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Two prominent Washington, D.C. litigators have signed up in the contest to become the next president-elect of the D.C. Bar. Last week, bar officials announced that Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering partner John Payton will face Carol Elder Bruce, the former independent counsel who investigated claims of wrongdoing against Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Next year, the winner will succeed John Nields Jr., the Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White partner whose one-year term as president begins June 28. Bruce, 50, a partner with D.C.’s Tighe, Patton & Babbin, focuses mostly on white collar criminal defense work and complex civil cases. Payton, 53, was D.C. Corporation Counsel from 1991 to 1994, and in private practice has worked on a range of issues, including civil rights cases. Ballots for the president-elect race will be mailed to bar members next month. The winners will be announced in June.

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