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Wilmer Cutler Pickering’s hallmark practice areas, including securities and bankruptcy, helped the firm maintain a strong course. The firm grossed $238.4 million in 2003 and achieved profits per partner of $790,000. Managing partner William Perlstein says the firm’s securities group “continued at an extremely high pace.” The practice waded into the mutual fund scandal, coming to the aid of investment advisers; broker-dealers; independent trustees; and special committees on market timing, late trading, and revenue sharing. It also answered inquiries by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and the Office of the New York Attorney General. Attorneys in the firm’s bankruptcy practice became lead counsel last August for the Kmart Corp. after the troubled retailer’s bankruptcy plan was confirmed. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom had previously been Kmart’s bankruptcy counsel. In a patent infringement case, Wilmer lawyers, led by former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, served as trial counsel for the Hartford Life Insurance Co. In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a St. Louis federal jury award of $118.3 million in damages against Hartford and a subsidiary for misappropriating trade secrets and violating a confidentiality agreement it had with Bancorp Services. The firm’s litigation department also remained busy, continuing growth in its asbestos claims area, representing companies that are liable for asbestos claims, says Perlstein. Wilmer lawyers also continued to represent the D.C.-based toolmaker Danaher Corp. on mergers and acquisitions matters. The company recently acquired German dental toolmaker Kaltenbach & Voigt GmbH & Co. for $425 million and the telecom tools line of California-based Harris Corp. for $50 million in cash. The firm’s telecommunications lawyers, led by D.C. partner William Lake, continued to work with SBC Communications Inc., Verizon Communications, and Qwest Communications International Inc. on regulatory issues pending before the Federal Communications Commission. The issues include the treatment of broadband services and the development of the ground rules for competition in the local telephone markets. The group also represented Verizon in proceedings before federal and state courts and regulatory agencies in a series of disputes concerning the prices at which Verizon is required to lease its facilities to its competitors under the Telecommunications Act. Last year, Wilmer added another high-profile partner to its ranks when Jamie Gorelick left the Fannie Mae Corp. as vice chair. The former deputy attorney general and general counsel of the Department of Defense serves on the Sept. 11 commission. Wilmer lawyers, led by John Pickering and John Payton, served as co-counsel with Latham & Watkins to the University of Michigan in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, in which the Supreme Court made its first ruling on affirmative action in higher education admissions in 25 years. In June 2003, the Court ruled that race can be used in a limited way in university admission decisions, upholding the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy. It struck down an affirmative action policy for undergraduate admissions. In another high court case, Wilmer partners Roger Witten and Seth Waxman were lead counsel for the sponsors of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. The Supreme Court upheld much of the 2002 campaign finance reform law. Next year, Wilmer’s gross likely will double. The firm merged in May with Boston-based Hale and Dorr, a 500-lawyer firm that grossed about $300 million in 2002. The firm’s new name is Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

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