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Wiley’s White-Collar Loss Last week Barbara Van Gelder said goodbye to Wiley Rein, where she was the head of the firm’s white-collar practice, and hello to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. “As my practice grew, I found that I was on the road half the time,” says Van Gelder. “I chose MLB because they had offices in cities where I have investigations. My decision to leave Wiley Rein was because of Morgan, Lewis’ platform, not any dissatisfaction with Wiley Rein.” As a white-collar attorney, Van Gelder represented high-profile clients such as David Safavian, a former Bush administration official who got too close to the Jack Abramoff fire. Prior to entering private practice, she was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District, working in the Criminal and Civil divisions for 14 years. Van Gelder says it was Morgan, Lewis’ depth and broad footprint that caused her to switch — Wiley Rein doesn’t have an office outside of the Washington area. “Morgan, Lewis has a large litigation practice and a higher associate-partner ratio than Wiley Rein’s,” she says. “So I have the bench strength to handle large complex investigations. I was losing business opportunities, because when Wiley Rein is busy — and it always is — I would not have the attorneys to throw into a new matter.” For Wiley Rein, it is a significant loss to the firm’s white-collar practice. “We’re sorry Biz left,” says Richard Wiley, the firm’s managing partner. “But we will be making some additions, I would think before the end of the year.” Wiley added that Roderick Thomas will be taking over as head of the firm’s white-collar practice.
New Survey: D.C. Firms Lag This just in: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is the standard-bearer among corporate law firms. This unsurprising news was confirmed in a recent survey of corporate in-house counsel by BTI Consulting Group. “There isn’t a category where Skadden isn’t a lead player,” says Michael Rynowecer, president of Wellesley, Mass.-based BTI. “They are the only firm where they stand out in every part of the survey.” BTI’s research identified eight other firms as power players in the transactions market: Baker & McKenzie; Jones Day; Mayer Brown; McDermott Will & Emery; Sidley Austin; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; and Vinson & Elkins. As for Washington-based firms, let’s just say they aren’t leading the pack. Only five locals cracked the top 100, and all were relegated to the survey’s bottom tier. “Washington firms aren’t a player yet in this market,” says Rynowecer. “Covington [& Burling] and WilmerHale are getting to the table. But they’re not getting the deals yet.”

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