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SURVEY YIELDS MIXED RESULTS FOR D.C. FIRMS The numbers are in and, no surprise, 2004 was again a very good year for the nation’s largest and wealthiest law firms. That’s according to the AmLaw 100, the annual survey of law firm financial data published in this month’s edition of The American Lawyer, a sister publication of Legal Times. The survey found that revenue at the nation’s 100 biggest law firms jumped 10 percent over 2003. For firms with headquarters in the D.C. area, however, the survey is a mixed bag. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering‘s merger with Boston-based Hale and Dorr last year vaulted the combined behemoth up the charts, making it the nation’s 12th-largest law firm, as measured by gross revenue (the firms were No. 58 and 60 in 2003, respectively). But if Wilmer was the chart’s biggest gainer, D.C. also has the distinction of being home to firms that took two of the largest falls. Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, which was No. 66 in 2003, tumbled off the chart. Howrey (formerly Howrey Simon Arnold & White) saw not only its name but its revenues reduced, causing the firm to drop from No. 44 to No. 61. Both firms’ numbers were helped in 2003 by contingent fee windfalls. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer &Feld remained the most profitable regionally based firm, as measured by profits per partner. Its $920,000-per-partner figure was trailed closely by that of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner at $895,000. This year the magazine introduced a new metric to measure a law firm’s financial performance: value per lawyer. That figure computes the average number of lawyers needed to generate $10 million in compensation to all partners (both equity and nonequity), giving high marks to firms with low overhead and efficient management. By that measure, Arnold &Porter and Hogan &Hartson were tops among locally based firms, each needing just 32 lawyers to generate $10 million to line the partners’ pockets. McGuireWoods, by comparison, needed 44 lawyers. That figure looks good compared with that of troubled Coudert Brothers, which needed an army of 91. But the New York giants still tower over the D.C. region’s home-grown firms. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, for example, couldn’t even field a softball team with the seven lawyers it needed to generate $10 million in partner paychecks. � Jason McLure
SPY GAME The president’s proposal to create a new National Security Division in the Justice Department, if adopted, would formalize the removal of the wall between intelligence gathering and criminal prosecution. But finding the right person to run the new section, which would bring together the DOJ’s counterterrorism section, counterespionage section, and the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, may not be easy. Before the passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001, intelligence agents and prosecutors rarely worked together. As a result, few lawyers have experience in both disciplines. “There really aren’t a lot of people who bridge both worlds,” says Suzanne Spaulding, a former CIA lawyer. The post is unlikely to go to James Baker, who currently heads the Justice Department’s intelligence office, or to counterterrorism chief Barry Sabin because both men are career officials without strong Republican ties. One senior DOJ official says the shuffle will not disrupt ongoing terrorism investigations: “The advantage of putting those troops in the same division is that it will enable them to better take advantage of synergy the destruction of the wall has made possible.” � Vanessa Blum
D�J� VU The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be heading back to court to fight Securities and Exchange Commission rules governing the independence of mutual fund boards, says the business lobby’s general counsel Steve Bokat. Just days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the SEC to reconsider its requirement that the chairman and 75 percent of a mutual fund board be independent from the company, the agency voted to reaffirm the same rules. This time, the business lobby says, the agency didn’t deliberate long enough before its 3-2 vote on June 29. It was a coup of sorts for Republican SEC Chairman William Donaldson, who pushed the vote before stepping down on June 30. � Lily Henning
COMING HOME The tune is a familiar one: top government lawyer leaves regulatory agency to cash in at former firm. But in the case of Stephen Cutler, the former director of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division, the announcement last week that he’d return to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr was by no means inevitable. After all, Cutler’s two predecessors at the SEC had opted to go in-house on Wall Street at Credit Suisse First Boston Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. Cutler says he spoke with investment banks as well as other law firms before deciding to return. To help woo Cutler back, the firm trotted out heavy-hitting partners Jamie Gorelick, Seth Waxman, and Charlene Barshefsky, and arranged a lunch at the Park Hyatt for Cutler with Wilmer’s junior securities partners. Cutler, who will start in the fall, says the move was a “chance to join what I think of as the pre-eminent SEC practice in the country.” It’s likely that Cutler, who oversaw the investigations of WorldCom Inc., Tyco International Ltd., and Qwest Communications International Inc., also negotiated a pay package substantially more than the roughly $200,000 he was paid annually by the SEC. (Both Cutler and firm co-managing partner William Perlstein declined to discuss compensation arrangements.) Also last week, Wilmer announced the opening of its first West Coast office in Palo Alto, Calif. � Jason McLure
NEW PASTURES Venable has picked up former longtime DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary partner Emilio Cividanes, a data privacy and intellectual property lawyer and lobbyist. Cividanes, 49, had been at Piper for nearly 17 years; at Venable he joins what Ian Volner, who chairs the firm’s regulatory group, calls one of the largest advertising, marketing, and distribution practices in the country. “Milo adds a dimension to a practice that already includes about 40 lawyers,” Volner says. Cividanes’ departure follows the death last year of DLA Piper’s Ronald Plesser, who had chaired the firm’s electronic commerce and privacy practice group. “He was my mentor and my senior colleague for almost 16 years. When that happens, you have to revisit everything,” says Cividanes, calling the Venable job an “excellent opportunity.” Cividanes, who splits his time between lobbying, counseling, and litigation, represents, among other clients, Reed Elsevier’s LexisNexis, Time Warner Cable, and the Direct Marketing Association. Along with Plesser, he was part of a team that represented the DMA in its ultimately unsuccessful bid to prevent the establishment of a national Do Not Call Registry. � T.R. Goldman
LAWYERING UP A federal probe of a real estate transaction involving Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R.-Calif.) has been good for the local white collar bar. Last week, a grand jury in California served Cunningham with a subpoena for documents, following a host of news reports examining Cunningham’s 2003 sale of his Del Mar, Calif., house to defense contractor MZM Inc. for $1.6 million. MZM sold the house within a year at a $700,000 loss. Cunningham, who sits on a defense appropriations subcommittee, also lived on a yacht moored in Washington, the Duke-Stir, that belongs to MZM founder Mitchell Wade. Cunningham, who has said he has “acted honorably and honestly” but admitted showing “poor judgment” in the home sale, has hired congressional investigations specialist K. Lee Blalack of O’Melveny &Myers to handle the matter. Wade, who resigned from MZM last month, has turned to a bipartisan team of partners at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr: Reginald Brown, former Bush White House associate counsel; Howard Shapiro, who served as general counsel at the FBI for much of the Clinton administration; and former federal prosecutor Ronald Machen. MZM has retained Steptoe & Johnson‘s Mark Hulkower. � Jason McLure
CHUTZPAH No one can deny John Marboah has guts. Marboah, aka Charles Boateng, is an illegal alien who used a fake name and Social Security number to get a construction job. He then filed a workers’ compensation claim after being injured. Marboah, a citizen of the Netherlands, later sued his lawyers for $5 million, alleging they botched the paperwork in his compensation case. Marboah’s true identity was exposed when he tried to re-enter the United States from Canada in 2002. In what one D.C. judge called “an unusual measure of audacity,” Marboah continued to push the legal malpractice suit, arguing he still had a case because his compensation claim had been granted under his fake name. “It was a clear case of legal malpractice,” says Benjamin Trichilo of Trichilo, Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, who represented Marboah in the malpractice suit. The D.C. Court of Appeals disagreed and last week ruled in favor of Marboah’s former attorney, Alan Ackerman, and his firm. Marboah’s deception led Judge Frank Schwelb to include a footnote, quoting Sir Walter Scott: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” � Bethany Broida
FLIPPING Laura Flippin, formerly a special assistant to the president and executive secretary of the Homeland Security Council, has joined Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker‘s litigation department as of counsel. Prior to serving in the Bush White House, Flippin was a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, overseeing immigration and consumer litigation. Flippin says her experience litigating against Fortune 500 companies has given her an insider’s point of view: “My understanding of how the government looks at these cases and prosecutes them is a good foundation for expanding on a practice that I now have an insider’s perspective on.” Litigation department chair James Wareham says Flippin’s government experience will be an asset to the global litigation practice. � Hilary Lewis

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