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Race may be a sticky subject inside many of the nation’s biggest law firms. But for The Ghatt Law Group, race is part of what defines the business strategy. The Chevy Chase, Md.-based firm opened last month and appears to be the first women- and black-owned communications law shop in the nation. Run by three young attorneys who grew weary of the big-firm lifestyle, the firm caters to small and startup businesses owned by minorities. The attorneys hope to reach out to clients who value having professionals who understand their backgrounds. “People think that racial dynamics don’t come into play,” says Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt, one of the firm’s founders. “People do care about race issues. It’s not exactly a selling point, but they do gravitate to us.” The Ghatt Law Group boasts lower rates — somewhere between $200 and $275 an hour — flexible billing schedules, and the big-firm experience. Among the three of them, their r�sum�s include stints at Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Davis Wright Tremaine; and Willkie Farr & Gallagher. As a result, Ghatt says, they are able to attract companies that might not otherwise be able to afford legal services. So far, it’s worked. In the first month, Ghatt and her partners, Los Angeles-based Fatima Fofana and New York-based Nicolaine Lazarre, have lined up a few dozen clients, including Uptown Movie Network and Hardman Broadcasting Inc. “There’s enough work that we already need to hire,” Ghatt says.

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