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    January 21, 2009  


The inauguration came to DC and brought the inevitable. We refer, of course, to law firm parties celebrating history, client relationships, and good views of Pennsylvania Ave.


President Barack Obama (on a little-noticed departure from the parade route) dropped in yesterday at Baker & McKenzie at 815 Connecticut to pose with new partner Suzanne Perry and her energy/project finance colleague Chris Groobey. Suzanne's the only homegrown partner anointed in the DC office in '09, and therefore a fellow president (of her class).


Pete Salavantis, center, Public Affairs VP with Mitsubishi Electric, is framed by Tom Egan and Kevin O'Brien, whose peaceful transition of power at Baker & McKenzie (when Kevin took the managing partner reins from Tom in '07) provided inspiration for this week. Looks like we braved the cold on some rooftop for this pic with 1600 Penn in the background, but actually it was taken in a nice, warm conference room.


Obama allies from Chicago: Pat Pulido-Sanchez (seen modeling her gown for last night's Home State ball in Crain's Chicago); husband and Chicago attorney Manny Sanchez of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman, who sat on Obama's National Finance Committee that raised $700 million; Chicago partner Carmen Lonstein, busy as head of Baker & McKenzie's insolvency group; and architect Rodrigo del Canto, who first met Obama when Michelle was pregnant with Malia.

Vorys Blowout

Also yesterday, just down the block, Vorys Sater served up some fine Italian food at the University Club to mark not just the inauguration, but also the firm's own historic event: 2009 is its 100th anniversary. Here, the two local managing partners: Gregory Murphy (Alexandria) and Joe Lonardo (DC). While DC turned into Hollywood inauguration week, Gregory is in the glitz business all year, representing David Clark who, with Kenneth Branagh directed Galapagos, and other IMAX 3-D flicks.


We ran into Pam Bresnahan, named one of the country's 100 most influential lawyers by the National Law Journal and an '08 inductee into the American College of Trial Lawyers, here with Cincinnati office head Nate Lampley and DC's Cory Amron. Pam represents other lawyers, so many of her engagements are top secret, but here's one high-profile assignment: she played lead investigator for the ABA Committee on the Federal Judiciary for the John Roberts Sup. Ct. nomination. They concluded he was well qualified; of course, that was before they heard him administer the Presidential oath of office.

Sonnenschein Gets Artsy

The partying began on Friday, when Sonnenschein opened up the Phillips Collection to visiting clients and friends. We made a beeline for big names Elliott Portnoy (youngest firm Chairman and first outside of Chicago) and Joe Andrew, DC partner and former head of the DNC ('99-'01). Elliott says the firm's end-of-year deal to pull in 100 lawyers (40 partners) from Thacher Proffitt set a "land-speed record" for lateral hiring, and makes sense for Sonnenschein in no small part due to Thacher's deep relationships with the "world's largest financial institutions." Most Thacherites are joining in NY, though one partner and either other professionals land in the District.


Mike McNamara, left, heads the nationwide Public Law and Policy Strategies group, which sits at the intersection of business, legal, and Hill issues. With him is wife Lesley; Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan, who tells us Obama and President Calderone hit it off in a pre-inaugural chat that went well beyond its scheduled length; and former Ambassador to Chile Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon, now a senior adviser to the firm in NY.


No trip to the Phillips is complete without a peek at Luncheon of the Boating Party, and who should we find by the Renoir but FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly and daughter Katherine. Katherine just wrapped a stint with Teach for America and is applying to law school, to which we say: Teaching is a great profession.

Huron at the Hay

Monday night found us at the Hay-Adams, where Huron Consulting had drinks, food, and jazz for 200, including Weil Gotshal's new DC managing partner Mike Lyle and Holly Loiseau.


Tim Hart, VP with Huron's accounting and financial consulting group, and wife Carol are framed by Huron's forensic accounting pro Wanda Forrest and Robert Snoddy, outreach coordinator for the ABA's Criminal Justice section. Tim and Wanda were so devoted to a client, they were on a plane inaugural day for a meeting in San Francisco.


We ran into Dan Brown (second from left), securities lawyer with Mayer Brown, who taught us what credit default swaps were last summer, before the they became front page news. With him, wife Kathy, Mayer Brown's Claudius Sokenu, and Tim Peterson of Debevoise & Plimpton's DC office. Dan and Tim once worked together at Clifford Chance, and with humility Dan described their social reunion as "slightly less historic" than events at the Capitol.

John Ford is Bisnow's Legal Editor. Tell him about the history you are making in your office at john@bisnow.com.

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