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After its debut on the D.C. 20 last year, there was no looking back for the Washington office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. The office reported $142.4 million in gross revenue for 2003, a nearly 10 percent increase from the year before, and a one-spot jump in the rankings, from 18 to 17. The D.C. office’s net operating income swelled by 24 percent, increasing to $41 million from $33 million in 2002. Meanwhile, the office continued to grow. The firm hired more than 30 new associates from the previous year’s summer associate class, says the office’s managing partner, Carter Phillips. Dubbed by Phillips as the international law firm’s “crown jewel,” the D.C. office is the third largest in revenue and head count after Sidley’s Chicago headquarters and the New York office. Phillips attributes a major part of the “excellent” year to the office’s international trade practice, which completed its first full year at Sidley, after the group of 30-plus lawyers joined the firm from the D.C. office of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy in 2002. The trade group worked on several cases before the World Trade Organization. Last year, Sidley opened up another office near the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. The firm is also a big player in pharmaceutical industry work, representing several drug companies and the trade organization, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Lawyers throughout the firm — the intellectual property group, food and drug lawyers, and product liability litigators — put in hours for the firm’s pharmaceutical clients. The IP group was active in ongoing patent infringement cases. Last year, it won a patent dispute for Pharmacia (acquired by Pfizer Inc.) against the University of Rochester over the arthritis medication Celebrex. The food and drug lawyers were fully engaged doing regulatory work for pharmaceutical clients before the Food and Drug Administration. “The FDA practice exploded last year,” Phillips says. The firm was also busy representing the Bayer Corp. in a number of product liability cases relating to its cholesterol-reducing drug, Baycol. One of the big victories in 2003 was the firm’s win for client Tyson Foods Inc. The federal government accused the company of hiring illegal immigrants, then sought criminal sanctions and $120 million in Tyson profits. Last year, Tyson was acquitted of all charges. While the office took on numerous matters for longtime clients the General Electric Co. and the AT&T Corp., it still had time to work for new ones. The firm was recently hired by the Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co. and won a case last year for the defense electronics contractor before the U.S. Supreme Court. Sidley also landed a new client, the Honeywell Corp., for some environmental and other litigation matters, Phillips says. While many of the firm’s practice areas thrived last year, Phillips says there is room for improvement. He is concerned about the slowdown in work for the environmental practice and would like the firm “to have a broader base in the government contracting area.”

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