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    January 22, 2010  
 
 
 
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CITIZENS UNITED:
THE DAY AFTER

Thanks to the 450 of you who attended our Women's event this morning. We'll be making a donation of some of the proceeds for relief in Haiti. All donations continue to be critical. You can support the Red Cross here.

 
In case you’ve been litigating under a rock, you know yesterday’s 5-4 SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United v. FEC affirmed corporate speech as “protected speech,” allowing corporations to explicitly tell voters (via paid ads) who to vote for all the way up to Election Day. Shortly after the decision, we caught up with Chris DeLacy, head of Holland & Knight’s campaign finance reform and election law practice, and his diligent sidekick, associate Joel Roberson.
 
Chris DeLacy, head of Holland & Knight’s campaign finance reform and election law practice and associate Joel Roberson.

Chris cautions that it remains to be seen how many (and how soon) corporations will take advantage of the ruling: “There are a lot of different ways this could play out.” One, he tells us, is that it gets harder for traditional parties to control their message, as 3rd party pro-business candidates gain clout and visibility. Perhaps, Joel says, but don’t expect either party to take this existential threat lying down: “Democrats on the Hill have indicated that they’ll introduce legislation to mute the effect of the Court’s decision, which could keep it from having a major impact on 2010 elections.”

Chris DeLacy, head of Holland & Knight’s campaign finance reform and election law practice and associate Joel Roberson.

Of Justice Stevens' 90-page addendum: “That’s one huge dissenting opinion,” says Chris; just like with McCain-Feingold, there’s a lot of disagreement as to whether changes triggered by Citizens United will achieve their desired policy outcome. Regardless, says Chris, there’s no doubt that this is a boon for lawyers. Not only will corporations, associations, and unions need help complying with new FEC regs, but there’s bound to be conflicts between the new SCOTUS precedent and existing state and locality-specific campaign laws.


THE PATTON FIVE...ISH
 
Patton Boggs Ed Gehres, Robert Kapla, and Gegg Buksbaum

Yesterday at Patton Boggs, we met with five of nine newly-minted partners. Above: Ed Gehres, who focuses on civil litigation and tells us he’s representing a Native American foods company that produces an energy bar made of buffalo meat and cranberries; Robert Kapla, a rising star on the international front, and Gregg Buksbaum a business law expert who represents sovereign wealth funds and gets a kick out of helping resolve legal issues for newly-formed hedge funds. During a time when Wall Street and hedge funds are taking so much flack, we think it’s critical to ask the question on everyone’s minds . . . What does buffalo meat taste like?

Ed presented us with a “Tanka” energy bar. We ate the whole thing, and, truth be told, they’re pretty good. Its gamey-yet-fruitylicious taste increases stamina and mental alertness. Hey now, that’s a nice slogan—can we get some trademark lawyers up in here?

 
Patton Boggs' Norah Molnar and Brian Hendrix

Two more new partners: insurance coverage attorney Norah Molnar and environmental/health & safety litigation lawyer Brian Hendrix. Norah, who has lived in China, tells us she reps 450 individual investors in a case involving a Detroit-based accounting firm that’s been implicated in a large Ponzi scheme. Brian, a fan of “Purple Haze,” who we’ve established with 80% certainty is not related to Jimi, is working on behalf of American Whitewater to persuade the US Forest Service to allow paddle boaters into the upper Chauga River, which—get this film buffs—is where Deliverance was filmed. As for the other new partners, we missed snapping Joshua Greene, Adam Connatser, Eric Pfeifle, and Alan M. Noskow.


WOMEN EXECS
 
Crowd at Bisnow's "Where Do Women Stand (II)"

We snapped this at our second “Where Do Women Stand?” this morning at Sequoia. As you can see, a fair number of you showed up, 450 by our count. Our panelists’ conversation was frank, fresh, and even humorous. To hear what ABA prez Carolyn Lamm, legendary Akin Gump litigator Michelle Roberts, Microsoft Federal chief Theresa Carlson, BET CEO Debbie Lee, and our wonderful moderator Barbara Wahl of Arent Fox had to say, check out Monday’s start-studded coverage.

Please send story ideas (and Buffalo meat energy bars) to our legal reporter Patrick Dowd at patrick@bisnow.com.
 
 
 
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