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STEEL TARIFF ISSUE STILL A BURNING ISSUE AT ITC The epic trade battle over steel tariffs lives on. Hordes of lawyers from firms such as Hogan & Hartson; Sidley Austin Brown & Wood; Steptoe & Johnson; Wiley Rein & Fielding; Dewey Ballantine; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom packed the International Trade Commission for two days of hearings last week to assess the effects of the 15-month-old tariffs on steel imports. “The steel tariffs are the wrong medicine,” testified West Smith, president of the E&E Manufacturing Co., one of about 50 steel consumers who told the ITC commissioners that tariffs of up to 30 percent have resulted in job losses, lower profits, and the migration of business overseas. That the ITC hearings were held at all was something of a coup for lobbyists representing steel-consuming industries such as automobile parts manufacturers and heavy machinery makers. Lawyers, including Hogan & Hartson’s Lewis Leibowitz and Lynn Kamarck for the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition and Sanford Ring, a Dykema Gossett partner representing the Motor and Equipment Manufacturing Association, helped enlist the support of Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues. Thomas requested that the ITC conduct a fact-finding investigation. It’s an unusual move for the ITC. Under the “safeguard” statute authorizing the tariffs, the ITC is only obligated to monitor the domestic steel industry, which is supposed to use the respite from overseas competition to restructure and become more competitive. In July, the ITC will hold hearings to check on the steel makers’ progress. Not that the steel makers were absent from the proceedings last week — their testimony filled almost an entire day of hearings. In September, President George W. Bush will have to decide whether to modify or repeal the tariffs, which will otherwise expire in 2005. Adding pressure on the administration is a May decision from the World Trade Organization that the tariffs are illegal. The United States is appealing the ruling. Still, even lawyers for the steel consumers don’t expect the tariffs to go away entirely. That’s because the steel industry is a huge presence in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — all electoral swing states. As Hogan & Hartson’s Leibowitz told the ITC last week (quoting George Bernard Shaw), “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” — Jenna Greene ABBE’S ROAD Abbe Lowell has found a new home in Chadbourne & Parke‘s D.C. office, where he will begin work in July. The 51-year-old litigator is leaving Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where he had been a partner for four years and was until recently D.C. administrative partner. Lowell says he was attracted to New York-based Chadbourne for its strong white collar practice and management structure. “The partnership’s commitment to help each other is palpable,” says Lowell, adding that his need to leave Manatt stemmed from client conflicts. “Manatt’s practice is working fine, but it doesn’t blend or support my practice as well as either of us hoped,” says Lowell. Chadbourne managing partner Charles O’Neill says the addition of Lowell bolsters the firm’s bid for a national practice in white collar securities, business investigation, and compliance. Lowell joins D.C. Chadbourne partner Thomas Sjoblom, one of the lawyers representing HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Meanwhile, John Ray replaces Lowell as Manatt’s D.C. administrative partner. Ray is a member of the government and policy division and a former D.C. Council member. — Lily Henning DICKSTEIN: ON THE MOVE Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky plans to double its office space by summer 2006. The firm signed a 15-year lease last week for 417,000 square feet at International Square, in the 1800 block of I Street, N.W. The 325-lawyer firm will move from 2101 L St., N.W., to offices vacated by the International Monetary Fund. The space will house up to 482 attorneys and is expected to accommodate Dickstein’s growth through 2009, says firm head Angelo Arcadipane. Dickstein has taken all of the space available at its current location, says Arcadipane, adding that the firm wants to keep its lawyers under one roof to control costs and foster interaction. — Lily Henning DOWD STEPS INTO FREDDIE CASE Add another big name to the list of lawyers representing clients in the Freddie Mac imbroglio. Leland Brendsel, the company’s former CEO, just brought in John Dowd, head of the criminal litigation group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Dowd, 61, says he is “dealing with the inquiries from the agencies” into accounting irregularities at the home mortgage giant. Brendsel was asked to retire two weeks ago in the wake of disclosures that then-Chief Operating Officer David Glenn altered company documents before giving them to internal investigators. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia are looking into the Freddie Mac situation. Brendsel is still represented by Lawrence Lorber, an employment-law specialist at Proskauer Rose, in connection with his severance from Freddie Mac and related issues. Dowd is perhaps best known for representing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal and leading the gambling probe of former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose on behalf of Major League Baseball. — Jonathan Groner OUT OF COURT, BUT STILL ALIVE A federal judge in D.C. dismissed a race discrimination suit against Dorsey & Whitney that was filed in January by a former D.C.-based associate. Patricia Brown sued the firm in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking $10 million in damages by claiming that firm leaders sabotaged her attempts to ascend to partner because she is black. Brown, a patent attorney who lives in Bowie, Md., claims that she was promised partnership opportunities by firm leaders when she joined as an associate from D.C.’s Venable in 2000. As evidence, Brown cited the fact that there are only three black partners at the 700-lawyer firm, which is based in Minneapolis and has more than 20 offices worldwide. Dorsey & Whitney leaders denied the allegations. On June 12, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Brown was bound by an employment agreement she signed stipulating that any disputes with the firm would be handled through arbitration. Richard Powers Jr., managing partner of Dorsey’s D.C. office, says, “The judge did the right thing in that order.” But Brown’s lawyer, Upper Marlboro, Md.’s Jimmy Bell, says the ruling was a victory for his client, noting that it struck down certain portions of the employment contract limiting damages. Says Bell: “The judge let it be known in his memorandum that arbitration is not the end-all and be-all if it is not resolved.” — Tom Schoenberg TREASURY UPHELD IN TERRORISM DESIGNATION The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld the Treasury Department’s decision to designate the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based Muslim charity, as a terrorist organization. The June 20 ruling supported Treasury’s action in 2001, which was based on evidence that the foundation was closely linked to the Palestinian group Hamas. The appeals court unanimously agreed with a district judge that there was “ample evidence” to back up Treasury’s decision. Moreover, Judge David Sentelle’s opinion held that “there is no First Amendment right nor any other constitutional right to support terrorists.” In a statement, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “Today’s opinion is a victory for the government’s authority to act swiftly to stop the flow of money to terrorists or others who threaten our national security.” Responds Holy Land Foundation lawyer John Boyd of Albuquerque, N.M.’s Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Cline: “The truth doesn’t matter any more. As long as the executive branch is prepared to say that these people are terrorists, the courts will look the other way, even in the teeth of clear evidence that the government’s case was entirely fabricated.” — Jonathan Groner SIS-BOOM-BAH! A group of D.C. lawyers traded offices for classrooms last week. The attorneys, including Shaw Pittman managing partner Stephen Huttler and Miller & Chevalier partner Samuel Maruca, attended a week-long Harvard Business School course for professional services firm managers. Timothy Waters, partner in charge of the D.C. office of McDermott, Will &Emery, says he bunked in a dorm room and completed two hours of homework each night, in addition to spending eight hours in class each day. The course — based on case studies — wasn’t specific to law firms and included participants from a range of industries, including accounting and health care. “It’s amazing how certain management problems have a commonality,” says Waters. The knowledge doesn’t come cheaply. Tuition for the week-long session is $7,900. The tab for a month-long advanced management program is $49,000. Despite the price tag, the school says participants aren’t paying for a working vacation. “It’s no country club up here,” says Harvard Business School spokesman Jay Chrepta. — Lily Henning FOR CHERTOFF, NO EXIT AT DOJ Certainly, former Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff — who was confirmed by the Senate June 9 as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit — will always be welcome to drop in at Main Justice. But Chertoff, it seems, is still getting used to being just a visitor at his old building. Last week, Chertoff got stuck trying to exit the Justice Department through an automated gate using his visitor’s pass. The limited-access pass would not open the gate, and the former Criminal Division chief was sent scurrying back for an escort. Apparently, the building’s new high-tech security system does not use facial recognition software. — Vanessa Blum

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