BINGHAM PARTNER LOOKS BACK ON WATERGATE

It’s been a little more than 40 years since the Watergate break-in that led to the toppling of the presidency of Richard Nixon. For Bingham McCutchen partner James Hamilton, it also marked the beginning of a long legal career.

As assistant chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee, Hamilton’s main assignment was the investigation of the break-in and cover-up. The watershed moment came with the testimony of Alexander Butterfield, the deputy assistant to Nixon. It was Butterfield who revealed the existence of the Nixon White House tapes. “This changed the course of the investigation, and it is fair to say, the course of history,” Hamilton said. But for all of the controversy surrounding the investigation, it involved a true bipartisan effort.

“While this was a very controversial investigation, it largely was done in a nonpartisan way,” Hamilton said. “Republicans and Democrats in the main tried to act in an even-handed manner. In Washington today, where there is so much partisan bickering, you would not achieve this type of unanimity.” — Matthew Huisman 

HOGAN WINS TOP HONOR FOR FED JUDGES

The 30th annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award — considered the highest honor a federal judge can receive for service on the bench — will go to Senior Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

A federal judge since 1982, Hogan was the court’s chief judge from 2001 to 2008. He has served on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court since 2008 and was appointed last fall by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. as director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

“In my 30 years in the federal judiciary — as a U.S. District Judge and as Director of the Administrative Office — I have been surrounded by outstanding and dedicated men and women who have been instrumental to my success,” Hogan said in a statement. “I am pleased to share this recognition with them.”

This year’s Devitt Award recipient was chosen by Justice Clarence Thomas, the panel chairman; Chief Judge Joel Dubina of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; and Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Hogan will be formally honored at a ceremony in December at the U.S. Supreme Court. — Zoe Tillman 

COVINGTON PLANS ITS BIG MOVE

Covington & Burling last week inked a 20-year lease for 420,000 square feet of space in the CityCenterDC development project. The deal puts the 429-attorney office as the anchor tenant in the mixed-use development located northwest of Washington’s Chinatown. Covington plans to make its move in 2014. The firm is currently in the process of designing the space, according to a firm spokeswoman. Including the Covington lease, the office space at CityCenterDC is more than 80 percent preleased, according to a press release. The First Investor, the investment banking arm of Qatar-based bank Barwa Bank, is a co-investor in the development alongside Qatari Diar, the real estate investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority. Construction on the development started in March of last year with a grand opening slated for spring 2014. Covington declined to disclose the price per square-foot. But as The National Law Journal reported in May, the D.C. office of the now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf, catty-corner to CityCenterDC, recently paid about $51 per square foot, according to an NLJ estimate based on that former law office’s monthly rent and square footage. — Matthew Huisman

BROWN’S BATTLE

Two J.D.-holders will go head-to-head on November 6 for one of Washington’s top jobs. No, not the presidency — an at-large seat on the D.C. Council. Incumbent Councilmember Michael Brown (I) is facing a challenge from David Grosso, an independent hoping to oust Brown from one of two council seats reserved for minority parties on the Democratic-heavy council. A recent poll by Washington City Paper and the Kojo Nnamdi Show show Grosso creeping up on Brown, capturing 21 percent of voters compared to Brown’s 26 percent. With 32 percent of voters undecided, the poll showed that the race is anyone’s to claim. Brown, who was elected to the council in 2008, earned his law degree from Widener University School of Law. Besides his council job, Brown is a partner at local lobbying and consulting shop The Madison Group. Grosso got his J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center and is vice president of public policy at Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield. Before going into the private sector, Grosso was chief counsel to House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and spent six years with the D.C. Council working for former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose. — Zoe Tillman

JUSTICE WORKERS

At an Equal Justice Works dinner last week, the group raised more than $50,000 from the attendees. The annual dinner recognizes the 50 fellows who work on legal projects aimed at improving access to justice for underrepresented populations. Randal Milch, the executive vice president and general counsel of Verizon, was also honored as this year’s Scales of Justice awardee. “I believe that lawyers have the ability to change lives,” Milch said. “It goes to the very heard of our responsibilities as lawyers.” Julia Wilson, a former Equal Justice Works fellow who helped start the Justice Bus, which brings legal representation to rural Californians, also spoke. “Equal Justice Works gave me the absolute opportunity of a lifetime,” Wilson said with a quiver in her voice. “These are not only the leaders of justice, but of the legal profession.” — Matthew Huisman

HONEST LOBBYISTS

Sweeping federal lobbying legislation that became law in 2007 was intended to make lobbyists more ethical and improve governance in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. But five years later, few lobbyists think the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act had the desired effect, according to a survey released last week by The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, research firm Lobbyists.info and market research firm ORI. Less than 21 percent of the 865 lobbyists surveyed said government is better and ethical standards for lobbying have improved since 2007. The lobbyists also complained about their jobs under the law, with more than half saying their work is more difficult. Most of the lobbyists surveyed said the law has made it harder to work with congressional staffers and has hurt Congress in its efforts to acquire the information necessary to make decisions. — Andrew Ramonas

SECOND ROUND

Glen Nager, a partner at Jones Day in Washington and current president of the United States Golf Association, has been nominated to serve a second one-year term to lead the USGA. During his first term, Nager, an appellate attorney who has argued 13 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, presided over a five-year strategic plan to identify and address golf’s challenges: environmental and climate pressures, tough economic conditions, the time commitment required to play the game, and the perception that golf is intimidating and unwelcoming. “Glen has provided tremendous expertise and leadership to the USGA, and at a particularly important time for the Association and for the game,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. — Don Tartaglione