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The Electric Ride Talk about luck. Keith Branyon, a tax partner in Jackson Walker’s Fort Worth office, recently won the chance to buy a Once-in-a-Lifetime holiday gift package from Sam’s Club. Branyon is the lucky buyer of a 2007 Hybrid Technologies Lithium-powered Smart Car and a trip for four to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will go behind the scenes during a space shuttle liftoff in 2008. Branyon picked up his Smart Car, a diminutive electric car that uses battery technology developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, on Dec. 12. Branyon says about 200 individuals attempted to buy the gift package, and by chance, his $35,000 wire transfer was the first one to go through on the sale date of Nov. 8, giving him the opportunity to buy the gift package. It was pure luck, Branyon says. “I found out that getting wires to go places at specific times is like an asteroid hitting you on the head,” he says. Branyon says he and his wife, 348th District Judge Dana Womack of Tarrant County, will use the electric car for their three-mile daily commute to work; it’s supposed to run for 100 miles or so without needing a charge. Branyon says he and his wife will take some friends on the trip to the Kennedy Space Center to see the shuttle launch. Branyon says he’s excited about driving an economical electric car, because he would like to spend less money on gasoline. That’s been on his mind for a while; he bought a Ford Escape Hybrid this past summer for that reason. Branyon says his concern right now is figuring out how to place his fleet in his garage. In addition to the Smart Car and the Escape, Branyon says he drives a Mini Cooper and his wife tools around on a Vespa. DeGuerin Goes Hollywood As the paparazzi lined up along the red carpet to snap photos of celebrities for the Dec. 10 opening of the film “Charlie Wilson’s War” � the true account of a Texas congressman’s efforts to help fund a Cold War defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan � they had the chance to shoot the movie’s stars, including Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Dick DeGuerin. Wait a minute. DeGuerin? As it turns out, the Houston criminal-defense lawyer played a behind-the-scenes role in the making of the movie. He was the guest of Joanne King Herring, a Houston socialite who Roberts portrays, at the premiere of the movie at the Universal Studio AMC Theater in Hollywood. “Joanne King was and is my client and friend,” says DeGuerin, a partner in DeGuerin Dickson & Hennessy. “She’s the one who really got Charlie Wilson to do what he did.” King was an honorary consul to Pakistan in the 1980s. She convinced Wilson, then a member of the House Appropriations Committee, to help funnel money to the Afghan mujahedeen, the resistance fighters who eventually drove the Soviets out of their country. Pakistan played a role in the conflict in the 1980s, because the country served as a refuge for thousands of Afghans who fled their homeland during the Soviet occupation. Pakistan urged the United States to become involved in the war. Wilson’s story made for a popular 2003 book “Charlie Wilson’s War” and the new movie of the same name. But when Herring was leaked a copy of the movie script, she was not happy, DeGuerin says. “They had written a script that had her cussing like a sailor and doing things that she never did. She got me to threaten the producers with a lawsuit if they didn’t change it. And they did,” DeGuerin says. DeGuerin ended up sitting next to Herring at the premiere and met Hanks, who plays Wilson � proof that everyone was “very happy” after the resolution of the script conflict, he says. Job Change Almost a dozen labor and employment law attorneys � including six partners � left Baker & McKenzie in Dallas this month to join the Dallas office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Veteran employment attorney Ronald E. Manthey, who leads the new team at Morgan, Lewis, says the chief reason for the move to Morgan, Lewis is to gain more national exposure. “Baker & McKenzie has been a very good platform, but it wasn’t being built out here,” Manthey says. The addition of his team, which will serve clients in the south and central part of the country, complements Morgan, Lewis’ coast-to-coast presence in the labor and employment law practice area, Manthey says. Other partners who joined Manthey at Morgan, Lewis are Ann Marie Painter, Joel S. Allen, Paulo B. McKeeby, Ellen L. Perlioni and Melissa M. Hensley. Also joining the team at Morgan, Lewis are former Baker & McKenzie associates Farin Khosravi, John Bosco, Jason Elliott, Daryl Robertson-Pritchard and Eva Turner. Manthey says the lawyers now at Morgan, Lewis made up Baker & McKenzie’s employment law practice group. But David Parham, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Dallas office, says, “We still have labor and employment lawyers both here and in Houston. We enjoyed Ron [Manthey] and his group, and we wish them well.”

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