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    February 11, 2009  
Gibson Dunn;
Akin Gump;
Snider Weinstein;
Name that Drink

In the new economy and politics of Washington, what's hot in law firms, and what's not? Practices, billing, recruiting, partnership, comp, technology, you name it. A Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze with an all-star panel, this coming Tuesday morning, Feb 17, at the great BLT restaurant downtown. Sign up here!


Lawyers go from the SG's Office to Gibson Dunn with such regularity that we barely notice anymore (see, eg, Ted Olson, Miguel Estrada, Mark Perry), but former Deputy SG Tom Hungar took things one step further in November when he did it a second time.


Tom spent two years as Assistant to the SG in the early 90's, spun through the revolving door at Gibson, then returned as Deputy SG '03-'08. With 24 Supreme Court arguments under his belt, he now co-chairs Gibson's appellate and constitutional practice group, 33-strong in DC with additional forces in NY and CA. He's handled arguments in the closely watched Stoneridge securities case on "scheme liability"; SCOTUS ruled 5-3 in his favor, saying fraud claims aren't allowed against third parties that participate in a scheme to violate 10(b) but didn't directly mislead investors.


Conflicted out of much of the current Supreme Court docket, Tom tells us he's currently working a "significant appeal" for a "large media company." (We know what you're thinking, but no, it isn't Bisnow.) This quill, once on the counsel table at the Supreme Court, comes from the Leegin antitrust case, where the Court—at the urging of Ted Olson for Leegin, and Tom for the US—overturned the famed 1911 Dr. Miles decision holding vertical price maintenance agreements per se illegal. And the bottle once held Dr. Miles' magic elixir. (Maybe that's the source of Tom's prowess: he drank it?)

Meet the New Partners

Gibson Dunn crowned two partners in the DC office (and 13 globally) at the 950-lawyer firm in '09. First up: Matt McGill, rising (or should we say risen) star under Ted Olson's wing in the appellate group. The former Bristow Fellow in the SG's office (it's a one-year program filled mostly by grads coming off appellate clerkships) is now helping out with five of the six appeals that the firm is handling at SCOTUS ("it's a bumper crop," Matt says). When we dropped in, he was working on a cert petition for the heirs of John Steinbeck in a copyright tiff with publisher Penguin.


The other newbie partner is David Burns, who was working as an AUSA in the S.D.N.Y. before he and his growing family (wife and three kids) starting "busting out of our home" in New Jersey. David headed to Gibson in 2005, where he helped quash a subpoena issued to the CH2M Hill company in the prosecution of Ted Stevens. Other specialties: criminal antitrust and the hot field of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act.


At the Economic Club yesterday (where Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced a $7B investment in new chip technology), we found Akin Gump Chairman Bruce McLean, Cardinal Bank DC president Kate Carr, and Snider Weinstein co-founder Steve Snider. This month, Steve marks the second anniversary of founding his own firm, following 23 years at Hale & Dorr and two at WilmerHale. Bruce is just back from the Mideast, opening an Abu Dhabi office which will rep not only sovereign wealth funds but a Grand Prix F1 race there, just like in Monaco.

Name that Drink

Monday night, we swung by Degrees bar at the Georgetown Ritz, where the hotelier was honoring legal clients by naming a drink in their honor. No, these aren't bartenders, but event brainchild Ellen Terry of the hotel's Mid-Atlantic sales office, Ritz deputy GC Weili Cheng, senior counsel Bhavana Boggs, and McKenna Long marketing director Kimberly Bell. We lined them up in front of the three drink choices (which were voted on by the 60 partygoers). The drink will be served at Ritz Carltons across the globe this spring.


Based on exit polling we conducted with McKee Nelson's Johanna Kasper and legal recruiter Brooke Stratford, the "Stimulus Stinger" was an early favorite. (Our choice: the "Appellatini.") But the real reason we include this picture is Clarence Day, Ritz executive based in Kapalua, who in exchange for Bisnow fame, offered us a lifetime of free visits to Ritz hotels in Hawaii. We heard that correctly, right Clarence?  


Chris Hummel, left, of Banner & Witcoff became President of the Legal Marketing Association's capital chapter this year. With him, B&W colleague Colleen Strasser, the new GM of the Georgetown Ritz Grant Dipman, and Association of Corporate Counsel's Lucy Jones. Chris and Colleen tell us the 89-year-old firm just elected its first female president, Janice Mitrius of Chicago, who took office in late January. Change is here, people.

John Ford is Bisnow's Legal Editor. Send your best drink recipes and/or story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

Arent Fox
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Drinker Biddle

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