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THIS LAWYER’S LOOKING FOR A NEW GIG A few days after Thanksgiving, Sen. John Edwards took off on what he called the “Thank You Tour” in his home state of North Carolina. The 51-year-old former Democratic vice presidential hopeful, whose Senate term ends next month, is making it clear he isn’t about to bid farewell to public life. But staying in the political limelight could be the former trial lawyer’s toughest challenge yet, says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “It’s a major problem,” Sabato says. “And there’s no easy solution.” Edwards has said that he wants to remain a “spokesman for middle America” and focus on issues like homeland security and the economy. He made millions of dollars as a plaintiffs lawyer in North Carolina, but friends say he has no interest in joining a law or lobbying firm, either in D.C. or in his home state. Edwards’ spokesman Mike Briggs says his boss won’t return to the practice of law, adding that “public service is where his heart is.” Sabato points to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) as an example of one recent vice presidential nominee’s fast fade. And Lieberman, Al Gore’s running mate in 2000 and an early dropout from the 2004 presidential race, had a Senate seat � which Edwards won’t. In spite of that, Edwards will keep a voice in public affairs, maintains Raleigh, N.C., lawyer Ed Turlington, Edwards’ former law partner and his presidential campaign chair, who says Edwards has offers from a number of colleges and think tanks. Both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University are publicly jockeying to bring Edwards on board. Edwards, a 1977 graduate of the UNC School of Law, and his family are building a house in Orange County, a short distance from the UNC campus. Gene Nichol, dean of the UNC law school, says he would be surprised to see Edwards teach full-time. “If Senator Edwards wanted to work on public policy issues here, it would be sensible and a great boon to our program,” Nichol says, adding that the work would be conducted in an “academic, nonpartisan way.” The law school is home to the Center For Civil Rights, led by former NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund leader Julius Chambers. Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan proved it is possible to make national comebacks after stinging losses, UVA’s Sabato says, adding that Edwards needs to make “weighty speeches” at every chance, because teaching would “tie him down.” Turlington says Edwards is already in heavy demand to campaign for candidates around the country and will travel overseas as well. “He has a unique opportunity not to be tied to Washington,” Turlington says, “to go out and listen and learn from people all over the country.” � Lily Henning TWO MASTERS The intelligence reform bill passed by Congress last week promises to complicate life at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While the FBI remains a Justice Department component and answers to the Attorney General, it soon will serve a second master � the new director of national intelligence. The legislation, intended to get the federal intelligence community working together, establishes an FBI Directorate of Intelligence that will come under the coordination and direction of the new national intelligence czar. The director of national intelligence will oversee the FBI’s intelligence spending and set priorities for certain FBI investigations. Steven Aftergood, who monitors the intelligence community for D.C.’s Federation of American Scientists, says it is not clear how the separate lines of authority to the AG and the intelligence director will mesh, but that similar issues pertaining to Defense Department intelligence agencies almost derailed the bill. FBI spokesman Bill Carter says that the bureau supported the law, but he declined comment on the law’s implementation. � Vanessa Blum JUROR JAMBOREE Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor thanked a group of potential D.C. Superior Court jurors for their service last week. “I hope you will gain respect for the system and help make it work,” she told several dozen prospective jurors who included Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. O’Connor’s visit was timed to coincide with the release of an American Bar Association report examining ways to improve the jury process and participation. In the District, less than half the people called for jury duty respond to the summons. The recommendations, which will be submitted to the ABA’s governing body for approval in February, are aimed at protecting juror privacy and making the experience more pleasant. In addition to privacy guidelines, the group recommends allowing jurors to submit questions for witnesses during civil trials, letting jurors take notes during trials, and increasing juror pay. � Bethany Broida COURT REPORTERS A packed courtroom on Dec. 8 watched the latest round of wrangling between Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper over who illegally leaked the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame. Miller, of The New York Times, and Cooper, of Time magazine, are among several reporters who have been hit with grand jury subpoenas directing them to testify about their sources on the Plame story. Attempts to quash the subpoenas in federal district court failed, moving the action up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. There, First Amendment doyen Floyd Abrams of Cahill Gordon & Reindell in New York argued to a three-judge panel that a reporter’s contacts with sources are privileged under federal common law and largely immune from government inquiry. Judge David Sentelle wasn’t buying. He testily challenged Abrams several times to explain how the Plame case was distinguishable from Branzburg v. Hayes, the 1972 Supreme Court decision holding that reporters enjoy no First Amendment or common law privilege exempting them from grand jury testimony. Judge David Tatel piled on as well, asking Abrams how he would define the scope of the privilege. Would it cover freelancers or bloggers who post military secrets on a homemade Web site? Abrams soft-shoed a bit before conceding that it would. By the end of the one-hour argument, the panel seemed at best prepared to recognize only a qualified reporter’s privilege under federal common law. � Douglas McCollam DECALOGUE DEFENSE The Bush administration last week joined the fray over the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays in public places. After what one knowledgeable source described as “some internal debate” within the administration, acting Solicitor General Paul Clement told the Supreme Court on Dec. 8 that a display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courthouses does not violate the First Amendment. Marc Stern, co-director of the American Jewish Congress’ Commission for Law and Social Action, says the government’s brief in McCreary County v. ACLU is a “good, moderate statement of a position I believe to be wrong.” But Stern says the brief surprised him, because Clement told him months ago the government would not file in the case. Clement declines comment, but a Justice Department source says the administration never decided to stay out of the case. Jay Sekulow, whose American Center for Law and Justice defends Ten Commandments displays and also filed a brief last week, says he was “not surprised that the government jumped in,” especially in light of the recent election. � Tony Mauro CUT DOWN Two D.C. offenders serving 30-year sentences for their role in a violent crack-cocaine gang had their sentences dramatically reduced by a federal judge. On Dec. 2, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a deal between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and lawyers for William Hoyle and Donnie Strothers. The deal should free the two in the next few months, according to Hoyle’s lawyer, Joanne Slaight. Hoyle and Strothers had claimed in court papers that the key prosecutor in their 1993 trial, G. Paul Howes, committed prosecutorial misconduct by paying government witnesses. Two years ago, the top four convicted leaders of the Newton Street Crew had their life sentences cut back after a Justice Department investigation found that Howes improperly paid witnesses. Howes left the federal prosecutor’s office in 1995 and is now a partner in a San Diego law firm. Neither Howes, nor his lawyer, Plato Cacheris, returned calls seeking comment. � Tom Schoenberg AG AGITATION With a Republican majority in the Senate, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales is on track to be confirmed as attorney general. But first, critics of the Bush administration want Gonzales to answer some tough questions about his role in the treatment of prisoners captured in the war on terror. Last week, nine human rights organizations sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to “determine whether [Gonzales] has shown contempt for international law and U.S. obligations under duly ratified treaties.” On Dec. 3, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, reiterated demands for documents related to the Bush administration’s policies on torture. “Questions remain unanswered on a host of issues,” Leahy wrote to Gonzales. A lawyer with one of the groups that signed onto the letter says he isn’t optimistic that Gonzales will respond. “I have a feeling that Gonzales and the others are going to stand firm and not release anything and claim executive privilege,” says Avi Cover of Human Rights First. “If that happens, I hope that Sen. Leahy and others will change their current inclinations to confirm him.” � Vanessa Blum SAUDI ALLIANCE Hogan & Hartson has cemented a formal alliance with the 30 attorneys of the Riyadh-based Law Firm of Salah Al-Hejailan. While Al-Hejailan’s energy, finance, and government contracts reach helped drive the deal, the firm leader is better known for rescuing Westerners ensnared in the Saudi justice system. In 1998, his representation helped two British nurses accused of murder gain a pardon from Saudi King Fahd. Last year, Al-Hejailan’s work led to the freeing of six Britons and a Belgian held for two years in a Saudi jail on charges of orchestrating a bombing campaign in 2000 and 2001. Hogan & Hartson chairman J. Warren Gorrell Jr. says the alliance is an outgrowth of the firm’s Middle East practice, but that doesn’t mean it is a precursor to a new office: “We are not putting any of our lawyers in Saudi Arabia.” � Jason McLure IN-HOUSE HIKE Overall, in-house corporate legal hiring for 2005 looks likely to jump 7 percent from last year’s figures, according to a new poll of 167 chief legal officers conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel and legal consultants Altman Weil Inc. The survey also says few chief legal officers are considering changing their outside counsel in the coming year, notwithstanding survey results that indicated that 59 percent of chief counsel either fired or considered firing at least one of their outside law firms in 2004, for reasons including a lack of responsiveness and cost control. Daniel DiLucchio, a principal with Altman Weil, cites the need to cut costs as a major issue in the coming year, saying, “CFOs and CLOs are increasingly being pressured to reduce costs. Increasing in-house resources is less expensive than using outside counsel.” � Amanda Montez

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