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Landing Lowell After a year of courtship, McDermott Will & Emery has sealed the deal with high-profile white-collar lawyer Abbe Lowell. Lowell, who has spent the past three years at the D.C. office of New York-based Chadbourne & Parke, will head the firm’s Washington white-collar defense practice. “It was a very difficult decision, because I do think so highly of Chadbourne,” says Lowell. “But when trying to maximize your practice to find the very best thing for your practice, a bigger firm that has a deep bench of former assistant U.S. attorneys really is an opportunity that I could not pass up.” Lowell, 54, is well known inside the Beltway as a go-to lawyer when a member of Congress gets into trouble (think of former Reps. Gary Condit, Harold Ford, and Jim Wright). And most recently he’s gotten press for representing infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The addition comes a little more than two years since McDermott picked up white-collar powerhouse Bobby Burchfield from Covington & Burling. “Abbe Lowell is probably one of the best-known attorneys in the U.S. and is well-regarded for his criminal defense background, well-regarded for his political savvy and the knowledge and insight into the Washington, D.C., political process and the political process generally throughout the country,” Burchfield says. So far, Lowell’s also taking at least one Chadbourne colleague with him, Pamela Marple, who joins the firm as a partner. Burchfield says the firm is in ongoing discussions with other lawyers at Chadbourne’s 10-lawyer white-collar Washington practice. McDermott has about 1,000 lawyers with 14 offices around the world. The much smaller Chadbourne has around 350 lawyers in 11 offices. According to The American Lawyer, last year McDermott’s profits per partner were $1.4 million while Chadbourne’s were $1.1 million.
Antitrust Busters It’s Monday; do you know where your antitrust lawyers are? Last week saw some big moves among prominent antitrust practitioners around town. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft scooped Charles “Rick” Rule, chairman of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s antitrust practice, for its D.C. office, only two months after it lost its antitrust chairman, Steven Sunshine, and a substantial number of the group’s lawyers to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Cadwalader’s antitrust practice will be the third Rule has chaired, having led Covington & Burling’s practice before moving to Fried, Frank in 2001. Rule, who headed the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division in the 1980s, represents cotton and soybean seed company Delta & Pine Land Co. in Monsanto’s proposed $1.5 billion takeover of the company, a deal that’s currently being reviewed by Justice. Rule was also a key member of the team that negotiated Microsoft Corp.’s antitrust settlement with the Justice Department and nine states in the 1990s. Meanwhile, a day later, Fried, Frank lost its other D.C.-based antitrust partner when the Justice Department announced that Deborah Garza would become the deputy assistant attorney general for regulatory matters. Garza, who will join Justice in May, will oversee transportation, energy, agriculture, telecommunications, and other regulatory matters for the Antitrust Division. She recently chaired the Antitrust Modernization Commission, which gave its recommendations to Congress and the administration earlier this month. Garza worked with Rule at Justice and Covington & Burling and joined Fried, Frank with him in 2001. They even went to the same law school, both graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1981. Last fall, the duo advised US Airways on its long-shot $8 billion bid to acquire Delta Air Lines. And moving out of the Justice Department last week was Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce McDonald, who joined Jones Day as a partner. McDonald says he’ll split his time between the firm’s D.C. and Houston offices. It’s not his first stint at Jones Day; he started his career there before spending 13 years at Baker Botts in Houston. While at Justice, McDonald oversaw merger-review matters in the oil-field, telecom, and electricity sectors. He was also part of the delegation that negotiated the “open skies” agreement to liberalize the transatlantic airline market with the European Union, he says.
Covington 1, State Regulators 0 National banks won a big victory last week when the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government, not states, has the top role in regulating banks’ mortgage business, even if that business is conducted by subsidiaries. The decision was also a big win for Covington & Burling and its partner Robert Long, who argued for Wachovia in the Supreme Court; with him on the briefs were Chairman Stuart Stock, partner Keith Noreika, and associate Emily Henn. By a 5-3 vote in Watters v. Wachovia Bank, the Court found that the National Banking Act pre-empts state regulation of banks and that the pre-emption extends to their subsidiaries, which the Court said are “equivalent” to the national banks themselves. The attorneys general and bank regulators of all 50 states had argued for the justices to find the regulation unlawful. Covington also is beefing up its government affairs practice, having added Holly Fechner as of counsel this month. Fechner was previously policy director to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). She was also chief labor and pensions counsel to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The hire comes a few months after former Maryland Rep. Michael Barnes (D) joined the practice as senior of counsel.
Back in the Saddle Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers is returning to Locke Liddell & Sapp, the firm she formerly co-managed, on May 1 as a partner. Miers will rejoin the firm’s public-policy litigation practices. Miers, who left the firm in 2001 to join the Bush administration, will work out of the firm’s Texas offices in Dallas and Austin and its Washington, D.C., office. Jerry Clements, the firm’s managing partner, says Miers will do lobbying, provide public-policy advice to clients, and do high-stakes, high-profile commercial litigation. Miers, a one-time nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, left the White House in February.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Brenda Sapino Jeffreys of Texas Lawyer contributed to this article. Got a tip? Contact Business Editor Anna Palmer at [email protected].

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