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J. Warren Gorrell Jr. is unusual among international law firm leaders: He didn’t plan on practicing law when he went to law school. But 27 years after finishing his J.D. at the University of Virginia, Gorrell finds himself not only running D.C.-based megafirm Hogan & Hartson but also actively representing clients. His specialty is guiding large real estate companies through mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and other business transactions. “I went to law school because I thought business school would be duplicative,” says Gorrell, 52, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton. “I didn’t expect to be a lawyer. I was expecting really to be doing something on the business side.” Instead he advises businesses, particularly real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Key clients include D.C.-based CarrAmerica and Republic Property Trust and Chicago-based Trizec Properties. And he represented Equity Office Properties Trust, the nation’s largest office-building REIT, in three multibillion-dollar acquisitions between 1997 and 2001. Gorrell also counsels General Electric on various M&A deals and represents Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch in connection with equity- and debt-securities offerings. It was his work for Merrill Lynch that brought Gorrell to CarrAmerica’s attention at the right time. He represented Merrill Lynch as the underwriter of CarrAmerica’s IPO in 1993. After the transaction closed, CarrAmerica ended up hiring Gorrell as its outside counsel. The IPO was the first-ever UPREIT, an umbrella-partnership REIT, which allows commercial real estate owners to transfer their real estate assets into a more liquid structure without incurring capital-gains tax. “He brings together very sound business judgments with tremendous technical understanding of the law,” says Tom Carr, chairman and chief executive officer of CarrAmerica. “He’s a very effective communicator with the business decision makers.” Gorrell’s relationship with CarrAmerica came full circle earlier this year when he helped the public company go private again. CarrAmerica was acquired by the Blackstone Group, a private investment and advisory firm based in New York, for $5.6 billion. Gorrell says it’s likely to be one of the largest M&A deals of 2006. Gorrell started carving out his expertise in real estate deals as a fifth-year associate. Pillsbury Co., the baked-goods maker that owned Burger King at the time, asked Hogan & Hartson to find a way to monetize the vast real estate of its fast-food franchises. The result was the first publicly traded partnership in the real estate industry. Although Gorrell never went into business as he once thought he would, his role as chairman of a 1,000-lawyer firm has allowed him to satisfy his interests in both law and business. His first job after graduating from law school in 1979 was as an associate at Hogan & Hartson, and he’s been with the firm ever since. He became chairman in 2001 and is co-director of the corporate, securities, and finance practice group. Says Gorrell: “It’s actually come full circle where I can be a business guy, since I’m the chairman of the firm, running a $750 million business . . . with a lot of help.”

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