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Dan Webb’s chief opponent in the U.S. Department of Justice’s racketeering trial against the tobacco industry will be Sharon Eubanks, a 21-year career attorney with Justice. Eubanks was named the director of the Justice team in March 2000, about six months after the case was filed. She oversees some 25 Justice Department lawyers who work full-time on this matter. Before joining the tobacco team, Eubanks was the deputy director of commercial litigation at the Justice Department. She primarily handled government contract disputes filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The Justice Department declined to allow Eubanks to be interviewed. Lawyers who have worked with her say that the Georgetown University Law Center graduate has substantial trial experience and a strong work ethic. “She’s tried basically hundreds of cases,” says William Schultz, a former deputy assistant attorney general who is now a partner at D.C.’s Zuckerman Spaeder. “She had a reputation as a tenacious litigator,” says Paul Honigberg, a former government tobacco team attorney who is now a partner in the D.C. office of Blank Rome. “She was an indefatigable worker.” In the Court of Federal Claims, Eubanks successfully defended the government in a suit brought by F. Lee Bailey. The criminal defense attorney claimed the government had agreed to let him keep some of the assets of a drug smuggler client. The government denied that it had struck such a deal. In another major case, Eubanks represented the government in a $605 million dispute with the Boeing Co. over a contract to build a “Peace Shield” air defense system for Saudi Arabia. The matter settled in 1997. There aren’t any jury trials in the court of claims, which is good preparation for the tobacco case. “I thought Sharon was very good with handling judges,” says Salomon Gomez, who worked with Eubanks in the commercial litigation unit and is now at the Transportation Security Administration. “She can think on her feet so quickly.” And, says Gomez, she knows when to stop before pushing a judge too far. Gomez describes Eubanks as a fighter: “She’s the type of person who wants to be the leader. She wants to be out in front.” Facing off against Webb, she’ll get her chance. — Susan Beck

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