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MITCHELL DOES DOUBLE DUTY AT DISNEY, PIPER Washington lawyers are at both ends of the fierce tug of war between dissident directors and the company’s top brass at the Walt Disney Co. At one end is former Sen. George Mitchell, who became Disney’s chairman last week and will continue full time as a D.C. partner at Piper Rudnick, a firm spokeswoman says. Pulling for directors opposed to Mitchell are a group of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson attorneys representing Roy Disney and Stanley Gold in their “Vote No” campaign against Mitchell, CEO Michael Eisner, and two other Disney directors. Led by Los Angeles partner David Robbins, the team includes D.C.-based lawyers James Schropp, a securities specialist, and intellectual property attorney Timothy Casey. Mitchell, who could not be reached for comment, will maintain his post as co-chair of Piper’s government controversies practice, but will cut down on other duties outside of the firm, says a firm spokeswoman. A former district judge and federal prosecutor who was on the short list to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1994, Mitchell also serves as a director of Federal Express, Staples Inc., and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He has previously been a board member at the Xerox Corp. He was a Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand partner before that firm merged with Piper in 2002. Before accepting the post as chairman of the embattled entertainment giant, Mitchell discussed the move with Piper leadership, according to a spokeswoman. Piper Rudnick managing partner Jeffrey Liss says Mitchell will continue to be a valued partner. Faulted by disgruntled Disney shareholders for being too close to Eisner, Mitchell has said he doesn’t have plans to oust the company’s head of nearly 20 years. Eisner, who is still CEO, resigned as chairman last week after 43 percent of voting shareholders withheld support for his re-election. The Web site for the campaign run by Disney and Gold, who stepped down from the Disney board in December, asserts that “within the last several years ex-Senator Mitchell has served as a paid consultant to the Company [Disney]” and that “ his law firm has received more than $1 million in fees from The Walt Disney Company.” Piper says it does not represent Disney and has not provided counsel to the company or its affiliates since Mitchell joined the firm. — Lily Henning IN HOT WATER D.C.’s lead-contaminated water controversy may be heading to court. March 5, lawyers at the D.C. office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker said they will file suit March 8 in D.C. Superior Court against the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority and the D.C. government. Christopher Cole, of counsel to the firm, says he is representing two young couples who had babies in the past six months and whose homes had high levels of lead in the water. Cole, who is working on the case pro bono with partner Charles Patrizia, says it remains unclear what injuries, if any, the women or children suffered. The claims will consist of negligence, violation of D.C. consumer protection laws, and reckless endangerment, Cole says. The suit also will ask the judge to give the case class status. Cole says the firm may also sue WASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers for violating the federal Safe Drinking Water Act if they do not ensure the delivery of safe water in 60 days. “Our goal is to spur affirmative action by agencies to deliver safe and clean water to people who need it,” Cole says. WASA interim GC Wendy Hartmann Moore and Peter Lavallee, spokesman for the Office of the D.C. Corporation Counsel, say they cannot comment on a suit they have not seen. — Tom Schoenberg BACKING BUSH Two D.C. lawyers are said to be in line to co-chair Lawyers for Bush-Cheney ’04. Two well-placed GOP sources say that although no formal announcement has been made, Richard Wiley of Wiley, Rein & Fielding and Charles Cooper of Cooper & Kirk are being eyed for the volunteer positions. Wiley chaired the lawyers’ group for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000, along with Theodore Olson, then a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and currently solicitor general. Cooper is a conservative constitutional lawyer. A campaign spokesperson did not return calls seeking comment. — Jonathan Groner STEPTOE GROWS It has been a busy few weeks at D.C.’s Steptoe & Johnson. Not only has J.A. “Lon” Bouknight Jr. stepped down as chairman, but also the firm has expanded its European practice. Bouknight, who remains a partner, says he leaves his post with the firm in a better place: Practices are growing; morale is up; and the firm has a new crop of quality lawyers. “I feel the ship is running well,” he says. Bouknight served three two-year terms, the maximum allowed under the partnership agreement. New chairman Roger Warin, the firm’s litigation group leader, and vice chairman Douglas Green — who succeeded partner F. Michael Kail — took the reins March 1. Warin anticipates expansion and new offices for the firm in the United States and abroad. “It’s targeted, strategic expansion and not expansion for expansion’s sake,” he says. The first move, it seems, is the firm’s recent acquisition of a seven-lawyer Brussels, Belgium, office from Minneapolis’ Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly. The Brussels office will perform regulatory work in the international trade, environment, and antitrust areas. The lawyers — three partners, one of counsel, and three associates — will join Steptoe partner Kees Kuilwijk, who was the firm’s only lawyer in Brussels before the acquisition. — Christine Hines DEFENDING MIRANDA D.C. solo practitioner Adam Augustine Carter has experience in white-collar criminal and civil litigation. He may need that background as Democrats call for a criminal probe of actions by his client, Manuel Miranda, and other Republican staffers for allegedly downloading thousands of Democratic Judiciary Committee documents and leaking their contents. On March 4, the Senate sergeant at arms concluded in a 65-page report that GOP staffers, including Miranda, for 18 months improperly downloaded and read the Democratic strategy memorandums from a computer shared by both parties. The documents dealt with the Democrats’ plans to oppose controversial judicial nominations. Carter, 39, who has known Miranda since their college days at Georgetown, has been representing Miranda for a couple of months, he says. He was by Miranda’s side when he was debriefed by the sergeant at arms. “This is an odd case,” Carter says. “My client is both a hero and a victim.” Working with Carter on Miranda’s team is Arthur McKey, a computer law expert and partner at D.C.’s Hanson & Molloy. McKey did not return a call. — Jonathan Groner FRIENDLY RIVALRY The case against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers is shaping up as a battle between two D.C. litigators who worked together as government lawyers nearly a quarter-century ago. In 1980, Reid Weingarten, then a staff attorney in the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, won a conviction against former Rep. John Jenrette (D-S.C.) in the Abscam case, in which seven congressmen were convicted of accepting bribes from agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation posing as Arab sheiks. One of his supervisors was Irvin Nathan, then deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division. Now, Weingarten is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and represents Ebbers, who was indicted in New York March 2 on conspiracy and fraud charges. The chief witness against Ebbers is former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan, who has signed an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. Sullivan’s lawyer is Nathan, who’s now at Arnold & Porter. “We have stayed in touch over the years,” says Weingarten. “We’re professional friends.” — Jonathan Groner LEAVING LEVICK Elizabeth Lampert, executive vice president of Levick Strategic Communications, is leaving the D.C.-based law firm public relations shop to start her own consulting business. Lampert, who spent more than six years at Levick, will help law firm clients train and hire in-house marketing staff. “I don’t think anyone’s really hit the in-house training market,” she says. Lampert, who is based in California but was in the District for several years, says law firms with stronger in-house marketing capabilities will be better positioned to deal with the media. Richard Levick, president of the firm, says Lampert will be missed, but he expects to work with her in the future. Lampert’s departure follows that of five others in the past four months, but Levick says the firm has hired six new senior staff members. “We’re continuing to grow,” he says. — Marie Beaudette THE REAL DEAL In Silicon Valley, the deal lawyers are busy again. Deals are flooding in “at a pace reminiscent of the bubble period,” says Richard Climan, who heads the mergers and acquisitions practice at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward. While the volume of work feels like 2000 all over again, Climan says there are a few key differences. Current deals are more complex and cash-heavy, while buyers are more cautious. And some M&A lawyers say those factors may give New York firms with a history of handling more complicated transactions an advantage with clients. Nevertheless, the uptick means many Silicon Valley shops are hiring again. “We see the upturn is here, and we’re more worried about not having enough lawyers than having too many,” says William Sherman, a Morrison & Foerster partner. — Adrienne Sanders, The Recorder PAC POWER Alston & Bird on Feb. 6 joined the club of Washington law and lobbying firms with a political action committee. Jonathan Winer, partner at Alston & Bird and the PAC’s assistant treasurer, cites the growth of the firm’s Washington presence and Federal Election Commission compliance issues as motivation for starting the PAC. “We’re having a growing government affairs practice and growing contacts with people in the executive branch and on the Hill, so it’s appropriate,” he says. The PAC has no contributions as of yet. “At this point, all we’ve done is set it up,” Winer says. Partner Thomas Boyd will serve as the PAC’s treasurer. — Kristen A. Lee, Influence

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