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SENATORS GIVE SECURITY HEARING SHORT SHRIFT Federal judges arrived at a May 18 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with a list of concerns about the efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service to protect them from violence. But few senators were around to listen. Initially, Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building had been packed with lawmakers and media to hear testimony from Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Lefkow’s husband and mother were shot to death in late February � allegedly by a man who was upset by one of her rulings. But as soon as Lefkow finished, most of the senators left to attend the showdown over judicial nominees taking place simultaneously on the Senate floor. “A lot of attention would be paid to the transcript” of the hearing, Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said on his way out the door. That left the remaining witnesses � namely Benigno Reyna, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, and Judge Jane Roth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Security Committee � speaking to stand-in chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and a much less populated audience. Roth accused the Marshals Service and the Justice Department of being less than forthcoming about staffing. “The department refuses to share any information about Marshals Service staffing levels and formulas or to consider suggestions for change with us,” she said. Reyna bypassed most of Roth’s concerns, but did say that Congress has not fully funded budget requests for the agency. He pointed out that over the past five years, the White House recommended 993 new jobs at the Marshals Service, but Congress approved just 531 of them Even the senators who remained asked few questions. Rather, Sessions drew attention to the judicial nominations battle, pointing out that Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was the lone dissenter on a California appeals court decision placing prohibitions on the use of stun belts on defendants during trials. “Maybe we need to review that state court decision,” Sessions said. � Tom Schoenberg UP, UP, AND AWAY Some jobs may be headed out of US Airways’ Arlington, Va., headquarters with its acquisition by Tempe, Ariz.’s America West, but a number of Washington lawyers are reaping the benefits of the anticipated $1.5 billion deal. Taking the lead for US Airways is Arnold & Porter, which began doing bankruptcy work for the airline in April 2004. At its peak the firm had 25 lawyers on the merger, including lead attorneys Brian Leitch, Kevin Lavin, and Michael Canning. The deal is one of the firm’s largest this year and is bringing in more than $1.2 million a month, says Daniel Lewis, head of Arnold & Porter’s bankruptcy practice. Heading up America West’s deal-making is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which has about 15 lawyers overseeing the transaction and the antitrust work. With bankruptcy proceedings for US Airways under way and a handful of private equity investors lending capital to the transaction, other law firms are dipping into the deal, as well. Among the major players are Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson; Cooley Godward; Goodwin Procter; McGuireWoods; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. “It’s almost like putting three separate transactions into one,” says Sean Doyle, an attorney with Skadden’s corporate team. � Emma Schwartz RARE MOVE With by far the highest profits per partner in the world, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s partners would appear the least likely to defect. But now one Wachtell partner has done exactly that. Barry Bryer, one of Wachtell’s most senior corporate partners, is set to leave the firm to join the New York office of Latham & Watkins. The move, expected to be officially announced this week, was first reported in The Daily Deal, a Legal Times affiliate. Bryer did not return calls for comment. In 2003, Latham’s profits per partner were $1.3 million and rising. Though this figure is still far below Wachtell’s $3-million-plus per partner, the firm has likely pulled even with leading Manhattan firms. � Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal IN EVIDENCE A federal judge last week ordered a new trial for drug defendant Sorenson Oruche after finding that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District failed to turn over key information to the defense. Oruche was convicted in 2002 for conspiracy heroin dealing, but was never sentenced. Defense lawyer Preston Burton accused Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Whitted of withholding information about government witnesses that could have helped Oruche. In issuing his May 17 ruling, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said he was concerned about allegations that Whitted talked to a police detective, who then asked to change her testimony during post-trial litigation. “I’m deeply troubled by the suggestion that a federal prosecutor had discussions with a witness,” Sullivan said. He said he would leave it up to Judge Reggie Walton to determine whether Whitted should be referred to the D.C. Bar Counsel, because Walton presided over the hearing at which both Whitted and the detective were called as witnesses. � Tom Schoenberg PATRIOT GAINS Wrangling over the so-called nuclear option may threaten to bring the Senate to a near standstill, but government sources say it is unlikely to derail reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. Without new legislation, 16 of the law’s provisions will expire at the end of the year. In March, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged that Democrats would not block legislation related to national security. “I think all the senators recognize their responsibility with respect to reauthorization,” says one Republican aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The aide says the committee will soon introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Patriot Act provisions affected by the law’s sunset clause. A separate measure being put forth by the Senate Intelligence Committee would expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ability to obtain business records in terrorism investigations without court orders. “These are critical tools in the war on terror,” says William Moschella, the Justice Department’s chief legislative liaison. “I hope that whatever else is going on on Capitol Hill is not going to spill into other issues.” � Vanessa Blum TULSA TROUBLE The battle to win reparations for the victims of the 1921 Tulsa race riots ended last week when the Supreme Court turned down their survivors’ challenge to statutes of limitations that barred their suit. Hundreds of African-Americans were killed when whites � deputized and armed by law enforcement officials � went on a rampage, burning down the then-prosperous black neighborhood of Greenwood, Okla. The episode was triggered by reports of a black man assaulting a white woman. “There were gross violations of human rights that have gone unredressed,” says Michael Hausfeld, partner at D.C.’s Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll. Survivors argued that the suit should be allowed because the extent of government involvement in the riots was unknown until a 2001 report commissioned by the Oklahoma Legislature was released. Hausfeld was part of a team led by Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and joined by reparations advocates Michele Roberts at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Adjoa Aiyetoro, a lawyer at the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. � Tony Mauro PAGE TURNER Is too much information a bad thing? It was in the case of Sayres & Associates Corp. When the Energy Department contractor lost a bid for a $17 million contract earlier this year, it protested that decision to the Government Accountability Office. But Sayres lost again in a decision made public last week when the GAO ruled that a portion of Sayres’ proposal “exceeded the page limit” allowed. The company’s technical proposal should have been limited to 20 pages, but instead the contractor added a few extra pages of technical info in another part of its proposal. “In effect what Sayres had was a 25-page proposal,”says Robert Craver, of D.C.’s Person &Craver. Craver repped the winning bidder, Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. Robert Moore of McLean, Va.’s Moore & Lee handled the protest for Sayres. � Jason McLure VOICEOVER When the Federal Communications Commission said last week that Internet phone services have to offer customers access to emergency dialing, the industry’s response seemed surprising: It didn’t resist the new layer of regulation. “They said, ‘Darn it, we’ve got heavy-handed regulation, but it could actually help,’ ” says Raul Martynek, president of Eureka Networks, an Internet phone service provider based in New York. “It eliminates one of the big objections to VoIP.” That objection has been that VoIP, or Voice over Internet protocol, isn’t safe because it doesn’t offer reliable access to emergency medical and police help. The providers have four months to comply with the order, which the FCC commissioners issued last week after they heard testimony from a woman whose daughter died while she tried and failed to contact 911 dispatchers over an Internet-based phone line. But enforcing the rule could be tricky, says Martynek, since customers can use Internet numbers from different locations. � Lily Henning SPEED TRAP Appeals pending before the D.C. Court of Appeals were resolved about two and a half months faster in 2004 than in 2003, according to a report released by the D.C. courts last week. But the average wait time was still about a year and a half � six months longer than the American Bar Association recommends. The court attributes the shortened time frame to stricter briefing deadlines for attorneys and faster transcript processing. But while the time taken by attorneys to file an appeal and complete briefing a case lessened, the length of time for judges to hear and decide a case grew. The problem, says S. White Rhyne, a retired D.C. solo practitioner who has followed the issue for years, is that “if you clear up the blockages in the early part, it just backs up at the judges. There are just not enough judges.” But another D.C. appellate attorney who asked not to be identified says that while the court has been tougher on holding attorneys to deadlines, the judges “are not keeping up their end of the bargain.” � Bethany Broida

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