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U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor is looking to the private bar for assistance in misdemeanor prosecutions, a proposal that some big firms around town find intriguing. Taylor’s plan entails borrowing associates from private law firms for around six months to help the overburdened U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. And though the proposal has a long way to go before becoming reality, some D.C. firms see its potential to get their associates out of the world of document discovery and into the courtroom. “I think we would be interested in that,” says Thomas Jenkins, chairman of the management committee at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. “We’re always looking for pro bono opportunities and also for training.” Arnold & Porter Chairman Thomas Milch agrees, although he wants to know more about the program before committing. “I’d have to look at the specifics, but I think this could be a very promising development,” he says. In an analogous arrangement to Taylor’s, though not on the federal level, A&P’s California office has paired up with the city prosecutor in Los Angeles. The firm farms out associates for six months to prosecute cases, while continuing to pay their salaries. Fulbright & Jaworski has a similar arrangement with the D.C. Attorney General’s Office — though handling only civil matters. Fulbright partner John Simpson says the firm would “certainly be interested” in Taylor’s plan. Taylor declined to comment. Currently, the proposal, first reported in The Washington Post, must get Justice Department approval. But even if Justice gives the green light, the D.C. Court of Appeals will have to amend bar rules concerning conflict of interest before any trial-hungry associates make it into the courtroom as prosecutors.
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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