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FREDDIE MAC GETS FRIENDLY WITH THE GOP Ralph Boyd is becoming an ambassador for Freddie Mac. After less than a year as general counsel at Freddie, Boyd, a former senior Justice Department official under then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, will take on a more public role as chairman of the privately held mortgage lender’s charitable foundation. Boyd’s ascension could be another signal that Freddie, which continues to endure close scrutiny from Republicans on the Hill in the wake of a multibillion-dollar accounting misstatement, is trying to bolster its relationship with the GOP. The move comes just as the White House last week called for a new, more-stringent regulator for government-sponsored housing enterprises. “We’re trying to establish a sustained future relationship with regulators and those investigating us,” Boyd says. Boyd says that one of his achievements as general counsel was bringing in Timothy McBride as the company’s new top lobbyist. A former special assistant to President George H.W. Bush, McBride left his position as chief federal lobbyist for the Daimler Chrysler Corp. Charles Gabriel, an analyst and senior vice president at the Prudential Equity Group, says that McBride is “certainly bright and well-regarded, and will probably enjoy good relations at the White House.” Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, is a former colleague of McBride’s from the first Bush White House. In 2003, Card was put in charge of a group studying presidential appointments to the boards of Freddie Mac and its big sister, Fannie Mae. Along with his work at the Freddie Mac Foundation, the largest corporate philanthropy in the D.C. area, Boyd will be executive vice president for community relations. In that role, he’ll be working closely with McBride and Hollis McLaughin, a former Treasury Department chief of staff in the first Bush administration who came to Freddie last April. Freddie promoted longtime Deputy Counsel Joan Donoghue to Boyd’s old spot. — Lily Henning OFFICE SPACE With a Web site littered with video games, an office that’s won numerous design awards, and a listing in Washingtonian magazine’s 2003 “50 Great Places to Work,” you’d think staff turnover at legal marketing firm Greenfield/Belser Ltd. would be rare. But since Dec. 1, the District business has seen 11 of its roughly three dozen Washington staffers depart or announce their resignations, according to former employees. By one ex-staffer’s estimate, the firm has gone through more than 30 employees in two years. The source of the turnover, say four departed workers who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation: G/B President Burkey Belser. Among the complaints cited by each of the former employees interviewed: Belser’s penchant for launching public, profanity-laced barrages as a means of staff criticism. But John Bruns, an art director who left G/B after five years for the Design Channel, says he “never experienced anything like that.” Belser says he doesn’t have data on staff departures at the firm, but notes that turnover in the marketing and communications field is very high. “My style may not be for everyone,” Belser says. “We’re really relaxed in how we behave and react and have extraordinarily high standards. It’s my job to enforce those standards.” — Jason McLure COM CENTRAL Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has snared John Rogovin, the general counsel of the Federal Communication Commission. Appointed as the agency’s top lawyer in 2003, Rogovin represented the agency in key legal battles, including cases involving local telephone competition and the fight over media ownership in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Rogovin was also the FCC’s lead negotiator in the $4 billion settlement of a long dispute between the agency and bankrupt NextWave Telecom Inc. over airwave licenses. Before joining the FCC, Rogovin was a litigation partner with O’Melveny & Myers and an assistant to then-Attorney General Janet Reno. — Lily Henning CHOPPING BLOCH Seven career employees in the Office of the Special Counsel are facing termination after refusing an involuntary transfer to three field offices in other parts of the country. “At this point, there looks like there is very little hope for the employees,” says Anthony Vergnetti of Shaw, Bransford, Veilleux & Roth, an attorney for some of them. The OSC says the transfers are part of a reorganization effort designed to enhance field operations. However, three government watchdog groups say the transfers are actually part of a larger effort to punish employees who questioned some of the initiatives of Special Counsel Scott Bloch. Several House members had asked Bloch to postpone the transfers in order to give the Government Accounting Office time to investigate the matter, but Bloch refused. Cathy Deeds, a spokeswoman for the office, says, “Some employees are taking the reassignments and some are not, and we’re really still in the process of waiting to hear the final decisions. “ — Bethany Broida BONUS BOMB Although many D.C. law firms say 2004 was a good year for profits, associates at two firms say they aren’t so sure. Their complaint: Profit-sharing bonuses haven’t been handed out. January came and went, and senior associates at Howrey Simon Arnold & White didn’t receive their profit-sharing bonus. First handed out three years ago, the bonus gives senior associates a taste of the firm’s profits and comes on top of merit-based bonuses. “There is a lot of bad blood because this thing didn’t get paid,” says one associate. Managing partner Robert Ruyak says the problem wasn’t profitability, but cash flow. The firm, Ruyak says, didn’t receive a $5 million payment it was expecting at the end of the year. And at Arnold & Porter, several associates say they didn’t receive their health-of-the-firm bonuses — which are paid in addition to the firm’s hourly bonuses. The firm declined to comment, and at least one associate is blasé about the omission: “Whether or not we get this check is not something I’m going to lose sleep over.” — Emma Schwartz POWER LOSS Dorsey & Whitney D.C. managing partner Richard Powers and fellow energy partner Steven Adducci left the firm last week to become the only full-time energy lawyers at Venable. Venable’s D.C. managing partner, William Coston, says the move is “a start to building a full-service energy practice.” The departures come less than two weeks after eight partners in Dorsey’s New York office bolted for Arnold & Porter. Dorsey has recently shuttered several satellite offices, including those in Northern Virginia, Tokyo, and Brussels. Its D.C. office, which boasted 55 attorneys a few years ago, now lists just 16. Andrew Brown, chairman of Dorsey’s energy practice, says his firm is making “a serious effort to refocus our practice in D.C.” — Jason McLure JUDGE JOB With the pending retirement of D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Annice Wagner, the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission is soliciting nominations for her spot on the court. Wagner, who joined the Court of Appeals in 1990 and has led it since 1994, announced last week that she plans to retire in May. While the commission must submit a list of three potential nominees to President George W. Bush to fill Wagner’s vacancy, the selection of her successor as chief judge rests with the commission. In 2002, Wagner won an unprecedented third term as chief judge despite concerns over delays in resolving cases. However, she is also praised for repairing fractured relationships with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and for her handling of the court’s financial difficulties. Nominations will be accepted until March 10. — Bethany Broida REVOLVING DOOR Turnover continued at Swidler Berlin last week. On Feb. 7, intellectual property partners James Laughlin and John Moran departed for the D.C. office of Holland & Knight. The same day, energy partner David Rubin left for the D.C. office of Troutman Sanders. “In this era you have to have resources,” Laughlin says, noting that Holland & Knight has about 75 IP lawyers nationwide, compared with Swidler’s 10-attorney group. Laughlin says that all of his clients are coming with him to Holland & Knight, a list that includes the 3Com Corp. and the Dow Corning Corp. Two days after the departures, Swidler hired two new of counsels in D.C.: tax specialist Jewell Lim Esposito of Thelen Reid & Priest and litigator Daniel Volkmuth of Patton Boggs. — Jason McLure IN MEMORIAM The D.C. legal community paid respects to one of its longtime pillars Feb. 11 at a memorial service for James Bierbower. The former D.C. Bar president and zealous lawyer for both high-profile and lesser-known clients died Feb. 5 at the age of 81. “Jim liked everything about the law practice,” said longtime friend Jacob Stein of Stein, Mitchell & Mezines in D.C. “He liked meeting clients, rich or poor. In any one month, his clients might include the president of a large corporation and a government official charged with, as Jim put it, ‘driving under the influence of a lobbyist’s cocktail party.’ ” In a practice spanning 50 years, including five years at Covington & Burling, Bierbower represented the likes of Richard Nixon aide Jeb Stuart Magruder during Watergate. Bierbower steered the D.C. Bar through its transition from a voluntary to a mandatory bar association in the early 1980s. “The D.C. Bar is deeply saddened by the death of one of its past presidents. He made very important contributions to his bar and to our community,” said John C. Keeney Jr., current D.C. Bar president and partner at Hogan & Hartson. — Tony Mauro

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