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FENDING OFF POLITICAL ATTACKS ON OFFSHORING The recent political fallout from off-shoring has led some international trade and government contracts lawyers to do more than their share of hand-holding of corporate clients who have engaged in the controversial business strategy. Offshoring � the practice of transferring jobs to workers in other countries willing to do the same work for less money � has become a contentious topic of debate in the 2004 presidential campaign. Presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry has even referred to companies that send jobs overseas as “Benedict Arnolds.” The practice has also drawn the attention of Congress and state legislatures, which are considering several bills that, if enacted, would limit companies’ abilities to obtain federal and state contracts if they continue offshoring to such locations as India and China. One bill even calls for the elimination of federal grants for companies that offshore. “Washington law firms will certainly be called upon more and more frequently to give advice,” says Andrew Shoyer, an international trade partner in the D.C. office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. Sturgis Sobin, head of the international department at D.C.’s Miller & Chevalier, says he’s been telling clients, “This is a real issue. You need to understand it. You need to be a part of the debate,” although he adds, “We’re still at a point where it’s relatively early in the game.” But for business groups, it’s never too early to sketch out a strategy. Miller & Chevalier is advising the Electronic Industry Alliance, a group of companies in the electronic and telecom industries. Partner Greg Mastel says the group is planning conferences to draft alternatives to a ban on offshoring. Mastel also says he is working on expanding benefits and training for displaced U.S. service workers, particularly those in the technology sector. In the legal business arena, few firms have touted their ability to help clients transfer jobs more than D.C.’s Shaw Pittman. According to James Alberg, head of the firm’s outsourcing group, the practice has performed roughly 450 transactions, worth an estimated $350 billion, since its establishment in 1988. Despite the call from some corners to put an end to the overseas migration of jobs, Alberg says the firm is not worried, although he acknowledges that “clients recognize it is a political issue right now.” Alberg notes that only about 10 percent of the firm’s outsourcing work involves offshoring. Alberg says most of the companies for which the firm does offshoring work � such as financial institutions � are unlikely to be affected by the proposed legislation because these companies rarely, if ever, seek government contracts. � Christine Hines SOUR NOTE The likes of Bobby Short, Marian McPartland, and Michael Feinstein have tickled the ivories of the Supreme Court’s Baldwin grand piano, but for a brief period last week it appeared to be on its way out. Friends of Music at the Supreme Court, the informal group that organizes annual concerts for justices and an exclusive list of others at the Court, advertised the 16-year-old piano for sale at the price of $25,000 in the March 8 edition of Legal Times. The goal was to make way for a new and bigger piano that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who emcees the concerts, is securing. Proceeds of the sale would help finance future concerts. But the ad was not well-received at the nation’s highest court, and soon the piano was yanked off the market. “The piano is not for sale,” confirms Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg, who describes the ad as “premature.” The problem that cropped up, says Stephen Strickland, chair of the Friends’ group, is that the piano is government property, so proceeds from its sale would go to the U.S. Treasury � not to benefit the Court or its musicales. “I didn’t give anyone at the Court time to explain this to me before I placed the ad,” says Strickland. “I moved too fast.” What happens next with the piano is uncertain. � Tony Mauro RECOVERING As Attorney General John Ashcroft recovered from surgery to remove his gallbladder last week at George Washington University Hospital, it was business as usual at Main Justice. Deputy AG James Comey, who oversees many of the department’s daily functions and who is statutorily authorized to exercise all the power of the attorney general, served as acting AG in Ashcroft’s absence.”[Comey] didn’t miss a beat,” says spokesman Mark Corallo. Ashcroft entered the hospital March 4 with a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis. Corallo says it is unclear when the AG will be released from the hospital or return to work. � Vanessa Blum MUNICH MOVE Hogan & Hartson has opened an office in Munich, the firm’s second in Germany and ninth in Europe. The Munich location was opened in response to client demand in the media and entertainment industries, says firm chairman J. Warren Gorrell. The office initially will be staffed with two partners and three associates from Berlin, and one partner, Steven Ballew, from the firm’s D.C. office. “We will seek to expand by drawing on other people who have compatible practices in the marketplace,” Gorrell says. The Munich lawyers will focus on international corporate, securities, finance, intellectual property, and antitrust for the firm’s telecom, media, and entertainment clients with interests in Germany. The firm also announced that Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) will join the firm when he leaves the House after his current term expires. Hogan “is the natural choice for me,” McInnis said in a press release. � Marie Beaudette LEAVING JUSTICE M. Edward Whelan III, the No. 2 lawyer in the Justice Department‘s influential Office of Legal Counsel, plans to leave the department later this month to serve as president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C. think tank. The center’s mission statement says it was formed in 1976 to “clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues.” Whelan says he looks forward to the “unique opportunity,” adding, “I very much admire the folks at the center.” Prior to joining Justice in 2001, Whelan served as a senior lawyer at Verizon Communications, working closely with General Counsel and former Attorney General William Barr. Whelan, 43, previously served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As an OLC attorney, Whelan has worked on issues related to religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 2003, he authored an opinion concluding that the First Amendment does not bar awarding federal preservation grants to religious structures on the National Register of Historic Places. The opinion reversed a 1995 OLC opinion on the same issue. � Vanessa Blum RULE OF LAW The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has implemented a new set of court rules, which for the first time set up separate regulations for civil and criminal cases. The most notable change, however, is a set of formal procedures for the sealing of records in criminal and civil cases. According to the new rules, motions to have information sealed must be placed on the public docket, and outside parties will be given a chance to object. Earlier, the individual judge decided what would remain public or placed under wraps, and some Northern Virginia practitioners say sealing motions were routinely granted in cases where the parties agreed to the confidentiality. Many of these deals were made without the public’s knowledge or input. Jack Corrado, past president of the Federal Bar Association’s Northern Virginia chapter, says the changes were the direct result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s decision in Ashcraft v. Conoco, which found that a protective order was not violated by a reporter whose newspaper published confidential material that was accidentally handed to her by a court clerk. “It makes it easier for the bar to conform to the requirements that are the law as a result of the Ashcraft decision,” says Corrado, a Morrison & Foerster partner in McLean, Va. First Amendment lawyer Bruce Brown of D.C.’s Baker & Hostetler says rules allowing public notification and intervention ensure that the court is not operating a secret docket. “It’s a very good thing to have a procedure laid out so sealing orders don’t slip by,” Brown says. � Tom Schoenberg A HELPING HAND The D.C.-based National Women’s Law Center is helping a woman who was an alleged victim of the still-unfolding scandal over football recruiting practices at the University of Colorado. The group announced last week that it will be of counsel to Lisa Simpson, a Colorado student who says she was raped in her apartment in 2001 by two football recruits. Simpson and some other women students had planned a “girls’ night in” and were drinking, but they did not expect any male students to visit, according to the complaint. Simpson has sued the university under Title IX for being “deliberately indifferent to known sexual harassment, sexual assaults and sexual discrimination.” Simpson’s complaint was filed last December in a state court in Boulder. Says NWLC senior counsel Neena Chaudhry: “We want to make sure that the university addresses this. They had an obligation to take action, and they did not.” The complaint seeks an injunction, institution of a comprehensive anti-sexual harassment plan, and unspecified damages. � Jonathan Groner JUMPING TO JENNER When lawyer Matthew Oppenheim joined the Recording Industry Association of America in 1998, sharing files on the Internet was a novelty. Six years and thousands of lawsuits later, Oppenheim, the RIAA’s former senior vice president for business and legal affairs, has not only witnessed what he calls the “turbo-charged evolution” of file-sharing technology, he has led the effort to combat illegal music downloading. Last week, Chicago’s Jenner & Block announced that it has added Oppenheim as a partner in its D.C. office. He joins Jenner’s newly formed entertainment and new media practice and will continue to represent the RIAA and its members. He will also expand his practice to represent owners of movies, books, and software games. “Other copyright owners are increasingly facing the issues that the record industry is facing,” Oppenheim says. � Christine Hines MCKENNA’S MANAGER Thomas Papson has been named managing partner of the D.C. office of McKenna Long & Aldridge. Papson had been the firm’s co-managing partner with Thomas Hall during the transition following the merger of D.C.’s McKenna & Cuneo with Atlanta’s Long, Aldridge & Norman in 2002. Papson will supervise the 100-lawyer D.C. office and have a hand in the firm’s strategic growth, according to a press release. Hall remains firmwide managing partner. Papson, who replaced Frederic Levy, couldn’t be reached for comment. � Marie Beaudette

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