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CRAVATH ADDS FIRST LATERAL IN 60 YEARS Cravath, Swaine & Moorehas elected a lateral partner, its first in more than six decades. Andrew Needham, a tax partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, has been accepted into the partnership at Cravath. He is expected to join the firm in April. In a Feb. 28 memo announcing the move internally, Robert Joffe, the presiding partner at Cravath, called the hiring a “nearly unique event” and said it would remain so. “It represents a rare exception to, and not a change in, our normal practice of selecting partners only from among our associates,” he continued in the memo. “That practice has served the firm well for many years and will continue to be our practice in the future.” Though the hiring of lateral partners has become practically routine, the most elite New York firms have remained largely averse to the practice, fearing the dilution of their firm cultures. These firms, which in addition to Cravath include Sullivan & Cromwell; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and Davis Polk & Wardwell, have mostly argued that only partners who have trained together, preferably from their earliest years as associates, can rely on each other to maintain high standards of work quality and agree to a lockstep system of compensation in which partners are paid according to seniority rather than business origination. But even these firms have occasionally resorted to lateral hiring to boost capabilities or to enter new markets. In an interview, Joffe says that there is not an absolute bar on lateral hiring at Cravath, but the firm has to be convinced of both the necessity of the hire and the rightness of the candidate. In this case, he says, the firm had determined that it needed another veteran tax partner to fill a gap in the practice left by the departure of partner Lewis Steinberg, who left earlier this year to become a managing director at UBS, an investment bank. A very small number of lateral partners do not pose a threat to firm culture, Joffe says. � Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal TAXMAN COMETH D.C. telecom baron Walter Anderson, accused of evading more than $200 million in taxes, juggled his legal team last week. Out: John Moustakasof Goodwin Procter. In: Abbe Lowellof Chadbourne & Parke. The move comes a year after Moustakas replaced Warren Fitchof Swidler Berlin. Moustakas won’t speak directly to the reasons for the change, though he notes that Anderson gave an “unauthorized interview” to The Washington Poston March 4 in which he admits moving millions to offshore accounts, but contends he wasn’t doing so to avoid taxes. The interview caught the attention of D.C. federal Judge Paul Friedman, who voiced concern over the effect on potential jurors. Lowell denies that differences over media led Anderson to switch lawyers, noting that it’s not unusual for defendants to change counsel after indictment. “John Moustakas is a really, really good criminal defense lawyer,” Lowell says. “But I’m older. I’m a more experienced criminal defense attorney.” � Jason McLure LINE OF CREDIT Intriguing details are in the bankruptcy bill, which last week gained congressional approval and is expected to become law. For example, the bill mandates that people filing for bankruptcy first obtain a “briefing” on bankruptcy alternatives from an approved credit counseling agency at a “reasonable” fee. Those actually filing must receive an “instructional course” on personal financial management before debts are forgiven. The Justice Department’s U.S. Trustee program will decide which counselors meet the grade. “We expect to see an incremental increase in business,” says William Binzel, a lobbyist at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Members of Binzel’s group have good reputations, but not so the industry. Counseling agencies are on the Internal Revenue Service’s 2005 list of tax scams, and trustee oversight may not be enough. “My guess is that the U.S. Trustee will be overwhelmed,” says Henry Sommerof the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. � T.R. Goldman RUSHING JURORS? A D.C. man convicted of firearms possession and sentenced to four years in prison is getting a new trial after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuitruled last week that U.S. District Judge James Robertsoncoerced the jury into rendering a verdict. The appeals court ruled that James Yarborough’s conviction was the result of Robertson’s “intrusive interchanges” with the jury during Yarborough’s June 2003 trial. When the jury sent a note to Robertson that it was “not able to make new progress” and asked him what to do next, he brought them into the courtroom and questioned the foreperson about the deadlock. Robertson also had conversations throughout the trial with jurors in the jury room without lawyers for either side present, according to the decision. And in delivering instructions to the jury, Roberston said, “I think that the record should reflect that you have now been deliberating for a longer period of time than it took you to hear the evidence in the case. . . . I have to make very, very clear that I have no wish or intention to force a verdict from you, and neither am I asking you to stay in that jury room forever.” Less than an hour later, jurors rendered a guilty verdict. The D.C. Circuit decision, by Judge A. Raymond Randolph, calls Robertson’s conduct “irregular” and his instructions a possible “rebuke” to jurors. � Lily Henning DEPUTY DOGGED The Center for Constitutional Rightsis urging the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to open an ethics probe of Deputy Attorney General James Comey Jr.The group contends that Comey violated legal ethics rules when, in a June 2004 press conference, he outlined the alleged involvement of accused terrorist Jose Padillain an al Qaeda plot to blow up apartment buildings in U.S. cities. “We think what Comey did was absolutely outrageous,” says American University Washington College of Law professor Herman Schwartz, who joined CCR in the complaint. “A lawyer for the government cannot make statements that might prejudice any proceeding in which imprisonment is at stake.” During the briefing, Comey referred to admissions allegedly made by Padilla during interrogations. Legal ethics expert Stephen Gillersof New York University School of Law says prosecutors take a risk when publicly discussing defendant admissions. Comey, whose office oversees the OPR, declined comment through a spokesman. � Vanessa Blum SHAW SHORN The exodus continues at Shaw PittmanConnie Mackannounced last week that he and five others from the government relations team � Tom Spulak, Andrew Woods, Mark Smith, Viraj Mirani, and Claudia Hrvatin� were jumping to the D.C. office of King & Spalding. The reason, according to Shaw Pittman: conflicts with an aerospace client of Pillsbury Winthrop, Shaw Pittman’s merger partner. “Like so many things in life, there are winners and losers,” says Mack. Client conflicts in the semiconductor and technology sector led IP partner Yitai Hu, based in Menlo Park, Calif., and Taiwan, and four associates to move to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The biggest defection came in the form of six corporate partners in Northern Virginia setting up shop at Morrison & Foerster. The group � Lawrence Yanowitch, Thomas Knox, Jack Lewis, Charles Katz, Gregory Giammittorio, and John Harper� is now trying to woo up to 14 other Shaw Pittman lawyers to MoFo, says Nicholas Spiliotes, chair of MoFo’s business department. Steven Meltzer, head of Shaw Pittman’s Northern Virginia office, says he expects far fewer to leave. Knox, speaking on behalf of the new MoFo partners, says the move isn’t a jab at the merger, but an indication that the partners believed they’d find better opportunities elsewhere. � Emma Schwartz HEALTHY CHOICE Tommy Thompsonlast practiced law 18 years ago, but that didn’t keep Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feldfrom jumping at the chance to bring the former secretary of Health and Human Services into its D.C. office. Thompson says he doesn’t have clients yet, but that “they’re calling.” A source with knowledge of the negotiations says the firm offered Thompson a salary “equivalent to that of a senior partner” and that Thompson chose Akin Gump over six other large firms. Thompson will split his time between Akin Gump and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche USA. Akin Gump chairman R. Bruce McLeansays Thompson will advise health care companies, but won’t “diminish himself” by lobbying. “Going over [to Capitol Hill], arm-twisting, that’s not really appropriate,” McLean says. “We’ve got arm-twisters and mud wrestlers here. We can do that.” � Jason McLure

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