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Judge: Liberia, Pay Up Almost eight years after representing the Republic of Liberia in federal court, former Reichler, Milton & Medel lawyers, now at Foley Hoag, may finally get paid. Paul Reichler and Lawrence Martin filed a breach-of-contract suit in 2003 against Liberia claiming the country owed them more than $400,000 in unpaid legal fees. Despite the firm’s signing a payment contract with Elie Saleeby, then-minister of finance, and later with his successor, John Bestman, the country didn’t pay any of the bills, according to court documents. Getting their day in court wasn’t easy. It took almost two years to serve the country, and Liberia has still not responded to the complaint. On Feb. 1, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found in favor of the lawyers, writing that Liberia is not immune from the suit because its contracts fall within the immunity exemption for “commercial activity” in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and because the services were supposed to be paid at a U.S. bank. Leon’s ruling may help Reichler and Martin convince Liberia to cough up the dough.
No Abramoff Here In the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, now might not seem like the most opportune time to start a Native American lobby and law firm. But that’s exactly what former Clinton administration officials Michael Anderson and Loretta Tuell are doing with their newly created firm, AndersonTuell. The Native American-owned shop will focus primarily on government affairs and tribal counseling. “[We'll] provide fair and efficient and substantive lobbying in contrast to the more infamous lobbyists who have been subjected to various investigations in the last Congress,” says Anderson, a former deputy assistant secretary of Indian affairs at the Interior Department. The pair know a thing or two about being entangled in Abramoff’s lobbying web. Anderson and Tuell have represented Gun Lake Indian Tribe of Michigan in its quest to open a casino, which Abramoff’s then-client the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan lobbied against. That project is still awaiting a court decision by D.C. U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn. Tuell, former director of the Office of American Indian Trust and counselor to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs, worked at the boutique firm Monteau & Peebles along with partner Derril Jordan, former associate solicitor for Indian affairs at Interior. The firm also represents the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho and the Soboba tribe in California among others.
Vin-sanity In a deal that ultimately will help bring Vince Carter’s mind-numbing slam dunks to Brooklyn, it was D.C. players who were in on the action. A group of Covington & Burling lawyers advised Barclays on a naming-rights agreement for the borough’s soon-to-be-built arena. On the other side of the table was Arent Fox partner Richard Brand, representing the New Jersey Nets. The new Barclays Center is the centerpiece of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards redevelopment project, designed by architect Frank Gehry and built by Nets owner Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner Cos. After completion of the arena, which is expected to open in 2009 and is subject to NBA approval, the parties expect that the Nets will relocate to the new Barclays Center. Reports have Barclays — a major international financial-services company, ranging from commercial banking to credit cards and investment banking — spending more than $300 million for a 20-year deal. The arena expects to host more than 200 events a year. “Barclays were calling around looking for counsel,” says Covington partner Bruce Wilson, adding sarcastically, “and I had the misfortune of picking up my phone at work on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.” Also working on the deal were Covington partner Andrew Jack and associate John Coyle. “I literally walked out of the closing luncheon and went over to another deal,” says Wilson, who’s representing the NFL in another naming-rights deal for the new Jets and Giants stadium, which is expected to open in 2010.
Revolving Door The ever-present revolving door continued to swing last week with multiple firms picking up laterals. Most notably, Washington-based Arnold & Porter scored a seven-lawyer government contracts practice from Holland & Knight, including partners David Metzger, Mark Colley, Craig Holman, and Paul Pompeo. Kristen Ittig, Kara Daniels, and Christopher Yukins join as counsel. While Arnold’s Chairman Thomas Milch denies it was connected to government-contracts rainmaker Joseph West’s exit over a year ago to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the group will help supplement the firm’s ongoing practice focusing on national security and data mining contracts. “We think that the combination of what we have now with them will give us a really cutting-edge practice in this field,” Milch says. Metzer had headed Holland & Knight’s government contracts group. . . . King & Spalding also added a trio to its Washington office with FDA and healthcare partner Pamela Furman and consultants Ann Graham and Anne Kelly. Furman, who was a principal at Olsson, Frank and Weeda, has lobbied for clients like the American Academy of Audiology and the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip? Contact Business Editor Anna Palmer at [email protected].

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