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Legal Bisnow
    January 4, 2012  
Hot Topics in '12

Have other 2012 predictions? Tell us at Roksana@bisnow.com.

Besides (brief?) Santorumania, what should we expect this year? We pulled our fortune-tellers—aka practice area leaders—away from beach vacations to find out.
Caplin & Drysdale's Trevor Potter with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Show

Caplin & Drysdale political law chair Trevor Potter (Stephen Colbert’s attorney and former FEC chairman) calls 2012 "the year of the Super PAC." They'll come in two flavors, both of which will run hard-hitting attack ads to demolish the opposition while beneficiaries maintain "implausible denialability." Confusion over the rules will flourish, especially in the face of the FEC's partisan 3-3 deadlock. Accordingly, Trevor spent the holidays catching his breath in a sunny clime before the January primary madness hits.

Hunton & Williams' Lisa Sotto

Privacy and data security issues will be “hotter than ever” says Hunton & Williams' Queen of Breach, also known as privacy chair and NY office head Lisa Sotto. The nickname is from clients, who include F100 chart-toppers like GE and ExxonMobil. Expect numerous bills introduced at state and federal levels, and increasingly sophisticated intrusions that standard data security safeguards can’t adequately address. Her resolutions: get more sleep (yet she hosted 24 folks for New Year's Eve) and find time to exercise (more than weightlifting a treatise like the one above from her shelf to desk).

Klores Perry Mitchell's Bruce Klores and Adrian Fenty

Starting krav maga training and opening a successful DC food joint are some 2012 predictions of Klores Perry Mitchell lit boutique founder Bruce Klores. Firm-related guesses: KPM adds an education law section driven by recent hire Adrian Fenty’s interest and Bruce's teaching history; Bruce and Adrian settle a huge unfair competition business lawsuit; and KPM's expensive new website launches to critical acclaim. (We'll be checking Ebert & Roeper.)

Bracewell & Giuliani DC managing partner Mark Lewis

We convinced Bracewell DC managing partner Mark Lewis to put down his gin and tonic in Turks & Caicos long enough to share his predictions: growing US oil and gas production in new regions creates ongoing work for pipeline companies and producers, while the new production creates issues for existing infrastructure. And so, it's a busy year for oil and gas attorneys.

Here's what federal relations co-chair Scott Segal sees in politics: the House remains Republican by a narrower margin than today; the Senate flips by a slim margin; and President Obama most likely ekes out a victory despite lackluster economic performance.

Former USSG Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, now Hogan Lovells appellate lit co-chair, spent his holiday skiing black diamonds at 10K feet in Colorado. The annual family tradition didn't stop him from dishing appellate predictions—our favorite: the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the health care law by something other than a 5-4 decision. Resolutions include spending more time with family and skiing extremely difficult mogul runs to the tick of a rapid metronome.

Vinson & Elkins DC managing partner Mike Charness
Vinson & Elkins DC managing partner Mike Charness pitched us some thoughts on defense: as DOD's budget shrinks, bid protest activity will risealong with companies' claims against the governmentas companies fight to maintain market share and profitability. Meanwhile, the government will keep pursuing contractors that were active in Iraq and Afghanistan for alleged waste, fraud and abuse. On a bright note, the Red Sox fan spent New Year's Eve with family at his house in Duck, NC.
O'Melveny's Dave Leviss with Rep. Bart Stupak

In this election year we'll see at least two now-unheard of stories that someone will characterize as “worse than Watergate,” says O'Melveny's Dave Leviss. The former House Committee on Energy and Commerce chief oversight counsel (where he directed Toyota brake malfunction and BP oil spill investigations, above left) also expects a marked increase in congressional oversight. Dave's New Year's resolution is spending more "quality time" with friends at Energy & Commerce, as his cooling off period ended yesterday.

Paul Pelletier
If Mintz, Levin's Paul Pelletier looks tough, it's because he's a former principal deputy chief in DOJ's Criminal Division. In '12, he tells us Justice will bring more FCPA prosecutions of individual executives; the Health Care Strike Forces will focus on more corporate targets; and litigants will continue the trend of successfully challenging high stakes SEC enforcement actions. He adds: these are predictions only and should not form the basis for any wagers with Las Vegas odds makers. Of course not. (Now if you'll excuse us, we have a few phone calls to unmake.)
Have other 2012 predictions? Tell us at Roksana@bisnow.com.
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