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In With the New Foley & Lardner is changing the guard in its D.C. office, though without the fanfare of Buckingham Palace. Jay Freedman has taken over the position of managing partner from Richard Weiss, who held the post for the past six years. As the MP of the firm’s 150-lawyer Washington shop, Freedman plans to focus on lateral hiring. “We plan to do that in a number of different, complementary areas,” he says, citing corporate, transactional, and regulatory practices as spots to spackle on the laterals. Freedman, who leads the firm’s business law department, has a broad corporate practice with fingers in mergers and acquisitions, securities regulations, and real estate development. He also has a bookish side and is on the board of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, though he says he’s never cut loose and run rampant through the stacks. In his new post, Freedman does face one challenge, however. The firm is renovating its building. “That will be a big project,” he says of the task of redecorating six floors filled with files, furniture, and, of course, attorneys.
Texas Two-Step Dallas-based commercial and intellectual property firm McKool Smith has set up its first out-of-Texas office here in Washington. They say everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, and that rule seems to apply in this case: McKool Smith has about 90 attorneys in its Dallas, Austin, and Marshall locales, but its D.C. outpost is home to just two partners: Michael McManus and Rodney Sweetland III, both former partners at Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg. But firm founder Michael McKool is confident that the pair is up for the challenge, especially because both specialize in international trade litigation. A main reason for the firm expanding to the District was to be closer to the International Trade Commission. Sweetland litigates matters involving unfair competition, patent litigation, and trademark disputes before the ITC, as well as before the district and appellate courts. He says the decision to join McKool Smith was easy. “McKool’s reputation stretches far beyond Texas,” he says. “They’re one of the major intellectual property names.” McManus agrees that the draw to the firm was irresistible: “We had become familiar with McKool Smith’s great reputation and pattern of success in litigation, and patent litigation in particular.” McManus has handled chemical, pharmaceutical, and petroleum tariff classifications for the U.S. Customs Service’s Office of Regulations and Rulings. He has also been an international trade facilitator for From2 Global Solutions. Some of McKool Smith’s most significant courtroom wins have been for clients such as Electronic Data Systems, BearingPoint, Ericcson, Cisco Systems, Medtronic, and National Instruments.
A Healthy Appetite Hogan & Hartson and WilmerHale have both bolstered their food and drug practices. Both firms say pending Food and Drug Administration-related legislation could increase demand for FDA lawyers, but they say their new hires were not necessarily driven by this. Michael Druckman joins Hogan & Hartson as a partner in its pharmaceutical and biotechnology group, which is a subset of the firm’s food, drug, medical device, and agriculture practice. Druckman was previously associate chief counsel for biologics at the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel. Scott Lassman is now a partner in WilmerHale’s FDA practice. He was previously senior assistant general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, where he oversaw all FDA regulatory and policy matters. The chairman of WilmerHale’s FDA section, James Czaban, says his “mandate is to build a real comprehensive, top-notch FDA practice.” He says bringing in a partner with Lassman’s level of experience is key to that. He does add, however, that “companies are really going to need to lawyer up to adapt” if legislation such as a drug user fee reauthorization bill passes. Bob Brady, head of Hogan & Hartson’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology group, agrees: “There’s just a lot of legislative activity that’s going to spawn more need for counsel.” Still, Brady says that for his firm, growing the food and drug practice has always been a priority. “Mike will be the fourth new partner in the pharmaceutical group since 2002,” he says.
Changing Teams In other move news, William Cook has joined DLA Piper as a partner in the firm’s government affairs group. He will head the U.S. communications, e-commerce, and privacy practice. He comes from Alston & Bird, where he led the telecommunications practice, and brings associates Sydney White and Adrian Copiz with him. Also, Covington & Burling has persuaded Ellen Eliasoph to give up the sweet life of the corporate world, leaving her post as Warner Bros. Pictures’ managing director in China to become senior counsel in the firm’s Washington office. Eliasoph, who is fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, will advise clients on the regulatory, policy, and cultural issues in Asia.
Wiley Jilted? Communications powerhouse Wiley Rein isn’t in on this latest round of NTP patent suits. The company that brought the firm a $245 million contingent fee in last year’s BlackBerry case has looked to other firms for representation in its lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile. So why has Wiley been replaced by Hunton & Williams and Christian & Barton, to name a few? “We have a lot of clients in the telecommunications area,” says James Wallace, a partner at Wiley and the lead attorney on the BlackBerry case, “and we’re not in the position to handle those cases.” Ahh, the cruelty of conflicts.
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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