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COCHRAN’S HIGH COURT CASE MAY LIVE ON Even in death, famed Los Angeles lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr. still has a chance at legal immortality: a Supreme Court decision bearing his name. Less than a week before he died on March 29, the case of Ulysses Tory v. Johnnie Cochran Jr., a dispute between Cochran and a disgruntled former client, was argued before the Supreme Court. Lawyers for both sides agree that Cochran’s death does not automatically moot the case, which has potentially important First Amendment ramifications. “I have options. I have a lot of questions. I don’t have answers,” says Cochran’s lawyer in the Supreme Court case, Jonathan Cole of the Sherman Oaks, Calif., firm of Nemecek & Cole. The high court apparently has questions, too. On March 30, the Court asked both sides for their views of the impact of Cochran’s death on the case. “It’s a novel situation, so there aren’t clear rules about what happens next,” says Duke Law School professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who argued before the Court March 22 on behalf of Cochran’s ex-client, Tory. At issue in the case is an injunction Cochran sought and won from a California judge in 2002 to keep Tory from harassing him. Upset with Cochran’s representation in a civil rights lawsuit in the 1980s, Tory picketed Cochran’s office a decade later with signs calling him a liar and a crook. The injunction bars Tory from picketing Cochran or his law firm offices and from uttering statements about Cochran in any public forum. Tory is asking the high court to find that the injunction violates his free speech rights. In arguing that mootness is not a sure thing, Chemerinsky notes that aspects of the injunction outlive Cochran. For example, he says the injunction bars Tory from making any statements about Cochran’s firm � not just Cochran himself. “This obviously continues after death,” says Chemerinsky. Meanwhile, business will continue at the Cochran Firm‘s eight-lawyer D.C. office, one of 13 nationwide, with its mix of medical malpractice, personal injury, and civil rights cases. “It’s what Johnnie wanted,” says Cochran Firm lawyer Janell Byrd-Chichester. � Tony Mauro PATRIOT PUSH Congressional debate over reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act kicks off this week with two days of testimony from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the House and Senate Judiciary committees. The upcoming debate is triggered by a sunset provision in the law that takes effect at the end of the year. While several months remain before key pieces of the bill expire, White House and Hill Republicans want to act before a possible vacancy on the Supreme Court makes political cooperation between Republicans and Democrats on the Patriot Act more difficult. The congressional effort is likely to culminate in a new bill that fine-tunes some of the law’s more controversial provisions. At the top of critics’ hit lists are sections that authorize law enforcement to delay notice of search warrants and to demand records from third parties in connection with national security investigations. � Vanessa Blum COPPING A PLEA Former National Security Adviser Samuel “Sandy” Berger experienced life as a perp last week at D.C.’s federal court. Berger pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of removing confidential documents from the National Archives and Records Administration in 2003. The plea agreement states that the Justice Department will seek a $10,000 fine and that Berger will lose his security clearance for the next three years. When asked by Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson why he chose to plead guilty, Berger said, “This is a truthful pleading, Your Honor.” DOJ trial attorney Thomas Reilly told Robinson that had the case gone to trial, the government would have proved that Berger intentionally removed five copies of classified national security documents from the National Archives on two separate occasions. Reilly said Berger destroyed three of these copies. The former Bill Clinton official then had to walk through a gaggle of reporters in order to register with the court’s Pretrial Services and Probation offices. Berger remains free until his sentencing July 8. � Tom Schoenberg WORD PLAY In 1994, John Bolton, the current, controversial nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said of the U.N.: “The secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Bolton’s appearance was videotaped by the conference sponsor, the pro-U.N. body now known as Citizens for Global Solutions, and now his comments are part of a campaign to derail his nomination ahead of an April 7 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. But a pro-Bolton group, Move America Forward, also has put the Bolton tape on its Web site. “The reasons they are crying about Bolton’s nomination are the same reasons why we are celebrating it,” read a message on the site. It all has pro-U.N supporters strenuously lobbying Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), perhaps the most pivotal member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. U.N. supporters hope to persuade Chafee to vote against Bolton, currently a State Department undersecretary, and deadlock the committee. “The intensity [of the lobbying] is skyrocketing,” notes blogger Steve Clemons, who opposes Bolton. “Two weeks ago, there was no sense that opponents of Bolton had a chance.” � T.R. Goldman GOING OUTSIDE D.C.’s Carlyle Group created the world’s biggest corporate buyout fund last week � announcing it had raised more than $10 billion in private equity. But although Carlyle shares space at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., with three D.C. law offices, the midwives of the new mega-fund were Manhattan lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Corporate partner Thomas Bell led the deal and helped draft and negotiate terms with investors. That, says Bell, involved haggling over investment terms buried in a “stop-a-speeding-bullet-sized pile of documents.” For Simpson Thacher, Carlyle’s primary fund counsel, the deal represented more than 4,000 billable hours. Why Simpson Thacher and not a local firm? “We’ve worked with them for years and years on virtually all our funds,” says Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman. � Jason McLure LATHAM LINK The Bush administration raided the partner ranks of the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins last week, tapping partners Philip Perry and Alice Fisher for high-profile executive branch posts. President George W. Bush announced plans to nominate Perry, the son-in-law of Vice President Dick Cheney, to serve as general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. During Bush’s first term in office, Perry served as general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, where he helped to draft legislation creating the department. Since returning to Latham in 2003, he has chaired the firm’s homeland security practice. If confirmed by the Senate, Perry will join another influential Latham alum � DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We have tremendous talent in our halls, and the administration knows it,” says Latham partner Maureen Mahoney. Fisher, who is slated to run the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, has close ties to Chertoff, dating back to the Senate Whitewater investigation. From 2001 to 2003, Fisher served as Chertoff’s principal deputy in the Criminal Division, overseeing the division’s Fraud and Counterterrorism sections. � Vanessa Blum ROPING RUDY The hire of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani by Bracewell & Patterson gives the Houston-based firm an iconic name to help start up its Big Apple practice. The firm will change its name to Bracewell & Giuliani, effective March 31, and it hopes to have 30 lawyers in its midtown Manhattan office by the end of the year. Patrick Oxford, the firm’s managing partner, says that the office, which will open in May, could grow to upward of 100 lawyers in the next two years. “I’ve been at Bracewell for 35 years, and this by far is the most exciting thing that’s happened,” Oxford says. But the firm ever-so-slightly seems to be hedging its bets: Bracewell isn’t leasing permanent office space in New York. Oxford says that the firm will expand only if the firm attracts enough clients. Plus, Giuliani may be looking to run for public office again � perhaps for president in 2008. And that would give the firm only two years to capitalize on its new star’s potential rainmaking abilities. � Anna Palmer SHIP SHAPE Longtime D.C. lawyer cop Wallace “Gene” Shipp Jr. has been promoted to D.C. bar counsel. Shipp replaces Joyce Peters, who stepped down after five years as head of the office that investigates and brings charges against crooked or unethical lawyers. Shipp, who has served as deputy bar counsel for 21 years, had been acting bar counsel since November, after Peters took leave to have surgery on her ankle. The D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility offered Shipp the job on March 23. Just the seventh person to hold the position, Shipp has worked under every one of his predecessors. “I feel strongly in what this office does,” says Shipp, noting that it opens about 450 investigations a year and prosecutes or disciplines about 100 lawyers a year. “It was time to take a more-leadership position.” � Tom Schoenberg L.A. LAW Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky has opened its first office west of the Mississippi by scooping up the 10-lawyer Los Angeles insurance policyholder boutique Pasich & Kornfeld. Former name partners Kirk Pasich and Linda Kornfeld are well-traveled: It’s the duo’s fourth firm in as many years. The two had joined the L.A. office of Howrey Simon Arnold & White in 2001 after most of their former firm, Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick & Tobey, joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. In 2003, Pasich and Kornfeld left Howrey to go out on their own. “My group seems like a bunch of nomads,” Pasich says. “We weren’t looking to join a firm.” Dickstein managing partner Michael Nannes says the new office isn’t “growth for growth’s sake,” but fits nicely with what is now a 70-plus lawyer insurance policyholder practice. � Jason McLure

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