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    October 31, 2008  
Baker & McKenzie;
ABA Section

Big shout-out to great sponsor The Tower Companies! Their 1909 K Street development is LEED-EB silver registered and will have 100k SF available on top floors in the fall of 2009. See ad to the right.


Crossing borders is nothing new to Baker & McKenzie—founded in Chicago, the firm’s second office opened in Caracas, Venezuela—so it only makes sense that the DC office held a shindig last night for visitors to the U.S. Customs Trade Symposium going on at the J.W. Marriott.  (You can still rush over.)


DC managing partner Kevin O’Brien, right, and executive immigration specialist Liz Stern, left, were two of 660 Baker & McKenzie partners (that’s right, 660) who, we learned, attended last week’s partners meeting in NY. The grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria was needed to accommodate them, especially when you throw in the 38 flags raised for the countries represented. Sounds a bit like the Olympics, only with Roberts Rules of Order and a lot more Blackberries. Trade group head Ted Murphy and Bill Outman fill out our local slice of the firm. (All told, Baker & McKenzie has 11,000 personnel, 4,000 lawyers, 785 partners, 69 offices, and a partridge in a pear tree.)


Nick Coward (right of center) must be effective as one of the firm’s eight executive committee members, already lasting 12 months beyond the four years office holders are usually capped. (Note to Mayor Bloomberg: Consult Nick.) At right, David Clanton, head of the firm’s 272-lawyer antitrust group, and to left, immigration associates Simone Williams, Aimee Tait, Allen Orr, and Grace Shie. Get your goodbyes in to Grace—she’s headed off to build the immigration practice of the Hong Kong office.


Homeland Security Deputy Citizenship and Immigration Ombudsman Luke Bellocchi rubbed elbows with Theresa Hill of The Dearforms Company (one of Baker & McKenzie’s clients interested in import regs, like IBM, HP, and others), and Mexico City partner Adriana Ibarra. Luke had just gotten an email today from Grace Shie (pic above) about an Australian national who faced green card revocation when trying to re-enter the States after extended time abroad. How old fashioned: They were able to talk about it in person.


Baker & McKenzie opened an office in Dubai yesterday (its 69th in the world, you’ll remember from the first paragraph), starting with a force of 21 drawn in part from the Riyadh and Bahrain offices. That outpost might have gold leaf lunchware, for all we know, but not this reach-out-and-touch-it view of the White House. Modeling the vista: Terrie Gleason, head of the global customs practice, and Stuart Seidel (32-year Customs vet before private practice). On hot symposium topics, Stuart tells us that Customs re-affirmed it doesn’t plan to inspect 100% of incoming shipping containers, but will rely on analysis of risk factors.

Sentencing School

The ABA’s Criminal Justice Section just held its fall meeting in DC, so we hopped over to GWU with 200 lawyers and judges for a day-long session focused on sentencing. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA, above), gave opening remarks at the session where we had hoped to meet up with ABA Committee on Sentencing co-chair Barry Boss of Cozen O’Connor. Barry was in LA for a trial (actual work getting in the way of things), so we’re going to sentence him to a future interview.


We stopped Barry’s co-chair Jim Felman, partner at Kynes Markmand & Felman in Tampa, outside a panel on white-collar sentencing in the age of Sarbanes Oxley. We hadn’t realized how Draconian things have gotten, but Jim says that under SOX, guidelines call for life sentences for D&Os convicted of securities fraud causing market cap drops of just $2.5 million. (In the not-too-distant past, the guideline for such fraud would have been 41-51 months, Jim tells us.) By the way, Jim says Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska will almost certainly face prison time for his seven-count conviction on public corruption charges. He tells us that defendants who testify (like Stevens) often get a two-year bump for obstruction of justice, though advanced age and public service are likely downward factors in Stevens’s favor.

John Ford, Bisnow’s Legal Editor, thanks you for your Halloween costume suggestions (he’s leaning towards journalist, but that might be too much of a stretch). Got a good outfit of your own tonight? Take a snap of yourself and send it in:  john@bisnow.com.

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