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After a year of working with the White House Office of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., Carl Buchholz returns to Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley as a partner, but this time with a management role as well. Buchholz, who left in October 2001 to take the position of special assistant to the president and executive secretary at the White House Office of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., will rejoin Philadelphia-based Blank Rome on Jan. 1 in the new position of executive partner. Blank Rome managing partner and chief executive officer Fred Blume said the executive partner position was designed to groom the future leadership of the firm — in this case Buchholz. In addition to his new leadership position at Blank Rome, Buchholz will resume his practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation and legislative action, including environmental, insurance, class action and patent litigation, as well as in the representation of clients in legislative matters. “In 2001, we altered our corporate governance and created the position of executive partner,” Blume said. “The idea was to find someone to fill that role who could be part of our [firm leadership] succession team. There are no real defined responsibilities, but I’m sure that I will hand down some of my responsibilities. But there is no agreement with Carl that he will succeed me or David [Girard-diCarlo, firm chairman]. It was just that he would become executive partner and assume some management responsibilities.” The departure of Buchholz, a former partner in the litigation department at Blank Rome, from the White House Office of Homeland Security came only weeks after Congress passed legislation paving the way for the establishment of the formal Department of Homeland Security. While at the White House, Buchholz worked with Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who serves as director of homeland security, and President Bush to develop the administration’s policies on the war on terror. He described his role as being a sort of chief operating officer for the office. “I was one of four people that originally went down to Washington with Gov. Ridge to get the homeland security office off the ground,” Buchholz said. “We have gone from four people to 170 people in 15 months and with Congress passing the legislation and the president signing it, I thought it was an opportune time to get back to my practice and my family in Philadelphia. I always viewed it as a temporary assignment, being that my wife and children never moved with me to Washington.” This was not the first time Buchholz served Ridge or Bush. He was general counsel to Ridge’s campaign for governor and his transition team, and Pennsylvania counsel to the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. Buchholz, a 1992 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, served as special assistant to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz before joining Blank Rome. Also rejoining the firm is Mark Holman, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist who left with Buchholz to become chief of staff in the homeland security office. Holman served as Gov. Ridge’s chief of staff from 1995 to 2000, as well as chief of staff to then-Congressman Ridge from 1983 to 1991. He also served as campaign manager for Ridge’s successful 1994 gubernatorial campaign and then directed the Ridge-Schweiker transition team. Holman will again work in Blank Rome’s government affairs office in Washington. Girard-diCarlo, who recently announced that he would be spending the majority of his time in Washington, has close relationships with both Ridge and Bush. He was one of Ridge’s chief fund-raisers and served as chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign in Pennsylvania.

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