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    August 20, 2008  
GW'S New GC;
Patton Boggs;
Odin Feldman


Beth Nolan's career has covered the waterfront: She's been a DOJ attorney, law professor at GW, White House Counsel to President Clinton, and a partner at Crowell & Moring. She came back to GW nine months ago to step into the one role she hadn't yet played—general counsel. We stopped by yesterday to hear from the ultimate utility player.


Beth tells us she'd considered GC work after her Clinton years ("the only job I've had where the Constitution set my termination date") and a semester as a fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics. Not finding the right corporate fit, she went to Crowell in 2002, attracted in part by its practice representing victims of terror. The GW gig still feels new, she says, but it's also the closest she's come to her days as White House counsel. Yes, there's the high profile and wide range of matters (any given day she might be working on NCAA issues, government grants, or zoning law), but—dirty secret coming—also  some work one might consider "mundane."


It was that way in the White House, too: "You're still a government employee," Beth notes. The trick, of course, is making sure the mundane matters stay that way, which she does with a 12-attorney department that she's split into three teams: litigation/employment; student issues; and contracts/transactions. She's also serving as the interim head of GW's Government, International, and Community Relations office, but that's one too many jobs even for Beth. So if anybody wants to throw their hat in the ring to be the University's new head of external relations, shoot her a resume pronto.

Patton Boggs Gets Foreign Aid Win

News from the Hill doesn't always fit in the "happy" category, so we're glad to relate this story from Patton Bogg's Robert Kapla about the July 30th reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The law clears spending of $48 billion on AIDS prevention overseas, but it's not the dollars that make Robert smile. He represents Victor Dukay, founder of a Denver non-profit, the Lundy Foundation, which has opened a children's center in Tanzania (Robert helpfully pointed it out for us) for those orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In connection with his work, Victor was surprised to find USAID hadn't been measuring whether money the U.S. spends on AIDS programs in Africa was actually helping people.


He took it up as a cause, with a pro bono assist from Robert and three other Patton Boggs attorneys who built support from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and others in Congress. The law now has language that requires federal agencies to monitor and evaluate the impact of their AIDS spending. Seems the client may have caught a more benign disease—Potomac fever—during his trips here. Robert says Victor was a quick learner on the ways of Washington and is now prepping to attend the Denver Democratic Convention.

Blogging the Rocket Docket

The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (aka the "Rocket Docket") is getting the Perez Hilton treatment courtesy of Odin Feldman Pittleman, a 50-attorney firm in Fairfax. By which we mean that IP litigator Jonathan Friedan (at laptop) has launched the first-ever blog devoted exclusively to the hyper-efficient court. It's actually Jonathan's second foray into the blogging world, after the e-commerce law blog he started in 2006. "I was already keeping up with developments," he says, "so it wasn't much more effort." When he realized the Rocket Docket didn't have a blog dedicated to it, he saw an opening and corralled (clockwise) associates Hans Riede, David Gutkowski, Sean Roche, and (not pictured) Kate Leonard, to help write. Called simply "The Rocket Docket," the blog's only hint of snark lies in its banner quote from William Gladstone: "Justice delayed is justice denied."

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