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FTC CHIEF PLANS REVAMP OF ANTITRUST REVIEW Pressed by an information overload that threatens to overwhelm the antitrust review process, the Federal Trade Commission is taking a broad look at ways to streamline reviews, according to Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. Majoras would not discuss specific reforms or say when they might be implemented. She must first receive recommendations from a panel she recently authorized to suggest ways to streamline the review process. The panel has no deadline, but could make recommendations by year’s end, Majoras says. She adds that some changes could occur quietly, as internal policy statements. “I want a soup-to-nuts evaluation,” Majoras says. “I would like to have some major components, if not the whole thing, by the end of the year.” Majoras � a Bush recess appointee who’s been in office since August � has made procedural reform a key goal. “Nothing is a sacred cow,” she says. “I am pushing [the panel] to be creative and really think about this. . . . I want to put in place lasting reform. I am willing to take the time to do it right.” Majoras is thoroughly familiar with the review process, thanks to her years as an antitrust partner at Jones Day and three years as deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “I’ve been on both sides,” she says. “I know all the arguments and excuses on both sides. The key here is that I think the parties and agencies can do better at being more efficient and more cooperative in this process.” The FTC could streamline reviews in several ways, Majoras suggests. One way could be to adopt the DOJ’s practice of cutting deals with merger applicants, essentially offering timely reviews in exchange for timely submission of company information. Another: limiting the scope of a review to a few key managers, rather than the several layers of management sometimes tapped in reviews. � Cecile Kohrs Lindell, The Daily Deal SMALL CROWD With attention focused on the controversial nomination of John Bolton to the United Nations and the impending congressional showdown over judicial appointees, there was one group noticeably absent from the May 12 hearing on the nomination of Alice Fisher to head the Justice Department’s Criminal Division: Senate Judiciary Committee members. Indeed, the 40-minute hearing, which also tackled the nominations of Rachel Brand to lead the Office of Legal Policy and Regina Schofield to run the Office of Justice Programs, included only two questions from the sole committee member to show up to the hearing � Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). (Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a Judiciary Committee member, attended the hearing only as a witness and left just after recommending fellow Iowan Brand for the post.) Fisher said fighting terrorism would be key in her position and that she would put an emphasis on curbing child pornography and other Internet crimes. Fisher, a partner at Latham & Watkins, served as deputy assistant AG for the Criminal Division from 2001 to 2003.� Emma Schwartz MOVING ON After three years serving as general counsel at the Department of Agriculture, Nancy Bryson has stepped down to become a partner at Venable. Among the key issues that Bryson oversaw during her command of the approximately 230-lawyer office: policy related to mad cow disease, homeland security, and biotechnology. “I was just kind of worn out, I have to say,” Bryson, 54, says. Though a 17-year veteran of Crowell & Moring, Bryson chose a new home in private practice at Venable, where she will work in the firm’s government regulatory practice. For now, J. Michael Kelly is serving as acting ag GC until a replacement is found. � Emma Schwartz GENTLE DISAGREEMENTSupreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy never mentioned Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) or other conservative leaders by name. But the justice’s speech May 13 at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference in Hollywood, Fla., could be interpreted as a low-key repudiation of their verbal attacks. In his talk, Kennedy cautiously supported consideration of international law by U.S. courts � an idea rejected by many conservatives. In comments to a reporter afterward, Kennedy pointedly rejected Republican proposals to punish judges for their rulings and to reduce the discretion of federal judges in criminal sentencing. Asked about a bill just passed by the House to impose mandatory minimum sentences for gang-related offenses, Kennedy said he “strongly opposes” mandatory minimums. As for the proposal by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) to create an inspector general to audit and investigate the courts, Kennedy said the courts should be held accountable. But he sharply rejected the idea of Congress punishing judges for decisions it doesn’t like. � Harris Meyer, MiamiDailyBusiness Review SHUFFLED Howrey has changed the leadership of its antitrust practice group. Replacing co-chairs James Rill, 72, and John Briggs, 63, are Sean Boland, 52, and Alan Wiseman, 60, who oversaw the firm’s blockbuster class action tobacco victory. Firm chairman Robert Ruyak says the changes are merely a transition to younger leadership and are part of other changes at the firm, such as adding Cecilia Gonzalez as co-chair of the intellectual property group. But two former Howrey attorneys say rank-and-file lawyers were dissatisfied with the group’s leadership and with client development opportunities. Ruyak denies he was pressured to make a switch. Either way, Wiseman and Boland say they plan to make changes, including doing away with five vice chair positions and handing off more responsibility to younger lawyers. � Emma Schwartz SUING THE SAUDIS A group of survivors and families of those killed in the May 2003 bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have filed suit against the Saudi government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Thirty-four people were killed and 200 injured in the attack, which was blamed on al Qaeda. The plaintiffs are largely former U.S. service members who had been hired by a Northrop-GrummanCorp. subsidiary to help train the Saudi National Guard. The complaint accuses the Saudi government of negligence for failing to warn contractors of “substandard security” provisions at their Riyadh compound and failing to heed repeated warnings from the American government regarding security threats. Representing victims of the attack and their families are Richard Fields of Dickstein Shapiro Morin &Oshinsky; Steven Perles and Edward MacAllister of the Perles Law Firm; and Ronald Karp of Karp, Frosh, Lapidus, Wigodsky & Norwind. Representing the Saudi government are Nancy and Frederick Dutton of D.C.’s Dutton & Dutton. � Jason McLure ENERGY POLICY Baker Botts hopes its new office in Hong Kong, which opened last week, will allow the firm to tap into booming liquefied natural gas development, pipeline projects, and oil resources issues in China,Japan, and Southeast Asia. Says Stuart Schaffer, who chairs the firm’s global projects group, “Our strategy with all our foreign offices starts and ends with energy.” Hong Kong will serve as Baker Botts’ regional hub, although the firm plans to set up a satellite office on mainland China. Though a bit of a late player in the Far East, Baker Botts’ office opened with two veteran lawyers in the region, lateral hires John Kuzmik, who headed the China practice at White & Case, and David Renton, an energy lawyer from Herbert Smith. The three-partner office will be headed by D.C.-based corporate partner David Powers. � Emma Schwartz HELPING HANDS The D.C. Office of the Attorney General is getting a few more bodies to help with its caseload, and the best part, according to D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti, is that the extra help is free. As part of a new partnership between Fulbright & Jaworski and the AG’s office, Fulbright & Jaworski will lend the office two senior associates who will spend at least 20 hours a week trying cases on the District’s behalf. It’s like getting another whole attorney at no cost to the taxpayer, says Spagnoletti, who hopes to expand the program to include more attorneys and additional law firms. “We will take as many as we can get,” he says. For their part, Fulbright & Jaworski’s two associates, Wendy Butler Curtis and Joseph Hartman, will get court experience and credit for pro bono hours. They will work in the Civil Litigation Division for six months. The office hasn’t wasted any time putting them to work: They already have a trial beginning this week. � Bethany Broida RED LIGHT DISTRICT A lawsuit challenging roadside cameras that record speeding drivers and red-light runners in the District appeared to hit a major pothole last week with the D.C. Court of Appeals. Thomas Ruffin Jr. and Horace Lee Bradshaw Jr. are D.C. solo practitioners who represent a motorist and a taxi cab company that say the cameras violate their due process rights because vehicle owners are assumed liable for violations unless they prove someone else was driving. D.C. Superior Court Judge MelvinWright threw out the case in June, and it’s not looking much better in the appellate court. A panel that included Judges Stephen Glickman, Michael Farrell, and Senior Judge Frank Nebeker appeared skeptical about the case and seemed to respond positively to the argument by Stephen Rogers, an attorney representing the District, that the statute requires a “fairly minimal burden” from owners, “which is only to keep tabs on who is driving your car.” � Bethany Broida

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