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    September 24, 2008  
 
 
BAR STARS

Big shout-out to great sponsor BNA. Don't miss their upcoming conference on new litigation strategies for patent laws.  Oct. 6 at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City! See ad to the right for more details.

 

Last night the Women's Bar Association of DC took over the lobby of Columbia Square (we call that the Hogan Building), where 300 gathered for "Stars of the Bar," the group's fall networking event. Speaking of which, we meant to wish you all a happy autumn!

 

We knew these two must be important from all the ribbons hanging off their nametags, and sure enough, it was WBA President Jennifer Maree of Patton Boggs and Howrey partner Karen Lockwood. No age discrimination at the WBA: Jennifer is an associate in Patton's banking group, which explains her humble response when Karen nominated her for the WBA presidency. ("Are you sure you have the right person?") Actually, Karen doesn't like discrimination of any kind—she just argued a ? 1983 appeal in the 9th Circuit on behalf of Los Angeles bus riders against the city's metro system.

 

Dynamo Ruth Burg, right, was honored for her service as a judge on the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. It's getting to be old hat—this summer the ABA gave her its Margaret Brent Award for her pioneering career, which clearly isn't over. She still works as an arbitrator and, in her off time, goes fly fishing with her husband. They're testing the waters in Argentina come January. With her: WBA Board member Tina Hsu of Rockville's Shulman Rogers, and WBA Foundation prez Diana Savit, who's busy funding start-up non-profits like EduSeed.

 

Three of our favorite women about town: WilmerHale's Brigida Benitez, Council for Court Excellence Exec. Dir. June Kress, and WBA Past President Lorie Masters of Jenner & Block. On Lorie's watch the WBA put out a report on the advancement and retention of women of color; this year, the group is tackling concerns of in-house counsel.

 

We did our best to catch another of the night's honorees, Geraldine Gennett, right, with her eyes closed—and almost succeeded. Here with WBA immigration group chair Irena Karpinski, she's was GC for the House of Representatives during the first-ever execution of a search warrant on a Congressman's office (Bill Jefferson, D-LA), now under indictment but still in office after a DC Circuit ruling that he could claim legislative privilege over specific seized documents. These days, Geraldine is working with the Tahirih Justice Center, which supports immigrant women fleeing human rights abuses. (By the way, holding a fundraiser this Saturday night with "Dwight" of The Office, and Queen Noor of Jordan.

 

Linda Oliver of Hogan & Hartson with the future of the WBA, president-elect Consuela Pinto. Consuela is senior counsel for the Center for WorkLife Law, which is associated with the UC Hastings College of Law, and would get a lot of frequent flier miles if they didn't let her telecommute. She screens claims of discrimination against workers with family responsibilities and, for the WBA, is prepping for a February law student boot camp. They'll be teaching skills they don't cover in law school, like how to promote yourself at work.

 

First-year lawyers check out the scene: Tanisha James and Virginia Duke joined 17 fall starters at Howrey and have just made it through some firm-wide orientation activities in DC, including "Howrey Jeopardy." Anne Walton, center, and  and Vanessa Martin, right, are clerking for DC Superior Court Judges O'Regan-Keary and Iscoe, respectively, while Stephanie Hennes landed with the DOJ's Office of Immigration Litigation.

 

Even some law students came.  Recalling our law school days, we figured they came for the open bar, but actually AU students Mara Giogio, Maria Hanon, and Erica Lounsberry say the WBA will be placing its archives at their law school, the alma mater of Emma Gillette and Ellen Spencer Mussey, who founded the WBA in 1917.

Today is the birthday of John Ford, Bisnow's Legal Editor. In lieu of gifts, he requests that you send story ideas to john@bisnow.com. By the way, it's gratifying how even in this era of sleek new names like WilmerHale, there are still old timers who remember that the name of John's old firm was not "Wilmer & Cutler" but of course "Wilmer Cutler & Pickering." We startups can't afford proofreaders (hmm, kind of like the newspapers these days, too). 

 
 
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