for a class of 700,000 physicians said they had agreed to settle a suit over the insurer’s reimbursement policies. Estrada was Aetna’s chief litigation counsel in the federal court case in Miami. According to Aetna spokesman David Carter, talks began last fall. Davis Polk & Wardwell, Aetna’s regular corporate counsel, spearheaded the settlement talks for Aetna, while Gibson, Dunn lawyers were handling the complex pretrial wrangling. While the Senate filibuster on Estrada’s nomination continued into its 16th week, the Judiciary Committee OK’d the 3rd Circuit nomination of Justice Department official Michael Chertoff. The May 22 vote was 13-0, with six Democrats abstaining. — Jonathan Groner HOWREY’S HIRES Howrey Simon Arnold & White has gained three lawyers and will soon welcome another for its self-styled corporate responsibility practice. The group includes counsel D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, 57, former vice chairman of Ernst &Young, and partner Richard Beckler, 63, former litigation head in the D.C. office of Fulbright & Jaworski. Prior to joining Fulbright, Beckler served as section chief for the criminal fraud section at the Department of Justice. Rounding out the group are 46-year-old Mark Radke, who, as reported in Legal Times in March, arrives at Howrey as partner after serving as chief of staff to former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, and partner Joseph Walker, 33, another Fulbright and DOJ alum who arrives at Howrey Simon next week. Over at Fulbright, John Simpson takes over as the firm’s new D.C. litigation leader. — Lily Henning A WAY OUT OF DEBTOR’S PRISON FOR NEW J.D.S? Congratulations, you’ve graduated law school. Now start paying up. On average, grads enter the job market with nearly $80,000 in debt. That’s about $1,500 a month in payments. Now, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) have a plan to help financially challenged J.D.s take public service jobs, where first-year salaries hover around $30,000. Durbin worries about the “brain drain” debt induces. The Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act would use Department of Education funds to forgive portions of law school loans for lawyers who work as prosecutors or public defenders for at least three years. “It’s hard when you get out of school and are making $38,000 and have loans that are double that,” says a Maryland prosecutor who was $59,000 in the red upon graduation in 1998. The Justice Department has a repayment program, but it reaches only 50 people a year. “I think the bill has a very good chance of passing, because prosecutors and defenders all over the country are supporting it,” says H. Scott Wallace of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, which has been lobbying for the bill. “It’s rather unprecedented.” — Siobhan Roth HOGAN & HARTSON AND THE MAN NO COUNTRY WANTS No country wants Donald Seretse-Khama, but that hasn’t stopped the Justice Department from trying to deport the Liberia-born felon. Seretse-Khama, who was convicted of felony possession of cocaine in Virginia in 1993, was released from custody last August after a federal judge in the District ruled it was unlikely the Immigration and Naturalization Service could ever deport him. The INS detained Seretse-Khama in 1998 and continued to hold him for nearly four years. Now, after getting him sprung last year, Hogan & Hartson lawyers are asking U.S. District Judge John Bates to amend their client’s supervised release order from monthly visits to the INS to twice a year checkups so that Seretse-Khama can take a computer job training course. On May 14, Justice lawyers objected, arguing that the monthly contact is needed because Liberia may change its mind and offer a travel visa that is only good for 24 hours. Hogan associate Lynne Baum says there is no evidence a visa will ever be issued and it is more likely Seretse-Khama will spend the rest of his life in the United States and under government supervision. — Tom Schoenberg MOURNING A DEATH AT DOJ More than 100 members of the antitrust bar turned out May 20 to mourn Reginald Tom, a senior trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Tom, who went by Reggie, died of a heart attack on the basketball court May 15 while playing in an intramural DOJ league. He was 45 years old. “It was very unexpected. He was in very good heath and kept in good shape,” says DOJ attorney Daniel Zelenko, who worked with Tom on two major investigations. Tom joined the Antitrust Division in 1985 after graduating from American University Washington College of Law. His recent work in the National Criminal Enforcement Section focused on the investigation of international cartels. Tom’s major cases included the prosecution of Appleton Paper Inc. and the Nippon Paper Co. on price-fixing charges. Section chief Lisa Phelan says Tom was passionate about his work and enjoyed mentoring young lawyers. “Everyone is just devastated,” Phelan says. Friends say Tom, who was captain and coach of the section’s basketball team, died doing what he loved. His team, the Criminal Enforcers, was winning by 15 points when he stepped to the sidelines and collapsed. Tom is survived by his wife, JoAnn, seven-year-old son Emerson, and six-year-old daughter Madeleine. — Vanessa Blum GETTING POLITICAL Patton Boggs associate Andy Rosenberg is jumping into politics. An Alexandria, Va., resident, the 35-year-old Rosenberg is taking on Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) in the Democratic primary next year for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. While he will remain at the firm for now, Rosenberg says he plans to exit soon to work on his campaign full-time. “To win a race like this, you really have to be willing to make a full and total commitment,” he says. Rosenberg — whose registered lobbying clients at Patton Boggs include pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and health insurer CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield — says his campaign will focus on smart growth, transportation, health care, and education. Moran, who is serving his seventh term, was blasted in March for a comment he made at an anti-war forum that Jewish-Americans were pushing the United States into war with Iraq. Meanwhile, across the state line in West Virginia, Matt Ward, a partner and lobbyist at D.C. firm Spiegel & McDiarmid, has won re-election for his second term on the city council of Charles Town, W.Va. Ward beat the hamlet’s former fire chief, Don Clendening, on May 22. The vote: 212 to 191. — Kate Ackley REVVING UP THE LITIGATION ON BEHALF OF BLACK BIKERS Myrtle Beach, S.C., welcomes all bikers, as long as they’re white. That’s the essence of lawsuits filed pro bono by three D.C. firms and the NAACP on behalf of African-Americans who visit the city for an annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally known as Black Bike Week. In two federal suits and a complaint to the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, plaintiffs claim the city and several businesses have adopted race-based policies to deter visitors during Black Bike Week. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius handled a complaint against 28 restaurants, including Denny’s and Red Lobster; Steptoe & Johnson filed suit against the City of Myrtle Beach and its police department; and Patton Boggs sued Myrtle Beach’s Yachtsman Hotel. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Rose & Rose, and Baach Robinson & Lewis are coordinating the pro bono campaign. The suits allege that the defendants accommodate white bikers who visit during Harley Week, but then close businesses, restrict traffic, and beef up law enforcement when the black bikers arrive. — Alicia Upano

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