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    October 10, 2008  
Akin Gump;
Linowes and Blocher

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How are DC law firms responding to the financial crisis? For insight, we’re lifting the hood on some of the operations shaping up to handle the market collapse and rescue, starting today with Akin Gump and Covington


Akin Gump Chairman Bruce McLean has been going full-bore on the firm’s quick-response effort—the centerpiece being a stand-alone Financial Markets Crisis website, which per our unscientific research is churning out more updates on crisis-related legal developments than any other site in town (let us know if we missed yours), giving clients analysis on everything from the SEC’s position on short sales to energy tax credits buried in the bailout bill. Bruce, who’s on the steering committee leading the firm’s crisis initiative, says the whirlwind effort has occupied virtually all his attention since taking shape in the last week of September (except 2% of mental space reserved for Redskins’ victories).


He’s hoping the website keeps Akin Gump “top of mind” for clients who could make use of the firm’s marquee practices in financial restructuring (Akin recently repped the liquidators of Bear Stearns Hedge Funds), and investment fund counseling. Many fund clients, Bruce tells us, started out by buying up distressed assets and may be players in managing the mortgage-backed securities the government has taken on. Other practice areas he expects to be busy: Congressional investigations (they were at it this week as counsel to former AIG CEO Martin Sullivan in testimony before Congress), regulatory, and securities enforcement and corporate.

Wall Street, Meet Washington

Rob Kelner chairs Covington’s Election and Political Law group, which, we confess, is not the first practice area we imagined heating up in response to the crisis and current election fatigue. But Rob notes that where regulation goes, lobbying follows—and with an expected wave of regs over hedge funds, private equity, and financial services firms, many Wall Streeters will be venturing down to Washington for the first time. The client alert Rob drafted last month is part of the effort to position Covington as the go-to firm for financiers that need to learn the ins and outs of gift rules, lobbying disclosure requirements, and other nitty-gritty in last year’s Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. (Tip: stick to "finger food" at your receptions.)


Covington has been advising Freddie Mac in connection with its takeover by the government, and Rob tells us the firm’s financial institutions practice is “at the center of the storm,” counseling foreign sovereign wealth funds that are sitting on capital and considering investing in U.S. financial institutions. (We think we’re at the point presidential candidates may actually start saying kind things about those funds.)  Another busy group, he says, will be those in Covington’s leading insurance recovery practice. They’ll be seeking to recover on liability insurance policies when companies are sued—we say when, not if—in securities class actions or derivative suits over, say, subprime mortgage lending practices. As you can see from Rob’s desk, it all adds up to a lot of work.

Breast Cancer Heroes

Meet five women with very sore feet: Heather Dlhopolsky, Marian Mitchell, Patricia Teck, Emily Vaias, and Anne Martin. Led by team captain Emily, the four Linowes and Blocher attorneys and Marian, an architect with Anthony Wilder Design Build, walked 60 miles from Woodbridge to DC over the weekend for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. Actually, we believe a 72-hour walk beats the standard commuting time from Woodbridge—but no matter, the important thing is that they raised $13,000 for the cause, which became even more personal after a Linowes and Blocher partner began her own fight against the disease.

John Ford, Bisnow’s Legal Editor, just got a new lens for his camera to make you look even more beautiful in our pictures. Send him your story tips at

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