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LAWYERS DOUBLE GIVING IN 2004 CAMPAIGN It’s official: Lawyers outdid themselves in presidential campaign donations in 2004, more than doubling the amount they gave four years ago. Lawyers and law firms have given $26 million to both major party campaigns, compared with $11.5 million in 2000. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) received $15.7 million from lawyers, and the legal profession topped the Democratic nominee’s roster of top donors by industry, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics as of Aug. 2. The Bush campaign took in $10.3 million from the same group. Its final tally of campaign dollars from lawyers is likely higher, however, because President George W. Bush was able to receive private donations until he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination Sept. 2. Kerry had to stop a month earlier. Under federal election law, the candidates can’t raise or spend private donations after accepting their party’s nominations. They are now using nearly $75 million in federal funds for the general election cycle. Both declined to use the public money during the primaries to avoid federal spending limits. Among the 20 companies whose employees contributed the most to Bush’s campaign, only one law firm, Philadelphia-based Blank Rome, made the list, the Center for Responsive Politics says, giving about $220,000 to Bush. Four law firms were on Kerry’s roll of 20 largest donors: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which gave $200,000; Minneapolis-based trial and transactional firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, whose lawyers gave $163,250; and Piper Rudnick, which donated $138,000. Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, whose partnership includes Kerry’s younger brother, Cameron Kerry, donated $110,000 to the campaign. The numbers shouldn’t be surprising in an election that has shattered records for campaign spending. In 2000, lawyers gave just more than $6.1 million to Bush’s campaign and contributed $5.4 million to Vice President Al Gore. And in 1996, President Bill Clinton received $4.4 million from lawyers for his campaign, and the Republican nominee, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, received $1.8 million. Alex Knott, of the nonpartisan watchdog group the Center for Public Integrity, says that some of the spike is — not surprisingly — attributable to trial lawyers. Since 1989, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America has given nearly $23.6 million to political campaigns — 90 percent to Democrats and 10 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. “This is a critical campaign for the law industry — especially for trial lawyers,” Knott says. “Who is in charge in the White House is clearly going to shape the debate over tort reform.” — Lily Henning SCALDING SCALIA In a much-anticipated article in the newest Vanity Fair, author David Margolick details for the first time some of the infighting at the Supreme Court during its hectic deliberations in the 2000 Florida election case Bush v. Gore. Quoting anonymous law clerks — Margolick says he spoke to about one-fourth of the 36 that term — he portrays Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor as hellbent, or nearly so, on achieving a pro-Bush result, no matter what the rationale. Margolick reports that, at one point, Kennedy voted with the liberals to form a majority that would have sent the recount back to the Florida Supreme Court. But Margolick chalks that up to Kennedy’s desire to be seen as agonizing over cases when, in fact, Kennedy was a sure pro-Bush vote. Sure enough, a half-hour later — after being worked on by Scalia and Kennedy’s own clerks — Kennedy switched back to the Scalia position of ending the recount for good, according to Margolick. Scalia, according to Margolick, later told a colleague the Court’s decision to end the Florida recount, based on an equal protection argument, was “a piece of shit.” The article has triggered only one response so far. Scalia, in a statement that came too late to be included in the article, says, “It is untrue that I disparaged the majority opinion . . . after it came down. That charge assumes a high degree of stupidity on my part, inasmuch as I had joined the majority opinion. I have said that, while thinking the majority opinion correct, I preferred the alternative ground relied on by the three-justice plurality . . . which should be evident from the fact that I took the trouble to join that otherwise superfluous writing.” Scalia joined a concurrence by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas ordering the recount stopped based on a different part of the Constitution. Clerks who did not talk to Margolick are angry over what appears to be a breach in the clerks’ code of confidentiality. “I can’t believe they talked,” says one. “No justice on the Court is going to like the article.” — Tony Mauro SLOW RIDE White-collar defense lawyer Carol Elder Bruce says her decision to leave 20-lawyer Tighe Patton Armstrong Teasdale to join more than 200 other lawyers in the D.C. office of Venable was a question of resources. Sitting in a pristine conference room in recently renovated Terrell Place on Seventh Street, N.W., Bruce seems comfortable in her new surroundings. “I just felt the need for a larger support staff,” she says. Bruce came to the firm in early August, but had to make the move gradually — informing clients, moving files — because, among other things, she was nursing a broken ankle. “It didn’t take long for us to realize Carol would be a good fit,” says her new partner, Geoffrey Garinther. Bruce, who in the late 1990s served as independent counsel in a probe of then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, brought 11 separate client matters with her, including a potential class action against the District of Columbia on behalf of a group of college students who claim they were falsely arrested for underage drinking. — Christine Hines BAR NONE Normally, an attorney’s request to appear before a court in a jurisdiction where he is not a member of the bar is nothing more than a formality. But in the public corruption case pitting Delaware’s U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly against D.C. defense lawyers Hamilton “Phil” Fox III, Joseph diGenova, and Victoria Toensing, little has gone smoothly. Last week, the Delaware federal judge assigned to the case barred Fox — a former Justice Department official and one-time chairman of the D.C. Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility — from continued involvement in the case. Fox, who isn’t a member of the Delaware Bar, represents Sherry Freebery, a high-ranking county official facing up to 20 years in prison on corruption charges. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Kent Jordan stated that Fox has material conflicts in the case because he previously represented the county itself. Fox, a partner at D.C.’s Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, calls the ruling “dead wrong” and says he’ll ask the judge to reconsider. “My client is facing very serious criminal charges, and she wants me to represent her,” he says, noting that there is no way to appeal the ruling before trial. — Vanessa Blum KERRY CAMPER Despite being better known for a string of high-profile lawyers who have served in the Bush administration, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has at least one lawyer going to bat for the other side. Late last month, the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry announced that Gibson, Dunn partner Mel Levine would serve as a policy adviser to Kerry on the Middle East. The former California congressman, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Washington, previously served at the request of then-Vice President Al Gore as a co-president of Builders for Peace, the private sector effort to assist the Middle East peace process. He also recently served as the United States’ chair of the U.S.-Israel-Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee established by the Wye Plantation peace agreement. Levine says it “doesn’t do America and America’s friends any favors when America is isolated in the world.” As for a possible role in a Kerry administration, Levine says, “It doesn’t make sense to speculate.” — Lily Henning LOSING INTEREST The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled last week that the D.C. government may not grab interest made on cash deposited by litigants in the D.C. court registry. In a Sept. 9 opinion, the three-judge panel found that it was unconstitutional for the District to take about $40,000 in interest that had accrued on $14,500 deposited in the D.C. Superior Court registry in 1981. The case, Morris Arthur v. District of Columbia, grabbed the attention of D.C. public interest groups such as Ayuda and the Washington Council of Lawyers, which filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Arthur. These groups noted that litigants in landlord-tenant cases typically deposit disputed funds in the court registry. Court officials place those funds in escrow accounts — some of which are interest-bearing. Until now, the D.C. government has transferred any interest made on such deposits into the city’s general fund. “This would suggest the need to change that policy,” says Barbara McDowell of the D.C. Legal Aid Society, which represented Arthur before the appeals court. The appellate panel ordered the trial court to decide how much money is owed to Arthur after deducting administrative and bank fees. The office of D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti did not return calls for comment. — Tom Schoenberg MURIS’ MOVE Former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris has joined O’Melveny & Myers to co-chair the Los Angeles-based firm’s 50-lawyer antitrust practice. During his tenure as chairman, Muris emphasized consumer protection, introducing the Do-Not-Call registry, a list of consumers who are protected from telemarketing calls. A longtime George Mason University School of Law professor, Muris will continue to teach at the Virginia law school and will be of counsel in O’Melveny’s D.C. office. Muris was FTC chairman from June 2001 through August of this year. “We are honored that Tim has joined our firm, particularly given his great appeal and respect in the profession,” says O’Melveny chairman Arthur Culvahouse Jr. Muris could not be reached for comment. — Lily Henning NEW TASK Leslie Caldwell, former head of the Justice Department’s Enron task force, will join Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a partner Sept. 20. Caldwell, who will lead the firm’s white-collar criminal defense team in New York, brings high-level contacts and expertise to her new post. Prior to being tapped to oversee the federal investigation into the collapse of the Houston-based Enron Corp., Caldwell supervised the prosecution of corporate and financial fraud cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. he was personally recruited for the job by then-U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller III, now director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Caldwell says she looks forward to building the firm’s criminal defense practice. “I liked the fact they had offices in the three markets I consider to be most important — Washington, New York, and the West Coast,” she says. To date, the Enron task force has indicted 32 individuals in connection with the scandal, including Enron’s former chairman, Kenneth Lay. — Vanessa Blum

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