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General Store Dickstein Shapiro nabbed Patricia Madrid, former attorney general of New Mexico, as an exclusive consultant to the firm’s growing state attorneys general practice. Madrid, who was elected in 1999, was New Mexico’s first female attorney general and the first Hispanic female attorney general in the United States. The job, while based in Washington, will allow her to keep living in New Mexico, which is a plus because insiders expect her to run against incumbent Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) in 2008. Dickstein has roughly 12 lawyers in the practice, which it brags is the largest in the United States. The practice focuses on representing companies before state attorneys general. Clients include AT&T, DuPont, Pfizer, the Recording Industry Association of America, and HBO. “This gives her the flexibility to pursue her political agenda and for us to benefit from her expertise and bring that to our clients,” says Michael Nannes, chairman of Dickstein. Madrid ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006, losing to Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) by fewer than 900 votes. She is working on John Edwards’ presidential campaign as a member of his finance committee.
Speaking of Keeping Score . . . If you’re bill-padding (it’s OK — we won’t snitch), take heart. According to a recent survey, you’re not alone. William Ross, a professor who focuses on billing ethics at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala., polled 5,000 attorneys from firms across the country. Of the 251 who responded, two-thirds said they had “specific knowledge” of bill-padding. Ross reported a similar number in another billing survey in 1996. “On the whole, the results were very consistent with my earlier surveys,” says Ross, author of The Honest Hour: The Ethics of Time-Based Billing by Attorneys. “But there was a negative shift in two areas: overbilling and double-billing.” Ross defines bill-padding as charging a client for work never done, exaggerating the time spent on a matter, or working unnecessarily. The survey showed that 54 percent said they had performed unnecessary tasks to bump up their billable hours. “Many lawyers are working past the point of diminishing returns,” says Ross. “There’s an awful lot of churning going on.” Ross says the increased pressure to bill has pushed attorneys to find ways to inflate their hours. That also leads to double-billing, a practice condemned by the American Bar Association in 1993 but apparently still in heavy use today. The classic example of double-billing is that of the Washington lawyer who travels to San Francisco to meet with a client. Of course, that client is billed for the travel time. Then, while on the plane, the lawyer reviews a brief for another client and bills that client for the time, too. The percentage of attorneys admitting they double-billed rose from 23 percent in 1995 to 34 percent this year. Even more worrying to Ross was that only 51 percent viewed the practice as unethical, compared with 64 percent in 1995.
Increased Security Continuing its steady growth, Bingham McCutchen last week swallowed up Alschuler Grossman, a 40-lawyer Los Angeles firm, bringing Bingham’s head count to nearly 1,000 lawyers. The move is intended to bolster Bingham’s securities litigation practice in Southern California. This is Bingham’s second Los Angeles acquisition. In 2002 it acquired Riordan & McKinzie, a firm founded by former Los Angeles mayor and current Bingham of counsel Richard Riordan. But it will also benefit the D.C. office, says Neal Sullivan, co-chairman of the firm’s securities practice and co-managing partner of the D.C. office, because it furthers the reach of the securities practice. “There’s no question,” says Sullivan, “that in the securities area we have not sought some opportunities because we didn’t have a presence in Southern California.”
Revolving Door Spins Goodwin Procter raided Hunton & Williams’ D.C. office for a seven-partner intellectual property team, including Thomas Scott Jr., the former chairman of the Richmond, Va.-based firm’s IP practice. The group will kick-start the Boston-based firm’s intellectual property practice in Washington, where it previously had no IP practitioners. Scott will chair the firm’s approximately 145-lawyer national IP practice, which is mostly based in Goodwin’s Boston and New York offices. The firm is looking to round out its IP practice in the District with associates and other professionals, Scott says, and it could bring on more partners. “The sky’s the limit,” he says. The firm, which ramped up its D.C. presence in a major way in 2004 by merging with litigation heavy Shea & Gardner, has been on the prowl for high-profile laterals as of late. Intellectual property was one of the key areas that Goodwin had targeted for growth in Washington, says John Aldock, the chairman of the firm’s D.C. office. “There’s lots of talent in Washington in IP,” he says, noting that the firm had been in discussions with the Hunton group for a while. Scott says he’s known a number of lawyers at Goodwin for a long time, including Paul Ware, chairman of Goodwin’s litigation department, whom he met 17 years ago when they worked on a case together. Other Hunton partners joining Scott at Goodwin two weeks ago were Scott Robertson, Jennifer Albert, Patrick Doody, David Young, and Stephen Schreiner. Another Hunton partner, Christopher Campbell, jumped on board last week. In January the firm brought on Mark Heller, chairman of WilmerHale’s Food and Drug Administration practice, to start an FDA practice in its D.C. office. And last June, the firm lured a trio of private-equity specialists from Hogan & Hartson — J. Hovey Kemp, Christopher Hagan, and James Hutchinson. The firm is now in the market for lawyers who specialize in securities enforcement, real estate and real estate capital markets, corporate, and antitrust work to further build the D.C. office. Aldock acknowledges that the competition for securities enforcement specialists is particularly intense, but says the firm is “prepared to compete.” And Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati continued plundering Miller & Chevalier with the addition of associates Lara Covington and Yvonne Williams. The two followed partners Lisa Prager and Josephine Aiello LeBeau to Wilson’s export controls and economic sanctions practice.
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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