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Tom DeLay. The Sugarland Machiavelli’s redistricting plan put a herd of Texas Democrats out to pasture and helped expand the GOP’s lead in the House. Plus, he gets to keep his leadership post even if he’s indicted. Jeffrey Fisher. Once an anonymous Seattle associate, he’s now a Supreme Court superstar after two victories: One barring the use of testimony that cannot be cross-examined, and the other possibly toppling federal sentencing guidelines. The kicker: Both decisions were authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, not known as a pal to defendants. Piper Rudnick. A new behemoth is born as the firm hooks up with Britain’s DLA and California’s Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich. The result after the merger takes effect on New Year’s Day: 2,700 lawyers, four co-chairmen, and dreams of worldwide domination. Blank Rome. The firm followed a cardinal inside-the-Beltway rule: Givers are getters. During the 2004 election cycle, it gave more than $1 million to political campaigns, with most going to Republicans. Now the Pennsylvania powerhouse is poised to expand its role as a favorite of the Bush administration. Supreme Court Law Clerks. What color is a job-hunting Supreme Court law clerk’s parachute? Gold. Law firms last summer began paying hiring bonuses of $150,000 to lure high court clerks. When paired with salaries, that means they make $100K more than justices on Day One of private practice — even though they are ethically barred from Supreme Court work for two years. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift. The military defense lawyer filed a Hail Mary habeas petition on behalf of an alleged driver for al Qaeda and stopped the Pentagon’s military trials in their tracks — at least for the moment. Alberto Gonzales. This summer, the president’s Teflon legal adviser couldn’t duck the Abu Ghraib prison scandal when his fingerprints were on a government memo that some said authorized torture. Now, he’s the nominee for attorney general — and people are calling him a moderate. Frank Dunham. The federal public defender in Northern Virginia takes on clients that no one else touches. He won the release of enemy combatant and Saudi national Yaser Esam Hamdi and continues to fight for so-called 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui. Reid Weingarten. The Steptoe & Johnson partner got former Tyco GC Mark Belnick acquitted of all charges, including that he stole a $17 million bonus. For his next trick, he’ll try try to do the same for former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers. Positively Seventh Street. Once a ghost town, the neighborhood around the MCI Center has encouraged a rush of law firm relocations. Among the émigrés: Powell Goldstein, Venable, and Goodwin Procter. Now, if only they could play hockey.

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