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    September 26, 2008  
 
 
Arent Fox;
Linowes and Blocher;
GW

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Rich Brand—pretty appropriate name for the Arent Fox partner who’s becoming a go-to lawyer for naming rights and other branding-type deals for sports arenas and stadiums. In the biggest naming deal ever (reported at $400 million), he represented the NJ Nets on the sale of marquee space for its coming Frank Gehry-designed arena in Brooklyn. (To Barclays Bank, which we assume has some money left over after buying those Lehman assets.)

 

Rich tells us the Barclays center is going to blow other arenas away, but we’re withholding judgment until we taste the hot dogs. Speaking of, besides naming rights Rich also does food and beverage concession contracts, suite licensing deals, and player/coach contracts and trades. For the Wizards, he even crunches salary cap numbers and spends NBA draft night in the team’s war room.

 

Protégé of Arent Fox legend Dave Osnos (attorney about the last 50 years to Abe Pollin and still general counsel to the Wizards), Rich started as a real estate attorney (now 50% of his practice) and began in the sports field with the development of the MCI Center. Besides the Wiz and Nets, he’s working for another NBA squad, an NFL team, the DC United, Mystics, and the Charlotte Bobcats, for whom he did this year’s Time Warner Cable Arena naming and media rights deal for a new arena. One hot question, Rich says, is how and whether partnerships can be terminated when an association with a sponsor (or team) becomes unsavory. Remember the Houston Astros’ Enron Field? (The Astros bought out Enron’s rights and renamed it Minute Maid Park.)


Above the Fray in Bethesda
 

Note the placid look on the face of Rich Zeidman, Managing Partner of Linowes and Blocher, the 60-lawyer Bethesda real estate shop? While a couple high-flying firms are having their troubles, Rich was taking comfort in the firm’s lower-key approach when we met him for lunch at Gaffney’s. How grounded? The shortest-tenured lawyer on the management committee has been with the firm for over ten years. (David Plott in the Annapolis satellite.) The lifestyle-friendly practice has long done homebuilder work but has added a focus on urban mixed-use projects with timelines long enough to insulate them from our current ups and downs. Linowes represented Federal Realty on the newly opened Rockville Town Center and is now at work on a residential-over-retail development at the U of Maryland’s new “East Campus.”


Master of the Paralegals
 

Toni Marsh, director of GW’s paralegal studies program, is taking the education of paralegals to places we’d never think of . . . like Africa. It started in 2006, when Marsh—who had formerly done paralegal instruction at G-town—re-launched GW’s paralegal training curriculum, but took it a big step further than a certificate program; on Toni’s watch, GW developed a masters degree in paralegal studies—the only one around. But back to Africa—last year Toni received a call from Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Exec. Dir. of the Legal and Human Rights Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, about starting a paralegal program there.

 

The goal of the project, which Toni is hoping to launch in the spring, is to train people to help villagers get access to the country’s complicated legal system, which combines tribal, civil, and religious law. “It’s complicated even for a lawyer,” says Toni. That’s saying something.

John Ford, Bisnow’s Legal Editor, will continue hitting the party circuit next week provided you send story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

 
 
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