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BASEBALL DEAL A HOME RUN FOR LAWYERS For many D.C. lawyers, spending hours in negotiating sessions, wading through complex agreements, and sparring with government officials is a standard part of their professional lives. But for one group, working on the mega-million-dollar deal that brought baseball back to the nation’s capital last week took on a deeper, more personal meaning. On Sept. 29, Major League Baseball officially declared Washington, D.C., as the new home of the Montreal Expos starting next season. When it became clear that the District was the likely choice out of several locations, including Northern Virginia, “that made [the transaction] emotionally exciting in addition to being professionally rewarding,” says Richard Weiss, counsel for Major League Baseball’s Relocation Committee. Weiss, managing partner of Foley & Lardner’s D.C. office, drafted the terms of the deal between the city and MLB. The mission to bring baseball back to the District began 10 years ago with two lawyers: litigator Paul Martin Wolff, a Williams & Connolly partner, and Arnold & Porter partner Stephen Porter, who practices in the real estate, tax, and corporate areas. Wolff then recruited Frederic Malek, chairman of Thayer Capital Partners and a former partner of the Texas Rangers. In 1999, the Washington Baseball Club was founded to secure baseball. “[It] was a group of people who cared about baseball being in Washington,” Wolff says. “It was a means of giving back to the city.” Wolff and the Washington Baseball Club are vying for the rights to buy the team. The club has the backing of another player in the transaction: Vinson & Elkins D.C. partner Mark Tuohey. Unlike Wolff’s 10-year quest, Tuohey’s work on the project started just nine months ago, when D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams named him chair of the D.C. Entertainment and Sports Commission, assigned to persuading MLB to bring the Expos here. “I’m so looking forward to the new Washington Senators or Nationals,” Tuohey says. “I do this for love, not money.” And indeed, he says he wasn’t paid for his work. The city’s legal team was led by Stephen Lyons, senior counsel at the Office of the Attorney General. While he stresses that his job was to negotiate “for the best interests of our client,” Lyons admits that “I love baseball.” Lyons began working on the project about two years ago, joining the commission’s lawyers at Covington & Burling, who started in 2000. Covington partner Bruce Wilson recounts 18-hour days of wading through papers, spending as much as three hours talking over provisions on one page. And of counsel W. Andrew Jack recalls a stall in the negotiations last year: “We really started to build momentum and then suddenly, in mid-July, baseball went radio silent.” Unlike Tuohey, however, Wilson and Jack didn’t work for free. The result made it all worthwhile. Working on a project that will be just a few subway stops away “is a thrill like no other,” Wilson says. � Christine Hines CHASING CLERKS The behind-the-scenes revelations in this month’s Vanity Fair magazine about the 2000 Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore continue to reverberate. In a letter, three Republican senators led by John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked the Judiciary Committee to consider “hearings or other measures” to find out if Court employees � namely law clerks from 2000 � engaged in misconduct by speaking to contributing editor David Margolick for the article. Citing a statement by more than 90 other former clerks and Supreme Court lawyers that appeared in Legal Times Sept. 27 protesting the disclosures, Cornyn said, “If members of the judiciary cannot rely on the confidentiality of their deliberations and discussions with law clerks, the judiciary as we know it simply could not function.” The letter, which may come up at a committee meeting this week, was co-signed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Margolick dismisses the letter as “stupid, pointless posturing.” � Tony Mauro FEEDING FRENZY Within hours of the announcement last week that pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. was recalling its popular arthritis drug Vioxx because it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke, plaintiffs lawyers were off and running. Two Oklahoma City, Okla., firms claim they filed the first lawsuit, but they are hardly alone. “We are not surprised by the laundry list [of symptoms] that Merck brought out because we had suspected Vioxx for a while,” says plaintiffs lawyer Don Strong, who filed his product liability suit in Oklahoma City federal court. He expects many more lawsuits to follow, since about 2 million people take Vioxx worldwide and more than 84 million people have been prescribed Vioxx since it hit the market in 1999. “Whether it is in the thousands or the tens of thousands, we will know in about six months or so,” says Andy Birchfield, a plaintiffs lawyer in Montgomery, Ala. His firm has filed 58 suits against Merck in six states, and he anticipates he will file many more. � Bethany Broida YIN AND YANG Accolades and brickbats are all in a day’s work for a Washington power broker. That’s certainly true for Jamie Gorelick. The Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner and former deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton will get the “Lawyer of the Year” award in December from the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. The timing of the announcement could be better. It comes on the heels of a Sept. 22 report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight that slammed for accounting irregularities mortgage financer Fannie Mae, which Gorelick left as vice chair in 2003. The report also says that executives received hefty bonuses � including $779,625 for Gorelick in 1998 on top of her $567,000 annual salary. A Securities and Exchange Commission probe of Fannie Mae is also under way. Gorelick, however, wasn’t involved in any financial oversight while at the mortgage lender. She will share the bar association’s award with fellow 9/11 commissioner Fred Fielding of Wiley Rein & Fielding. But the third high-profile D.C. lawyer on the commission, Richard Ben-Veniste of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, wasn’t included. William Davis, president of the bar association and a partner at Ross, Marsh & Foster in Washington, says the award wasn’t just for work on the 9/11 commission, but for Gorelick and Fielding’s “services as lawyers throughout their careers.” Gorelick says it was “lovely of the bar association to recognize” Fielding and her, but declined to comment on the Fannie Mae report. � Lily Henning SEEKING SHELTER Wissam Abyad, an Egyptian citizen, embarked on an Internet relationship not knowing it would result in jail time. But in January 2003, when he decided to meet his mystery partner for lunch at a McDonald’s in Cairo, he ended up in handcuffs. Abyad, a gay man, had unknowingly exchanged e-mails with an undercover police officer. Abyad was ultimately sentenced to 15 months in prison on a charge of “habitual debauchery” � a public morality law frequently applied in Egypt to criminalize homosexuality. After serving his full sentence, Abyad moved to the United States and turned to Holland & Knight to seek asylum. The firm’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender work group took the case, and on Sept 27, attorneys Mark Smith, Christopher Nugent, and Zachary Potter and paralegal Ruthe Canter, who all worked pro bono, received written notice that asylum had been granted. Smith says it was a case that should never have surfaced from the start. “What is so disturbing is the Egyptian government has made it so difficult for gay people to assemble publicly,” he says, referring to Abyad’s lunchtime arrest at McDonald’s.”I mean, you show up for these great, tasty french fries, and you end up with a year in prison.” � Jennifer Mann EXTREME MAKEOVER The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Oct. 5 in a case that could continue the Court’s recent trend of curbing trademark owners’ rights. An infringement dispute between two permanent makeup companies, KP Permanent Make-Up v. Lasting Impression is also expected to resolve inconsistent rulings among the lower courts on the “fair use” defense. The defense is available to an accused infringer, such as KP, that asserts it used the words of another’s mark � in this case, “micro colors” � in their usual descriptive meaning to describe its own product. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that KP could not rely on the fair use defense because its use of “micro colors” was likely to confuse customers. Members of the trademark bar expressed their concern in amicus briefs that such a standard could undermine the fair use defense. And observers suggest the Court may not follow the 9th Circuit’s lead. Morrison & Foerster partner Beth Brinkmann will argue for trademark owner Lasting Impression. � Christine Hines STRIP CLUB The message from the Republican Policy Committee chairman, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), is clear: Keep “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. As a means to that end, a policy paper issued last week to Republican leadership by Kyl’s committee advocates “jurisdiction stripping.” The goal of such legislation is to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over specific issues, such as those relating to the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. A bill passed by the House Sept. 23 eliminates all federal court jurisdiction including Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over cases challenging the Pledge. Calls to Kyl’s office asking whether he would introduce similar legislation in the Senate were not returned. The report says that jurisdiction stripping “tells the court that overreaching will not go unnoticed.” � Lily Henning RUSSIAN IN Jones Day announced the opening of its 30th office last week, this one in Moscow. The five-lawyer office, headed by Vladimir Lechtman, will concentrate on cross-border transactions, including those in the energy, telecommunications, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. “We didn’t just look at a map and say there are a lot of consumers there,” he says. “We had a deal flow.” Most recently the firm represented oil producer TNK and its shareholders in the formation of TNK-BP, a historic $18 billion joint venture with oil-company BP p.l.c. The largest deal in Russian corporate history, it made BP the world’s second-largest private-sector producer. � Lily Henning FIRST AID The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia has announced the final figures for its “Generous Associates Campaign: Giving for Justice” last week, exceeding its fund-raising goal for the year by more than $50,000. The annual campaign raised more than $416,000 in contributions this year, which will go to help the society provide free legal representation to the city’s poorest residents. Jonathan Smith, the society’s executive director, calls the generosity displayed by the 100 law firms that participated in this year’s campaign “indispensable.” Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr led the donations with more than $57,000, and partner Seth Waxman served as honorary chair of the campaign. In addition, Latham & Watkins; McKenna, Long & Aldridge; Alston & Bird; Gilbert, Heintz & Randolph; and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips each contributed the largest amount in their respective size category. “The Legal Aid Society is one of the city’s most worthy, effective institutions,” Waxman says. � Bethany Broida

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