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Davis Departs Nobody puts Lanny Davis in a corner. Last week Davis, a partner at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and the lone Democrat on a White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, resigned because of disagreements with the Bush administration over the board’s role in overseeing the protection of civil liberties. Davis, a former White House counsel in the Clinton administration, said the five-member board is not sufficiently independent. “I impugn nobody’s motives and make no accusations that people were doing things deliberately,” says Davis, a litigation partner. “It was a problem with bureaucracy, and it’s simply time for Congress to fix the problem. They need to make it clear that the board is either dependent or independent.” The panel was created by Congress in 2004, at the suggestion of the 9/11 Commission, to address concerns about the government’s growing anti-terrorism surveillance powers. But at the 11th hour the board was placed under the supervision of the White House and stripped of subpoena power. Members of the 9/11 Commission began loudly criticizing the board this month, questioning the findings in its annual report to Congress. Davis says he agrees with the commission leaders, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R) and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), that the board should investigate allegations of illegal detentions at Guant�namo. The board has said that it cannot look into the charges because the incidents didn’t occur on U.S. soil. “We can help the president and the country much better if we were seen as credible and independent,” says Davis. “On March 28, we got a copy of our report from the White House. It was filled with edits, deletions, and insertions.” Davis says it took the efforts of Fred Fielding, the White House counsel, to get “95 percent” of the original material back into the report. Fielding, a former name partner at Wiley Rein, was a member of the 9/11 Commission. Davis says he now supports Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) bill that would make the board independent of the White House and provide subpoena power. The legislation was incorporated into a comprehensive 9/11 reform bill that passed the House earlier this year. Davis says President George W. Bush considered him a viable choice as the lone Democrat on the panel because the two have been friends since attending Yale, when they were also in the same fraternity. “I’ve only voted for Bush once,” says Davis, laughing. “And that was for president of our fraternity.” Bush appointed Republican Carol Dinkins, a partner in Vinson & Elkins’ Houston office (also the former law office of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales) and a former Reagan administration assistant attorney general, to head the board. She was treasurer of Bush’s first campaign for governor of Texas. The panel’s other members are Vice Chairman Alan Raul, a partner at Sidley Austin’s Washington office, and former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, a partner in Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s D.C. office. Former Ambassador Francis Taylor is an independent member. . . . Of lighter fare, Davis is also making news as the lead attorney for client eHarmony, the online dating service that promises to connect lonely people with other lonely people. A new competitor, Chemistry.com, is running commercials that show people wondering why they were rejected from eHarmony, which has infuriated eHarmony’s founder, Neil Warren. In a recent ad, a young man stands in front of the camera while leafing through a Playboy magazine. After a few moments he stops, turns to the camera, and says, “Nope, I’m still gay.” eHarmony lawyers responded by sending letters to NBC and People magazine, asking that the ads be restricted. NBC did not respond. People welcomed a counter-ad from eHarmony, Davis says. eHarmony acknowledges their business model simply doesn’t account for homosexuals, but says the ads suggest discrimination. Davis also adds that the attack ads are hypocritical: Three years ago Chemistry.com owner Barry Diller tried to buy eHarmony. Chemistry.com’s general counsel, Marshall Dye, declined to comment.
Bauer Power The scenario offered last week to the 10 Republican presidential candidates during a nationally televised debate was one Jack Bauer would revel in: America is under attack. A suspect has been captured. More terrorist bombings are imminently expected. Do you torture? Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney answered emphatically. First Romney said he would support “enhanced interrogation techniques” — whatever that is — if he were president. But he then upped the machismo ante by taking a tougher line than President George W. Bush has, publicly, when he said that he wanted to double the size of Guant�namo and make it impossible for lawyers to have access to prisoners. Reaction from some in the D.C. legal community was . . . predictable outrage. “This is just another example of lawyer bashing tactics that the president and his followers trot out,” says David Cynamon, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman who is representing the four remaining Kuwaiti detainees at Gitmo. “They want Guant�namo to be a law-free zone and to do so it must be a lawyer-free zone. He ought to be embarrassed.” The Romney campaign declined to comment.
Daimler’s Divorce If DaimlerChrysler’s proposed divestment of Chrysler last week is any indication, a corporate divorce can involve just as many investment bankers and lawyers as a merger. Last week, Daimler announced it was selling an approximately 80 percent stake in the newly-created Chrysler Holding Co. for $7.4 billion to Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based private equity shop. According to some press reports, about 600 bankers, lawyers, and other advisers played a role in the deal. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Shearman & Sterling represented Daimler on the sale. Both firms were quite well-acquainted with the unhappy couple, having worked on Germany’s Daimler Benz’s 1998 acquisition of Chrysler. Michael Rogan, head of Skadden’s D.C. office, and Roger Aaron and Ann Beth Stebbins, both N.Y.-based partners, led the 10-lawyer Skadden team on the deal. New York-based Schulte, Roth & Zabel advised Cerberus. . . . Meanwhile, lawyers in Skadden’s D.C. office were busy on another U.S.-German deal last week. Mary Lou Steptoe, an of counsel in the firm’s antitrust practice, Eric Mohr, an antitrust counsel, and Eric Sensenbrenner, a tax counsel, were part of a 23-attorney team advising German pharmaceuticals giant Merck KGaA on the $6.7 billion sale of its generic drug unit to Mylan Laboratories.
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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