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    July 15, 2008  

30 Under 30:
Part V


Before we return to regular programming, one last batch of whiz kids to inspire us whenever we doubt the future of civilization, or at least of law firms. Thanks again for the outpouring of amazing nominations for our inaugural class of 2008—even though you caused us a lot more work than we bargained for!

Elizabeth Sauer, 28, Arent Fox


Elizabeth has become a key real estate advisor to the nation's largest owner/operator of assisted-living facilities, Sunrise Senior Living; in the last year and a half alone, she's helped close real estate portfolios totaling $844 million. Drafting documents, organizing due diligence, and negotiating financing agreements, in December she closed an $88 million j.v. to convert a luxury hotel and apartment complex into senior living residences. She also closed a $150 million subscription line of credit for a Quadrangle Development REIT, after proving the credit-worthiness of multiple investors. She's served on the firm's recruiting committee and in her rare off hours is an avid walker, which is good news to her pampered beagle, Winston.

Elina Teplinsky, 27, Pillsbury


Elina is an exceptional attorney in almost any language: in her case, English, Spanish, Portuguese, or her native Russian. (She moved stateside from Belarus at age 11.) She's currently advising clients and foreign governments on nascent nuclear energy programs, ensuring compliance with IAEA safety regulations, the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability, nuclear export controls, et. al. In the U.S., she makes solo investigations of nuclear plants to check compliance with NRC guidelines and whistle blower protections, interviewing employees from upper management to maintenance staff. Elina learned those romance languages during a 6 month college stint in Buenos Aires. Not least, she used to be a boxer.

Ken Vorrasi, 28, Drinker Biddle


Working under antitrust heavyweight Bob Skitol, Ken is Drinker Biddle's next-generation antitrust star. On a protracted FTC investigation of the merger of two leading hospital systems in Phoenix, Ken helped respond to government inquiries and pro-actively sold FTC lawyers on the deal, just cleared by the agency. He's been tapped as one of two DC associates on the firm-wide Associates Committee, and his number crunching helped pave the way for Hewlett Packard's $14 billion purchase of EDS to be cleared without government action. Incurable fan of Notre Dame football and Yankee baseball (no one's perfect), Ken and his wife hope to find time to celebrate their first anniversary in September.

Liz Oyer, 29, Mayer Brown


Liz's victory at Harvard's Ames Moot Court Competition augured a promising career as an appellate litigator. She hasn't disappointed at Mayer Brown, where she's taken her pen to two Supreme Court merits briefs and argued a pro bono matter before the D.C. Court of Appeals. She doesn't mind getting her hands dirty in trial court litigation, either, with colleagues praising her same-day turnaround skills. She showed her smarts in choosing a clerkship in South Beach (with the 11th Cir.'s Judge Marcus), which could be cause or symptom of her fine fashion sense: We hear Liz has one of the most impressive shoe collections in town.

Tom Bednar, 29, Jones Day


Tom filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court in his very first case at Jones Day, a pro bono defense of a death row inmate. It wasn't his first high stakes affair; during his clerkship with Judge Lamberth in the District of D.C., he helped sort through complex evidentiary questions in the trial of a FARC terrorist who submitted voluminous evidence of the political climate in Columbia for his defense. With a Top Secret security clearance, Tom has expertise in matters with national security implications, currently working an investigation spanning four continents, featuring records going back 20 years, and requiring analysis of U.S. and foreign intelligence docs. He's also part of a pro bono team suing the White House, on behalf of the National Security Archive, for failing to preserve electronic records. Quick on his feet, Tom runs the Army Ten-Miler this fall.

Paul Hastings Environmental Group


Okay, so we're cheating with this four-in-one entry, but the junior members of Paul Hastings' environmental team make a perfect nod to the group aspect of associate life. From left: Ross Noland, 27; Noah Perch-Ahern, 27; Michael Lukens, 29; and Kevin Welsh, 28, win praise for their fluency in arcane environmental regulations, helping clients like Alamo Rent-A-Car on compliance for underground fuel tanks. Michael won approvals from the EPA and Maritime Administration for the disposal of large-scale naval equipment, and provides pro bono advice to the Eastern Land Conservancy on conservation easements. All four are noted at Paul Hastings for their public service work, with Ross, an environmental LLM candidate at GWU, creatively using storm-water management regulations to protect waterways for non-profit American Rivers.

Emily Hargrove, 30, Nixon Peabody


Emily's known as "mother hen" to Nixon Peabody's summers, who've obviously picked up on her leadership skills. She's co-chair of the firm's African-American affinity group, which teaches mentoring, client development, and recruiting of minorities at the firm that won last year's Thomas L. Sager Award for excellence on diversity issues from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. In her employment practice, she snatched victory even after her hotelier client lost a trial at the NLRB over union interference, Emily stepped into negotiations that resulted in the union withdrawing its offer to represent her client's employees. Currently working two class actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act, she's the firm expert on employment law regs in the Internet age following her 2006 article on how to gather required affirmative action data when accepting applications over the Web.

Kate Sawyer Keane, 31, Perkins Coie


Some people know a lot of law; Kate has actually written it. Straight out of NYU Law School, she spent four years in the House of Rep's Office of the Legislative Counsel, drafting hundreds of bills for members and committees like all-important Ways and Means. In Perkins Coie's political law group, she's advising Barack Obama, Mark Warner, and Democratic committees on everything from campaign ads (screened at Perkins before hitting the air) to FEC reports (the latest round going out the door this week). She's taught Legal Writing as an adjunct at George Mason, and put her skills into action in an amicus on behalf of Sen. Feinstein and Reps. Brady and Lofgren in Crawford, last term's Supreme Court voter ID case. A DC native, she's been bound for glory since her days as valedictorian at Woodrow Wilson High. (For you sticklers noting Kate's age, she just had her birthday in May and thus fits our fine-print rules qualifying those who were 30 this year; and if that doesn't convince you, we just felt sorry for the older crowd.)

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