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Shopping at A&P McDermott Will & Emery is making moves. Last week the firm’s D.C. office brought in three new tax partners, including Blake Rubin, previously the head of Arnold & Porter’s tax practice. Coming with Rubin are Andrea Whiteway and Jon Finkelstein. The A&P group arrives during a busy year for McDermott, which has already added tax partners Robert Dilworth, Elizabeth Erickson, Eugene Holmes, and Jean Pawlow to its 35-lawyer Washington tax group. “McDermott has the largest and best tax practice in the country. I’ve known many people there for years, and when they came knocking, it made a lot of sense,” says Rubin, who joined Arnold & Porter in 2000 from Steptoe & Johnson. “They also have a bigger footprint geographically to go with strong corporate and real estate practices.” The trio is bringing a book of business that includes Tribune Co. and investment tycoon Henry Hillman. “Our expectations are that with the business they bring and the clients we already have, they will be very substantial contributors to our firm,” says Bobby Burchfield, co-managing partner of McDermott’s Washington office. “We’re very bullish about our office and this firm.”
More Trouble for Mayer The bell tolls for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. And it’s a big bell. The firm, along with several high-profile accounting shops and banks, was sued last week for $2 billion by Refco Inc.’s litigation trust, which represents thousands of interested parties. Mayer, Brown is accused in the suit of participating in “an elaborate scheme” that concealed losses and eventually landed the futures trading firm in bankruptcy. Also named in the complaint, which was filed in state court in Chicago, are accounting giants PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Grant Thornton, as well as Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank A.G., and Credit Suisse Group. Former Refco executives Phillip Bennett and Tone Grant are also named. Michael Carlinsky and Rick Werder, New York-based complex litigation partners with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, are the lead attorneys on the suit for the Refco trust. John McCambridge, a complex litigation partner at Chicago’s Grippo & Elden, is the lead local representation. Williams & Connolly partner John Villa was retained by Mayer, Brown to defend the firm against litigation stemming from the Refco implosion. Mayer, Brown declined to comment other than releasing a statement: “This suit is premised upon the bankruptcy examiner’s report which acknowledged that �[s]everal significant factual and legal defenses are potentially available to all parties against whom claims may be asserted.’ We intend to assert all available defenses and defend ourselves with vigor. We are confident of a positive resolution.” But Marc Kirschner, trustee of the Refco trust, says the suit was not triggered by the critical report filed by bankruptcy examiner Joshua Hochberg, a Washington partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge. Kirschner says the suit is the result of the trust’s own investigation. “We were encouraged to see [that] the examiner reached many of the same conclusions,” says Kirschner. “But this lawsuit comes from our own investigation. And we’re expecting to roll out more lawsuits against these businesses in the next few weeks.”
Sidley Partner Slips Up A gentle reminder that you’ve gotta pay your dues. Guy Neal, a prominent bankruptcy partner at Sidley Austin, received a not-so-pleasant surprise while on a family vacation in Iceland two weeks ago. Neal learned he had been kicked off the Maryland Federal Bar, which includes the state’s federal bankruptcy, trial, and appellate courts. A somewhat ominous notice was posted on the bankruptcy court’s docket, reading, “Guy Neal .�.�. is no longer permitted to practice law in this Court.” Unfortunately, the notice didn’t explain what Neal had done to elicit the court’s reaction. Client troubles? Back-room dogfighting operation? Nope. It was nothing so serious. He simply forgot to pay the $30 membership fee that comes due every three years for the Federal Bar. Neal, who has worked on several bankruptcy cases in Maryland, including representing parties in the giant PG&E National Energy Group case, is in good standing in the Virginia, D.C., and Maryland state bars. “I have no active matters before the Maryland bankruptcy court at this time,” says Neal. “So no clients are impacted. I fully intend to be a member in good standing of the Maryland Federal Bar in the future.”
Simpson’s Grand Plan That call on Line 2 might be your favorite general counsel. That’s because the hourly rates of some top-end lawyers are going up — way up. On Sept. 1, New York-based Simpson Thacher & Bartlett will raise its top rate to more than $1,000 from $950. Partners Barry Ostrager, a litigator; Richard Beattie, a private-equity specialist; and antitrust lawyer Kevin Arquit are among those raising their rates. A few attorneys have already crossed over the $1,000-per-hour billing threshold, but this is the first time a firm has publicly announced raising its top fees to that level. Simpson also made headlines earlier this year by raising first-year associate salaries to $160,000, endearing itself to partners across Washington. Benjamin Civiletti, a former U.S. attorney general under President Jimmy Carter and a senior partner at Venable, is thought to be the District’s only $1,000-per-hour man. If that’s not the case, please send Keeping Score your time sheets, and we’ll get word out on the District’s grand inquisitors.
Deal Flow What subprime crisis? Last week lawyers at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe helped pull together a real estate venture for a trio of developers and investors. The transaction, which involves the development and redevelopment of a number of properties in the Washington area — including Twinbrook Commons, Mark Center, and Bethesda North Marriott — has an estimated value of $10 billion. The deal was struck between MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment management firm; a fund managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate; and JBG Cos., a real estate developer. The 93 assets in the portfolio, which are now owned by JBG Urban, range from completed properties slated for renovation or demolition to undeveloped sites. San Francisco real estate partners William Murray and Christine Chavez were the lead attorneys on the deal, along with Washington finance partner Robert Lawrence.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip? Contact Senior Editor Douglas McCollam.

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