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Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson lawyers all say they’re thrilled — thrilled! — for partner Harvey Pitt, President Bush’s choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Undoubtedly they are happy to see Pitt, a legend of the securities bar, realize his lifelong dream — but they also have to be thinking about how the New York-based firm is going to make up the $20 million a year in revenue that two knowledgeable sources say Pitt regularly brought in. Says one current partner who worked closely with Pitt: “You can’t just replace someone of Harvey’s stature.” Pitt, general counsel of the SEC from 1975 to 1978, has for more than two decades been a major force at Fried Frank, building a sprawling, two-city securities practice that is one of the country’s best known and most respected. Pitt has counseled such clients as all of the Big Five accounting firms, Lloyd’s of London, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., and the New York Stock Exchange, many of which have become clients of the firm. He has also represented a host of white-collar defendants with SEC problems. Pitt is consistently one of Fried Frank’s biggest business generators, and is one of the firm’s eight “super point” partners, with compensation that is more than double the Fried Frank average profits per partner of more than $1 million. Pitt’s family lives in Washington, D.C., but he is regarded as so valuable at Fried Frank that the firm maintained a posh Manhattan apartment for times when business required Pitt to be in New York. Pitt was better, however, than many of Fried Frank’s big guns at devolving power to the lawyers who worked with him. Though he clearly enjoyed his own outsize reputation, Pitt made a point of pushing younger partners in his group to work directly with his clients and to raise their profiles in the securities bar. The firm’s securities department is actually coheaded by Dixie Johnson in the D.C. office and Carmen Lawrence, a former SEC enforcement honcho, in New York. Both have strong reputations, as does Karl Groskaufmanis, a Washington partner who specializes in internal corporate investigations, and Matt Morley, who heads the firm’s Washington corporate practice and also worked with Pitt. Co-group head Johnson says, in fact, that last year more than half of the group’s business came from lawyers other than Pitt. “They’re very deep as a group,” says rival securities lawyer William McLucas of D.C.’s Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.” Harvey would be missed by any law firm, but they’re going to be fine.” But Pitt’s securities department successors shouldn’t count on taking Pitt’s spot among the firm’s “super point” elite, at least not right away. “We don’t have a certain number of slots,” says co-managing partner Michael Rauch. Adds another partner: “Those [super point] partners are the extraordinary exceptions.” And Pitt’s New York digs? He’s moving out, but none of his partners should call the moving van just yet. “We don’t plan to maintain the apartment for someone else,” says Rauch.

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