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    July 7, 2008  
30 Under 30!

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We knew there was a boatload of exceptional young talent out there, but limited recognition to 30 individuals because, frankly, the moniker "30 under 30" sounded poetic. Little did we realize how hard that would make our task. Oh, and we violate our own rules in two ways: We count people from the same firm as one; and we allow some actual 30-year olds to sneak in. With apologies for inevitable oversights, and in no particular order, meet our 2008 class.

Dace Caldwell, 30, Gibson Dunn

You've got to be lucky or good to get the plum assignments Dace has—and we're betting the latter. Right out of the box at Gibson, she worked for Microsoft on its successful Supreme Court case on the extraterritorial reach of U.S. patent law. These days, she advises John McCain on his "natural born citizenship" and assisted with merits briefing on a Supreme Court win for Medtronic in a preemption case. She's a member of Ted Olson's "Crisis Management" team, and also protects Gucci and Chlo? from knockoff artists—witness a $160 million case pending in the S.D.N.Y. Not surprisingly, she's a former Ironman Triathelete. 

Uzo Asonye, 27, and Nina Ramos, 28, O'Melveny & Myers


Uzo has carved a real niche for himself in O'Melveny's Congressional investigations practice, led by firm Chair and former Reagan White House counsel A.B. Culvahouse. Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, Sen. Pete Domenici, Harvard University, and Mass General Hospital have all benefited from his behind the scenes work during Hill inquires. Potomac fever bit him while still in law school; after field organizing for John Kerry's '04 campaign in Broward County, Uzo made a beeline for DC to work for Jesse Jackson Jr. instead of returning to New Haven for his third year. Good thing Yale lets you take finals online.


Representing Merck in the multi-district Vioxx litigation, Nina displayed her golden touch with the pen on a Fifth Circuit brief over a massive privilege issue. The result: reversal of the trial court's ruling that tens of thousands of Merck's privileged documents were discoverable. A Georgetown law magna, her flair with words got her noticed in undergraduate days, when she was given Duke's prestigious Dasha Epstein Award as the school's most talented playwright. Now judges pay attention.

David Dempsey, 28, and Michael Scoville, 30, Kirkland & Ellis

Putting a first-year on large litigation in the Rocket Docket might sound like some kind of cruel joke. David flourished, overseeing BP's document discovery in a race discrimination case; Judge Cacheris called the case's discovery the most extensive he'd seen in 25 years. Recently, he handled several hundred million dollars in claims on behalf of Calpine, the most valuable company ever to emerge from bankruptcy. And the heart warmer: one of David's favorite hobbies is playing with his rescued terrier-mix, Asia.


Michael—a Fulbright Scholar, Harvard Law grad, and '04-term clerk for Justice Kennedy—would seem accomplished enough, but add the fact he's fluent in three foreign languages. He played a major role on a Kirkland team representing the auto industry in a federal court preemption challenge to a Vermont emissions regulation, arguing (and winning) two Daubert motions as well as cross examining a state expert at trial. His knowledge of Czech is a family requirement (it's his wife's language), but also came in handy when a Czech document that a Kirkland partner turned up in discovery needed emergency translation. The firm won't have its resident linguist much longer: he'll be an assistant US attorney in Seattle come September. 

Eduardo Ferrer, 27, Howrey

Eddie's regular work lies in antitrust and white collar defense, but sometimes associates shine most on pro bono. On a high-profile constitutional challenge to a Prince William County law—which as described by Eddie, allowed police officers to check the immigration status "of anyone they came across"—Eddie didn't just brief the issues. His Spanish language skills and relatable demeanor helped him advise 20 individual plaintiffs through the litigation, as well as doing interviews with Spanish-speaking press. Though the case was tossed from the Rocket Docket on standing grounds, PW County has since made the law less broad. Eddie co-founded D.C. Lawyers for Youth, improving the D.C. juvenile justice system, and is a budding expert in the martial art of shaolin kempo.

Jeremy Schofer, 29, Wiley Rein

Number one in his George Mason law school class, Jeremy came to Wiley Rein in 2004 and got in on the ground floor of client Verizon's plan to expand into cable television. He served as the lead attorney on negotiations for a cable franchise agreement with the largest county in Virginia: Fairfax, a crucial market. Since then he's been extending Verizon's reach throughout communities in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. Don't try to bluff this guy at the negotiating table, either: He just placed 10th out of 2,400 entrants in a World Series of Poker event in Vegas.


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Andrews Kurth
McGuire Woods
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