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Legal Bisnow
    January 3, 2013  
 

2012's Most Important Legal Moments


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You survived a fiscal cliff and a Mayan apocalypse. You have plenty to boast about regarding 2012. So what were the most important legal moments of the past 365 days?
 
1) Healthcare Surprise
 
In a somewhat unexpected turn, Chief Justice Roberts became the swing vote in the June Supreme Court ruling (all 187-pages of it) that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, upholding the individual mandate as a tax. Above, DLA Piper healthcare chair Mary Langowski with government affairs co-chair and former Michigan governor Jim Blanchard, at a conference about healthcare reform's impact. (One certain result: copious work for lawyers.)
 
Kane (OfficeShred2) MLDC
2) Marriage Has Its Day
 
Nine years after the Supreme Court's landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision (argued by Jenner & Block Supreme Court chair Paul Smith, above), it accepted both a DOMA case and Prop 8 case to be heard this year. It's indisputable that these rulings will be some of the most seminal of this court. Paul successfully overturned DOMA in the First Circuit in May (the first time it was struck down by a federal appeals court), though the Court ultimately granted cert to the Second Circuit DOMA case.
3) Dewey Falls
 

At its peak, Dewey & LeBoeuf boasted around 1,400 lawyers. By May, 200 of Dewey's 300 partners had left the firm. Almost exactly a year after Howrey's bankruptcy, Dewey followed suit. Five members of a newly created chairman's office stayed after all the rest; Charley Landgraf, above, formerly the head of Dewey's DC office, was the last to leave. We snapped him at his new post at Arnold & Porter.

4) Merger Mania
 
Among the firms announcing that they're tying the knot: Norton Rose and Fulbright & Jaworski; Novak Druce and Connolly Bove; SNR Denton with Salans and FMC; and K&L Gates and Australian firm Middletons. Non-law firms wanted to get on board too, evidenced by the announcement of NYSE and ICE's $8.2B merger. Above, Dentons CEO Elliott Portnoy with other management.
 
5) Social Media
 

2012 seems to be the year that law firms caught the social media bug. This year's DC Bar president, Darrell Mottley, was the first to blog for the Bar. The Bar also picked up Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (through which various bars reached out to former Dewey lawyers) for the first time. McDermott branched out to Instagram to show off pictures of its new Capitol Hill building before it opened; MoFo put out an infographic (about what else: social media) that went viral on Twitter and Mashable, gaining millions of views; and many practice groups created iPad apps for clients. Even judges got into the swing, with a DC Superior Court iPad user group.

 
6) Privacy Hits the Spotlight
 

With social media and info-sharing booming, 2012 saw a concurrent growth in privacy law. A slew of privacy officers left in-house or government positions to join private practice as firms felt the need to bulk up (or create) these departments. After 12 years as IBM’s first-ever chief privacy officer, Harriet Pearson joined Hogan Lovells. DHS CPO Mary Ellen Callahan, above, joined Jenner & Block to start its privacy practice. AmEx CPO Andy Roth, who led privacy matters there for over 100 million clients and 60,000 employees, joined SNR Denton. On the other end, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple all hired their first privacy counsels in '12.

 
7) Nats Fever
 

This event transcends the legal industry, but like proud fans we can't avoid a mention: the Nationals made the playoffs for the first time since 1933. Presciently, Bisnow held an event with Nats GM Mike Rizzo, right, interviewed by Arent Fox sports practice head Rich Brand the morning of the game that clinched the berth.

 
(Bonus) Cute Dog Pics
 
Last but not least: the most important adorable event of the year. Bisnow publishes photographs of lawyers' best friend. One was Westminster-winning vizsla Gedeon (or "GCh Kezdet's Grand Mark Gedeon JH," as he prefers to be called), belonging to Cozen O'Conner IP partner Barry Golob. Former US District Court for DC Judge Ricardo Urbina has yellow lab and former FERC commissioner Marc Spitzer has Pomeranians by the names of Oliver Cromwell and Filibuster.
 

Send new story ideas and topics to Roksana@bisnow.com.

And Dining Bisnow is kicking off 2013 with a roundup of all of the hottest new spots that opened in 2012. What restaurants do you think need to be on our list? Shoot us an email today at dining@bisnow.com and let us know!

 
 
Arent Fox (REI) LDC
 
RMA (Bizmen3) LEGAL
 
DC Central (Sips) LEGAL
 
Cardinal (Mobile2) LDC
 
WS (Barcelo) LEGAL
 
Microsoft (Share)
 
Bisnow Which3 LEGAL
 
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