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    July 18, 2008  
 
 

Holland & Knight;
Reed Smith;
Arness & Associates


 

It's one of the biggest events on Holland & Knight's calendar each year, and yesterday a crowd of 300 turned out at the DuPont Ritz-Carlton for its Holocaust Remembrance Project awards luncheon. The awards in question go to 10 winners of the firm's national high school essay contest designed to encourage study of the Holocaust. 3,500 essays poured in this year, adding to more than 30,000 total that have been written in the event's 14-year history. (Another 8,000 are unaccounted for because dogs ate them the night before they were due.)

 

The firm brass: Steve Sonberg, center, Managing Partner of the H&K's entire 1,150-attorney shop, came in from Miami; while Paul Kiernan, left, took over Mid-Atlantic Executive Partner duties from La Fonte Nesbitt, right, on July 1. Paul and La Fonte should have a seamless transition, as they've practiced together for 20 years, coming over to Holland & Knight from Dunnells Duvall. You could forgive La Fonte if he felt bleary-eyed; he was one of the many Holland & Knight volunteers who reviewed essays to whittle the contestants down to the 10 winners, who bagged scholarships from $2,500 to $10,000.

 

Keynoter was former Carter Treasury Secretary Mike Blumenthal, right, who also happens to be father-in-law of Holland & Knight partner Al Vollmann, and president of the Jewish Museum of Berlin. With him is Daoud Hari, a refuge from Darfur captured by the Sudanese government and released following an international outcry led in part by Bono and the Pope. Holland & Knight Senior Counsel Chris Nugent helped secure his entrance into the U.S. By the way, firm administrator Joe Berger told us about another of H&K's public service efforts: they're collecting business suits for troops at Walter Reed getting back on their feet. The firm put out a box for donations, and by the end of a week had collected three truck-loads worth of suits. Perhaps another benefit of business casual.


Reed Smith Nabs ProFunds GC

 

Until now, Reed Smith's 30-member firm-wide Investment Management practice group had never had a partner presence in DC. Enter Steve Cravath, former MoFo partner coming off a two-year stint as GC of ProFunds, a Bethesda-based family of mutual and exchange-traded funds with a value of $20 billion. With a name like Cravath, things can get confusing, but Steve claims no relationship to the founder of the storied NY firm. At Reed Smith, he expects to continue advising mutual fund companies on the full gamut of issues: Board of Directors representation, registration statements, and anything covered by the Investment Company Act of 1940. He just got in a golf trip to Grand Cypress Pines in Orlando with a group of 11 lawyer friends, and he was sounding like a man ready to make rain when we stopped by his K Street office this week: "If my contacts haven't heard from me yet, they will soon."


Opportunity Knocks for Young Gun

 

How's this for a dream scenario for a young lawyer? Just seven months after Jackie Williamowsky, 27, started her transactional real estate career at the Leibner & Potkin firm, a book of business for some of DC's biggest-name developers, including P.N. Hoffman, Abdo Development, and Keener Management, fell right into her lap. It happened when Lane Potkin left for in-house work (the law firm is now called Arness & Associates), and actually the scenario could have been a nightmare for someone not up to the task. But Jackie ran with it and now, a year later, has actually tripled her client base. She specializes in condo conversion projects like Abdo's transformation of the old Children's Museum into the Landmark Loft development at 3rd & H. Bonus factoid: she's also an expert make-up artist. During her days at NYU undergrad, Jackie prettied up Rudy Giuliani for a few TV spots, Bon Jovi and Counting Crows for videos, and down here has done up some members of Congress prepping for the Senate recording studio. Oh, and her new husband, Adam, is known to BLT Steak aficionados as its know-everybody GM, and we trust can provide nice libations, and certainly good seating, when she celebrates closings.

 
 
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