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A high level of profitability continued in the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. With an estimated gross of $155.5 million, the office performed on par with the firm as a whole, showing a 14 percent increase. Firmwide, Latham passed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2003, and average partner profits jumped by double-digit margins over 2002. “I think it was a banner year for us,” says Eric Bernthal, the D.C. office’s managing partner. “We had a large number of really exciting cutting-edge projects in a great number of areas.” While the firm represented companies involved in billion-dollar transactions, the litigation practice may have had the most high-profile work of last year, when partner Maureen Mahoney argued and won an affirmative action case for her client, the University of Michigan Law School, before the U.S. Supreme Court. The litigation group also resolved a series of cases for health care company HCA Inc., which was being investigated by the federal government for allegedly committing more than $1 billion in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In the telecommunications sector, Latham lawyers worked on the General Motors Corp.’s sale of Hughes Electronics Corp./DirecTV to the News Corp. The firm’s D.C. lawyers also participated in representing Singapore Technologies in its acquisition of Global Crossing, the telecommunications company that fell into bankruptcy. Latham continued its work for one of its principal clients, the Carlyle Group, in completing one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history: The private equity firms Carlyle and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe acquired Qwest Communications’ telephone directory publishing business, QwestDex, for more than $7 billion. Latham lawyers worked on the transaction and the communications regulatory side, Bernthal says. Locally, the office’s real estate lawyers are negotiating a deal relating to the development of the old Washington Convention Center site. They are also working for Gaylord Entertainment in a $500 million hotel and convention center development project at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Md., Bernthal says. “The general corporate practice area had been slower in 2001 and 2002 than we had been used to, but it came back very strong in 2003,” Bernthal says. “Right now, we’re really hitting on all eight cylinders.” In 2003, the firm added a new practice area to its repertoire: outsourcing, where lawyers advise clients on various aspects — negotiating, trouble-shooting, implementation — of outsourcing transactions. New on the client list in 2003 was New York-Presbyterian Hospital, affiliated with Columbia and Cornell universities. The health care provider hired Latham to work on litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters.

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