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EXITING SEC CHAIR WON’T LET FUND RULES LIE One would think that after a federal appeals court last week tossed regulations concerning mutual fund boards and the independence of the managers who sit on them that the mutual fund industry would be poised to get the looser restrictions it desires. Think again. Outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson may yet stand in its way. Donaldson, who will be replaced by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) June 30, has scheduled a commission meeting for the eve of his departure, and the mutual fund governance rules that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated June 21 are on the agenda. The court’s decision stemmed from a lawsuit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed last fall over rules that require the chairman and 75 percent of most mutual fund boards to be independent of fund managers. The Chamber argued that the SEC lacked the authority to mandate mutual fund board composition and that implementing the rules would be prohibitively expensive to mutual fund companies and shareholders. The court sent the rules back to the commission for a rewrite. Donaldson cast a tie-breaking vote last year when he sided with the commission’s two Democrats on green-lighting the regulations. Cox, who as a congressman wrote legislation that sought to curb shareholder lawsuits, is expected to be more pro-business than Donaldson. The commission won’t confirm whether there will be a vote on the revised rules, but a group of legislators, former SEC commissioners, and lawyers for the Chamber complained in letters last week that Donaldson is moving recklessly. Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt wrote in a June 24 letter to Donaldson that “the only plausible explanation for what the Commission is proposing to do must be that” Donaldson and the two Democratic commissioners, whose terms are ending, “don’t want to leave the issue in the hands of Chairman Donaldson’s successor.” And Eugene Scalia, who argued the case for the Chamber on April 15, wrote in a letter to SEC General Counsel Giovanni Prezioso on June 23 that “proceeding in such a hasty manner would constitute a profound departure from the requirements of the administrative process, and from the Court’s order.” � Lily Henning
THINKING BIG For most law firms, the addition of 77 lawyers and 18 paralegals would be an earthshaking event. But for 2,800-lawyer DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, it’s hardly a tremor. Still, the firm’s June 27 addition of that number of legal professionals from accounting firm Ernst & Young‘s legal practices in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia gives it one of the largest foreign legal presences in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Firm co-chair Francis Burch says the move is aimed at achieving critical mass in Eastern Europe. “Our strategy isn’t to have a whole lot of tiny offices,” he says. “We have to be [in Eastern Europe] sometime.” Burch says the firm will be taking over the leases, salaries, and overhead of the departing attorneys, but will not be acquiring the work in progress or accounts receivable. Ernst &Young issued a release earlier this month blaming the departures on “regulatory constraints in some countries” that made it difficult for “organizations such as ours to practice commercial law.” The move comes even as some firms have retrenched from Eastern Europe. The latest is Hogan & Hartson, whose spokeswoman, Noel Decker, confirmed last week that the firm intends to close its four-lawyer Prague outpost. � Jason McLure
AIR SUPPLY Most of the Bush administration’s controversial rules regarding pollution controls on old power plants were upheld by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on June 24. The court said it wasn’t clear that the revised rules, which govern how and when the agency reviews and calculates emissions from existing sources of air pollution, would lead to increased pollution. The court also said that despite the arguments of a host of environmental groups and 13 states to the contrary, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules don’t violate the federal Clean Air Act. Writing in a separate concurrence with Judges Judith Rogers and David Tatel, Senior Judge Stephen Williams said that the case “illustrates some of the painful consequences of reliance on command-and-control regulation.” � Lily Henning
FREE AND CLEAR An ethics complaint filed against Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was dismissed earlier this month. The complaint, registered in 2004 by the Community Rights Counsel, alleged that it was improper for Ginsburg to serve on the board of the libertarian environmental think tank Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, which hosts educational seminars for judges on environmental and other topics. FREE’s corporate backers include ExxonMobil and Georgia Pacific Corp., but the group says on its Web site that it accepts no corporate money for federal judges seminars. Chief Judge James Loken of the 8th Circuit dismissed the complaint against Ginsburg on June 17, noting that Ginsburg’s resignation from FREE on May 6 made the case moot. Ginsburg was defiant in his resignation from the Bozeman, Mt.-based FREE, writing its chairman, John Baden, last month that the foundation made valuable contributions to the federal judiciary, but “I am not in a position constantly to be correcting the false impressions and calumnies that appear in the press.” Ginsburg did not respond to calls for comment. “It’s very unusual to sit on a board that has such a clear perspective on an area of the law that’s so important to your court,” says Douglas Kendall, the founder and executive director of the Community Rights Counsel. � Lily Henning
FIELD TRIP When law firm associates are asked to travel for work, it’s generally to cities like White Plains, N.Y., or Wilmington, Del., to sift through documents at the corporate headquarters of important firm clients. But for Covington & Burling associates Trisha Anderson and Robert Knowles, the destination was Taiz, Yemen. The two associates � part of the firm’s team representing Yemeni detainees at Guant�namo Bay � spent June 12-20 in Yemen, meeting detainees’ families and government officials. In sessions with Yemen’s deputy foreign minister, human rights minister, and top intelligence official, the lawyers urged the officials to press the United States for the release of Yemeni citizens. The group also wanted to put the government on notice that they would be watching to see how their clients were treated once they returned. As a woman in a conservative Middle Eastern country, Anderson says she was surprised to find that her gender made very little difference. “The men treated me just as they did the other lawyers,” she says. “In every meeting, men reached forward to shake my hand.” The trip was the second for Covington partner David Remes. “Meeting with the families is always heartbreaking,” Remes says. “Wives have been separated from husbands, children from fathers, parents from sons for over three years.” � Vanessa Blum
LOOKING NORTH Florida criminal defense attorney Samuel Burstyn is settling in for a sweltering Miami summer in that city’s downtown Federal Detention Center, after a federal appeals court denied his bid for freedom earlier this month. The former counsel for actress Robin Givens and Barbara Becker (ex-wife of tennis star Boris), Burstyn stands accused of money laundering and obstruction of justice in connection with a Florida drug ring. For help, Burstyn put in a call to Washington, retaining Steptoe &Johnson D.C. partners Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig, as well as New York partner Evan Barr. “Sam Burstyn is a respected defense attorney who vehemently denies he engaged in any criminal conduct,” says Heberlig. “We look forward to establishing his innocence at trial.” Joining the Steptoe group as local co-counsel are Florida attorney Fred Haddad and octogenarian Albert Krieger. � Dan Christensen, Broward Daily Business Review, and Jason McLure, Legal Times
PRYORITIES Federal appeals Judge William Pryor Jr., whose fierce opposition to abortion prompted a two-year fight over his Senate confirmation, said last week that “It’d certainly be wrong for a Catholic lawyer or judge to do something to advance a grave evil like abortion.” Pryor, who earlier this month won a narrow Senate confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, was answering a question about how Catholic lawyers should approach Roe v. Wade. He had just delivered an address to the St. Thomas More Society, a Catholic lawyers group that invited him to speak for its luncheon meeting at an Atlanta law firm. Pryor emphasized that, as an appeals court judge, he would uphold abortion laws. “The law does not empower you to stop someone else from doing evil,” he said, adding that upholding a law “does not make you a formal cooperator with the evil act.” � Eliott C. McLaughlin and Jonathan Ringel, Fulton County Daily Report
CONFIRMED Last week the Senate confirmed D.C. court judicial nominees Judge Noel Kramer and Laura Cordero, who is currently the executive assistant U.S. attorney for community relations. Kramer, who has spent 20 years as a judge on the D.C. Superior Court, most recently as presiding judge of the criminal division, will join the D.C. Court of Appeals. Cordero joins the D.C. Superior Court as an associate judge. Investiture ceremonies for both women will take place this summer. � Bethany Broida
GOING GREEN D.C. litigators Jerry Stouck and Robert Shapiro have left Spriggs & Hollingsworth to join the D.C. office of Greenberg Traurig. Stouck represented Glendale Federal Bank in the landmark Winstar government contracts case in 1996 and has argued many other government liability cases at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Shapiro, who is a former assistant U.S. attorney in the District, says Greenberg Traurig “provides a bigger platform” for him and Stouck. � Trey Wydysh

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