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Exit Strategy for Ailing Senator is Harder Than it Looks With the balance of power in the Senate riding on the health of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), conservative columnists and Republican strategists are gaming scenarios in which Johnson could be replaced by one of their own. • Tribal Law: Akin Gump Brings Tribe on as Consultant Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld last week signed Harvard Law School professor and veteran appellate advocate Laurence Tribe as a consultant for the firm and its clients on constitutional and Supreme Court matters. • Leahy’s Agenda: Senator Presses for Human Rights Subcommittee Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants to tackle issues like torture, war crimes, and human trafficking in a new subcommittee on human rights. • Jack of All Trades: Abramoff Opts for Self-Defense in Latest Suits Jack Abramoff is taking a different approach in two lawsuits filed against him by Indian tribes. This time around, Abramoff is representing himself. • Trench Warfare: Urbina Irked With DOJ Over Army Contracts Judge Ricardo Urbina chided Justice Department lawyers over their handling of dozens of documents about the Army’s no-bid contract with Halliburton Co. subsidiary KBR. • The Shortest Straw: Robertson Gets Indian Trust-Fund Case Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is not likely to have much of a break during the winter holidays as he takes over one of the court’s most protracted and mountainous pieces of litigation. • Bad News Biz: Republican Spinsters Open Crisis Management Firm With 2007 being cued up as the year of the congressional subpoena, longtime Republican spinsters Mark Corallo and Barbara Comstock are getting the band back together. • Hitched: Preston Gates Finalizes Merges With Kirkpatrick After confirming persistent rumors of merger talks with a press release, D.C.-based Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds finalized its merger with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham.

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