LEADING DOJ LAWYER LEAVES FOR O’MELVENY

When Steve Bunnell left the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in 2007 to join O’Melveny & Myers, one of his colleagues, Mary Pat Brown, took over as the criminal division chief. Now, five years later, Bunnell and Brown will be reunited.

Brown is joining O’Melveny in October as a partner in the white-collar defense practice. She’s filling a hole created after Kenneth Wainstein — the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia — left for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. “One thing for sure, O’Melveny definitely traded up on that deal,” Wainstein said. “Mary Pat’s a star in every way.”

Brown has served in numerous high-profile roles during her more than 20 years as a prosecutor, including head of the Justice Department’s professional-responsibility office. In 2010, she was named a deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division front office at DOJ, overseeing the public integrity section.

Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general of the division, described Brown as “a model supervisor and leader.” — Mike Scarcella

LAW STUDENT WITH A PAST CELEBRATES BOOK

Shon Hopwood, the former bank robber who filed a successful U.S. Supreme Court petition in 2003 as a jailhouse lawyer, seemed stunned as he looked out over a crowd of top D.C. lawyers on September 11. They had gathered to celebrate the publication of Hopwood’s page-turner book Law Man, which chronicles his life behind bars and his path to redemption.

He’s studying to become a real lawyer as a 1L at University of Washington School of Law. “I can’t say that throwing a book party was the first thing on my mind” when he was released from prison in 2008, Hopwood said. The event was hosted by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, whose Supreme Court guru Seth Waxman argued Fellers v. U.S., the Sixth Amendment case that Hopwood convinced the court to take. (Waxman won, 9-0.)

“Shon’s life deserves a book, and probably deserves a movie,” said Waxman, who recalled how surprised he was to read Hopwood’s “very clearly written” petition. Hopwood thanked Waxman and Wilmer partner Noah Levine for keeping him involved in the case and urging him to go to law school. While he was in prison, Hopwood laughed, “they called me ‘in-house counsel.’ ” Hopwood, a Gates Scholar at the University of Washington, plans a public service career after law school. — Tony Mauro

GROUP: DIVERSITY STILL LACKING

The director of the American Bar Foundation last week delivered a harsh assessment of the lack of diversity in the legal profession. “What we see in this data is that there are serious flaws in the pipeline to the legal profession,” said Robert Nelson during the third annual meeting of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, to a ballroom filled with corporate chief legal officers and firm managing partners. Among some of the more startling findings from Nelson and his team is the revelation that among lawyers who took the bar seven years ago, minorities represent only 18 percent of the legal work force. African-Americans had the highest shutout rate among law school applicants at 60 percent, followed by Hispanics at 45 percent and then Asians at 37 percent. By comparison, 31 percent of white applicants were rejected at law schools. Asians fared better than most minorities in the industry, as they represent about 4.5 percent of the general population and 7 percent of all attorneys. Nelson found that diversity was greater within big law firms than at smaller firms. The council helps promote diversity by evaluating and supporting programs that encourage diversity at law firms and corporate legal departments. — Matthew Huisman

AFGHAN JUDGES

There were seven judges at oral arguments before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on September 13, but only three were on the bench. As part of an exchange program sponsored by the International Association of Women Judges, four women judges from Afghan courts sat in on last week’s proceedings. D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby hosted them at the court. “It’s a powerful experience for me to meet these women, who are committed to their court systems working in Afghanistan, [taking] pride in the work that they do,” she said. The program, which the association has run for several years with the State Department, involves several weeks of training and programs in Washington and Vermont focused on international law and women’s human rights issues. Blackburne-Rigsby said this year’s group included a judge from a criminal court in Kabul, one from a government-corruption tribunal and another who hears civil cases. She said she won’t be traveling to Afghanistan any time soon, but that there was “something very special about having the discussion with other women about the work that we do as judges.” — Zoe Tillman

AMERICA’S HEROES

After the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound, the body of the al-Qaeda terrorist was taken to the USS Carl Vinson to be buried in the north Arabian Sea. On September 11, two of the flags on board the ship were presented to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld‘s Washington and New York offices in separate ceremonies. The flags were presented to the firm by the America’s Heroes First Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps funnel funds to charities that help veterans and their families. Akin Gump has donated pro bono resources for the organization. Receiving the flag in D.C. were Akin pro bono partner Steven Schulman and chairman R. Bruce McLean. “Today marks the 11th anniversary of America’s darkest day,” McLean said. “It’s been our sacred honor and our privilege to be able to help our returning heroes. This flag will find a special place in our hearts and in our firm.” — Matthew Huisman

FAMILY LAW

The Children’s Law Center hosted its annual Helping Children Soar benefit at the Kennedy Center on September 13, awarding Arnold & Porter and General Electric Co. for their pro bono work. Arnold & Porter chairman Tom Milch said that while working with the center, his firm developed an arrangement with long-time client GE, and both were able to get lawyers to participate in projects. “That enabled us to both broaden the reach of the pro bono work that we are doing and at the same time it deepened our relationship with a major client of the firm,” Milch said. GE senior counsel Aimee Imundo said her son is learning-disabled, so she understands how important it is for children to have legal advocates: “My son had me, but I came to realize not every child should have to have a lawyer in the family.” — Don Tartaglione

JUNIOR LOBBYISTS

Almost two dozen eighth-grade students from Washington last week learned that lobbying isn’t just for adults. A half-dozen members of the American League of Lobbyists’ Young Lobbyists Network guided the Washington Jesuit Academy students through meetings on Capitol Hill to promote a faux bill that would keep local recreation centers open. The aspiring lobbyists met with six members of Congress, presenting arguments and counterpoints for the legislation. Drinker Biddle & Reath government relations director Jeremy Scott, who volunteered for the Hill day, said the students were “really good” at engaging congressional staffers in the push to stop recreation center closures. The day on the Hill was part of an effort by the Hoops for Youth Foundation to teach children about their right to petition the U.S. government. — Andrew Ramonas