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FORMER DOJ LAWYER FIRES BACK AT CRITICS Last week was hard on former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo. First, Yoo’s allies in the Bush administration seemed to abandon him. In a rare move, senior Justice Department lawyers announced June 22 that all OLC opinions on interrogation techniques, including one that seemed to allow torture in certain circumstances, would be reviewed and that broad assertions related to the president’s constitutional powers would be removed. “There are times when people — especially very bright people who know an awful lot and are academically oriented — write things that are broader than a client is asking,” a senior Justice Department official said last week. “Our goal is to offer advice that is comprehensive but that is accurate and tailored to the task before us.” The official added that the “whole memo will likely be replaced by another memo.” The rebuke seemed to point directly at Yoo, a professor at University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall who was deputy assistant AG in the OLC from 2001 to 2003 and was the office’s leading authority on law of war issues. Then, two days later, Yoo came under fire while participating on a panel on war and international law sponsored by D.C.’s American Enterprise Institute.” Do you feel any regret or remorse for having brought this kind of shame onto the country?” an audience member asked Yoo. The audience member was quieted by moderator Baker & Hostetler partner David Rivkin before Yoo had a chance to respond. Yoo, once the White House’s top pick to head the OLC, declines to discuss specific opinions he worked on at Justice, but says critics of the so-called torture memo “misunderstand” the office’s role. “If you’re sending a policeman out onto the streets with a gun, wouldn’t you want him to know how he is legally allowed to use force?” Yoo asks. “Wouldn’t you want him to know that he is allowed to use force in self defense or as a matter of necessity?” While senior officials, including White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, last week repeatedly referred to the OLC memo’s discussion of sweeping commander-in-chief powers as “unnecessary” and pledged to remove the language, they stopped short of renouncing the OLC’s conclusions. Other portions of the opinion are likely to stand, including a determination that acts constituting physical torture must result in pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley says the administration did little to allay concerns. “Everything we’ve heard coming out of the administration supports the legal position that the president could have authorized torture. All they are saying is that, as a matter of policy, he chose not to,” Turley says. — Vanessa Blum CHANCES AREN’T British legal giant Clifford Chance is closing its offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles after the defection of several partners to San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The London-based firm said the California closings were the result of lower-than-expected profitability from the securities litigation group the firm recruited two years ago from the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. But Michael Torpey, the former head of the San Francisco litigation practice and one of the eight partners joining Orrick, denied that profitability in the group had been an issue and instead attributed the parting to Clifford Chance’s failure to expand its West Coast operations. John Carroll, Clifford Chance’s New York-based managing partner for the Americas, said last week that the firm remained committed to the United States, but was revising its strategy in light of its experience in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Clifford Chance will retain a seven-lawyer Palo Alto, Calif., office and a small San Diego office . — Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal KING’S COURT D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III is seeking a second four-year term as head of one of the country’s busiest trial courts. On June 24, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission announced that King, whose term expires at the end of October, has filed a statement requesting another four years. “There’s just a lot going on here, and I’m not done yet,” King says. Any Superior Court judges looking to challenge King have until Aug. 5 to notify the commission. As of press time, none of the court’s 58 judges had done so. If history is any indication, no one will. In 2000, seven judges mounted an unusual public campaign for the job when Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton stepped down. Under King, the court repaired fractured relationships with Congress, established a new Family Court, and implemented community court programs. — Tom Schoenberg STUCK IN NEUTRAL The chances of Senate confirmation for Thomas Griffith, President George W. Bush’s nominee for a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, were never high in this election year. The Washington Post‘s revelation that Griffith has been serving as general counsel of Brigham Young University without a state law license certainly hasn’t helped the candidate. Griffith was nominated May 10 for one of three vacancies on the court. At press time, the American Bar Association had not yet weighed in with its report on Griffith, and a Senate hearing has not yet been scheduled. With the Senate now out of session until July 6 and with a six-week recess for the national political conventions, that doesn’t leave much time. Some think the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary is likely to look askance at Griffith’s failure to keep up his Utah law license. But Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a friend and supporter of Griffith’s, is not wavering. “Senator Hatch has a very high opinion of Tom Griffith’s legal abilities,” says Hatch spokeswoman Margarita Tapia. — Jonathan Groner JUST IN CASE For the first time in several terms, as the Supreme Court races toward adjournment the D.C. rumor mill has been largely silent on the subject of possible retirements among justices. The conventional wisdom is that any justice considering departure would be dissuaded by the near certainty that in this presidential year, no replacement would be confirmed anytime soon. But that did not keep NARAL Pro-Choice America from sending out “emergency instructions” last week to more than 400,000 of its supporters on what to do as soon as a Supreme Court retirement is announced. Step one, says the alert: Call your senator and make it clear how important it is that any replacement be a supporter of “a woman’s right to privacy and choice.” Says NARAL communications director David Seldin: “We believe in being prepared. There haven’t been all the rumblings there were last year at this time, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen this year.” — Tony Mauro A MATTER OF TRUST Federal Trade Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour toasted and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer roasted Lloyd Constantine at the fifth annual American Antitrust Institute conference held last week in the District. Although he brashly trashed his former boss’s tennis skills and a lack of finesse on the ski slopes (observation on skiing with Constantine in Vail: “He looked like the Abominable Snowman.” And to Constantine: “I’ll pay for you to have lessons next time.”), Spitzer still had a few kind words. “He has the aggressiveness of a quintessential New York litigator . . . and the memory of a Pentium processor,” said Spitzer of Constantine. The 57-year-old Constantine, whom Harbour called the “father of state antitrust enforcement,” received the institute’s Antitrust Achievement Award for his work to foster cooperation between states and federal agencies in antitrust enforcement. For more than a decade, Constantine was New York’s assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust enforcement, returning to private practice in 1991. He is the managing partner of Constantine & Partners, a New York firm that concentrates its practice in antitrust and trade regulation. — Lily Henning NEW ALTERNATIVE The McCammon Group, a Richmond, Va., provider of alternative dispute resolution services, has expanded its presence in the D.C. metropolitan area. The company, which offers mediation and arbitration services, added five lawyers to help clients in the District: Two former judges for the D.C. Court of Appeals, Warren King and William Prior,as well as civil litigators Willie Leftwich, Glenn Lewis, and Alexia Morrison. McCammon spokesman Richard Huffman says the move into the District was a response to the needs of the firm’s current customers in Northern Virginia and a recognition of the growth potential for ADR services in the area. The firm now has 17 professionals in the region, and 47 firmwide, Huffman says. Morrison, a former chief litigation counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a newcomer to the ADR business. “I was intrigued by alternative dispute resolution because I think increasingly the courts are overburdened, more costly, and more contentious,” she says. — Christine Hines LEADERSHIP SHUFFLE Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Kenneth Wainstein, who was picked earlier this month to replace former U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard Jr., has begun restructuring the 360-lawyer office. Last week, Wainstein announced that Channing Phillips will be second-in-command as principal assistant U.S. attorney. Phillips, who also serves as the office’s spokesman, was chief of staff to Howard. Phillips replaces Mary Lou Leary, who will now become a special counsel. Mary Patrice Brown,deputy chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, has been promoted to executive assistant U.S. attorney for operations, where she will oversee management and development of criminal justice programs. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Cooper,who is handling the criminal case against former officials of the Washington Teachers Union, has been tapped as acting deputy chief of the fraud unit. “These are people who can make an impact and continue to help build our programs,” says Wainstein. — Tom Schoenberg MONEY MAN Stephen Baker is the new manager for the Citigroup Private Bank Law Firm Group’s Southeastern region. Based in Washington, Baker will oversee a staff of 25 in the group’s D.C. and Miami offices. Baker, who was previously managing director of the group’s Western region, says he will focus on maintaining strong growth in the D.C. and Miami offices, as well as on expansion into the Atlanta market. In the United States and London, the group lends to 550 firms and also offers private banking services to individual partners and associates. The 30-year-old group has seen increasing regional competition from a host of other lenders, including the FleetBoston Financial Corp., Commerce Bancorp Inc., and the Wachovia Corp. — Lily Henning

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