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ARTER AND ALTHEIMER FACING EXTINCTION The economy’s long slump has caught up with several midsize firms. Cleveland’s Arter & Haddenis shutting down. Chicago’s Altheimer & Grayis on the brink. And Palo Alto, Calif.’s Fenwick & Westis freezing staff pay and weighing the fate of a recently opened D.C. office. There is no indication that Fenwick’s situation is nearly as dire as the plight of Arter & Hadden or Altheimer & Gray. “We have been looking at strategic alternatives for our D.C. office for some time, and we’re continuing to evaluate those alternatives,” says Fenwick chairman Gordon Davidson.Fenwick opened the office in late 2001, and it currently houses 12 lawyers, according to the firm’s Web site. D.C. office leader Jonathan Abermansays he “can’t comment” on the office’s future. Fenwick, with 240 lawyers firmwide, is freezing salaries for most of its approximately 250 staffers, the firm told employees July 1. “The economy has all of us focusing more closely on expenses,” says co-managing partner Laird Simons III. Facing a cash-flow crunch, 301-lawyer Altheimer is close to dissolution. On June 27, Altheimer’s executive committee recommended dissolving the partnership and winding down 11 offices worldwide. At press time, it was not clear if the partners had voted to do so. Jeffrey Smith,the firm’s managing partner, did not respond to three calls for comment. In a press release, 88-year-old Altheimer ascribed its woes to the slump in corporate work, which the firm said accounts for 75 percent of its practice. San Francisco partner Graham Taylorsays the firm’s collections have dropped sharply. “In the balance sheet sense, we’re fine,” he says. “In a cash-flow sense, we’re not fine. And cash is the oxygen of any law firm.” Taylor says the firm is in merger talks and has retained Piper Rudnickand financial advisers from American Express to explore reorganization options. Cleveland’s Arter & Hadden, which expanded nationally in the 1990s, told employees on June 30 that the firm will shut down. “Efforts to obtain the additional financing and required concessions from Arter & Hadden’s landlords to continue the law firm have been unsuccessful,” the firm stated in a memo sent to its 10 offices. “We will need to permanently terminate the employment of substantially all employees of Arter & Hadden . . . on July 15.” Arter has shrunk to about 250 lawyers from a 1999 peak of 425, and has been bleeding partners since late 2000. Arter’s D.C. office houses 14 lawyers, according to the firm’s Web site. D.C. managing partner Michael Goodsteindeclines comment. — Otis Bilodeau, Alexei Oreskovic, and Renee Deger STILL SLICING UP THE FREDDIE PIE Another Freddie Mac executive has hired a white collar defense firm as his counsel in probes of financial irregularities at the home mortgage giant. Steven Salky,a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder,was brought in by Vaughn Clarke, Freddie Mac’s former chief financial officer. “We will represent him in all proceedings in which he is contacted,” says Salky, who declines further comment. Of counsel Adam Rosmanis working with Salky. Clarke resigned in June after it became clear that Freddie Mac’s earnings for the past three years were incorrectly stated. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va., the Securities and Exchange Commission, and others are investigating. Freddie Mac disclosed that it would have to add up to $4.5 billion to its earnings since 2000 because of accounting errors. — Jonathan Groner GOP AIMS TO CLAIM BACK JUDGE Republicans have set a Senate cloture vote for July 8, hoping to move the nomination of Victor Wolski,a pick for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Democratic senators have held up Wolski, 40, because they see him as a conservative activist on environmental and other issues, and also because they doubt that the specialized trial court has enough cases to justify confirming more judges. “There were assurances [from Republicans] that there would be hearings on the need to fill those judgeships,” says a Senate Democratic source, who adds that the GOP reneged on the promises. A GOP Senate aide replies that there was no promise of a hearing and says the Democrats are engaged in delaying tactics. The aide adds that the Democrats are “attempting to distort a nominee’s record.” — J.G. CLIMBING THE AMLAW 100 The annual ranking by The American Lawyerof the nation’s 100 top-grossing law firms, published last week, shows that many thrived in 2002, despite the poor economic climate. The AmLaw 100 report showed average profits per partner were up 6.9 percent last year. Revenue per lawyer, an indicator of a firm’s ability to charge premium rates, was up an average of 4 percent while gross revenue increased 8.5 percent. The magazine (published by Legal Timesowner American Lawyer Media) compared 2002 with the recession year of 1992, and found firms had prepared well for this latest dip. Several D.C.-based firms fared particularly well. Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky,which didn’t make the top 100 last year, leaped to 76. The firm’s jump was due in part to contingent fees reaped from a large settlement in 1999. Lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggsalso made the top 100 this year, at 97. Other local firms that made modest gains were Washington’s highest-grossing firm, Hogan & Hartson,up seven spots to 24; Piper Rudnick,which also went up seven positions to claim 27, and Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering,which rose from 70 in 2001 to 62 this year. Covington & Burling, Wilmer,and Arnold & Porterwere the top three pro bono law firms of the 100. The full report can be found in the July issue of The American Lawyer( americanlawyer.com). — Marie Beaudette WORLD BANKER The World Bankhas snagged Peruvian Ambassador and former Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering partner Roberto Dañinoas general counsel and senior vice president. World Bank President James Wolfensohn says Dañino brings “a unique set of development experiences and perspectives to the bank.” A corporate lawyer for 25 years, Dañino in 1996 helped start Wilmer’s Latin American practice. He left Wilmer in 2001 to be Peru’s prime minister. Dañino, who starts his new job in September, was on vacation in Italy and unavailable for comment. — M.B. PIPER DOUBLES DOWN IN NOVA Piper Rudnickmay have found the silver lining in the Northern Virginia tech sector fallout. The firm is transforming its Reston outpost into a full-service office with the addition of 25 lawyers. The transfers — practicing in the corporate and securities, franchise, bankruptcy, litigation, government contracts, and labor areas — bring the firm’s Reston head count to 47. “We think it will differentiate us from other firms,” says D.C. co-managing partner Jay Epstein.Piper, which opened in Reston in 1999, leases 50,000 square feet in the Reston Town Center. Later this summer, the firm will unite under one roof at its 19th Street office all 190 of its downtown D.C. lawyers, including those that joined the firm from Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand. — Lily Henning CELEBRATING SOLICITOR GENERAL ROBERT BORK More than 30 friends and former colleagues of Robert Borkgathered at his Virginia home recently to mark the 30th anniversary of the beginning of his tenure as solicitor general. It was the idea of Edward Korman,U.S. district judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., and it drew a slew of other federal judges, including Danny Boggs(6th Circuit), Daniel Friedman(Federal Circuit), and Paul Friedman(U.S. District Court in D.C.). Mark Evansof Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evansand Kenneth Gellerof Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Mawwere there, as was retired Deputy Solicitor General Lawrence Wallace.All worked with Bork during his four years as SG. “They were very good guys, and they were good years,” says Bork, 76. Did they reminisce about his most memorable act during those years — firing special Watergate counsel Archibald Cox after his superiors refused? “We didn’t talk about that at all,” says Bork firmly. “We reminisced about some humorous episodes in the office and had a good time.” — Tony Mauro JUSTICE DELAYED After a 10-day pause, a federal jury in Alexandria, Va., that is deciding the fate of former naval intelligence officer Jay Lentz resumes deliberations today. The reason for the break: Judge Gerald Bruce Leeof the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had to attend the 4th Circuit Judicial Conference — as well as a family reunion he had organized. Lentz faces the death penalty for allegedly kidnapping his ex-wife and causing her death, even though Doris Lentz’s body has never been found. On their fourth day of deliberations last month, jurors said they were deadlocked; Lee instructed them to keep trying. The court notes in a statement that counsel and jurors knew as early as April that Lee would be away from June 25 until July 7. Lead prosecutor Steve Mellinand Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael Liebermandecline comment on the issue. This is the second delay for jurors. A few weeks into voir dire last September, the government filed an interlocutory appeal that kept the case on ice until February. — Siobhan Roth A PAUSE IN GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY REQUIREMENT Lawyers who missed the July 1 deadline for sending out privacy notices to clients, have no fear. The Federal Trade Commission has agreed not to bust any laggards, pending a ruling in a suit by the American Bar Associationand the New York State Bar Associationchallenging the requirement. It wasn’t quite the home run that a press release from New York State Bar counsel Proskauer Roseimplied (“FTC Drops GLB Action Against Lawyers”), but it does mean that, for the moment, lawyers who provide services like tax advice or real estate settlements don’t have to comply with the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is expected to decide whether or not to dismiss the case later this month. — Jenna Greene

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