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    December 23, 2008  
 
 
LAST BASTION OF
THE GENERALIST

 

Our friend Marc Fleischaker has a great way of escaping some of those unenviable end-of-the-year compensation decisions, like he was making last week in his 12th year as chairman of Arent Fox. Not to mention a way of avoiding the tediousness of specializing in a particular area that other lawyers might be feeling as they approach their 40th year of practice. In the course of representing more than 10 national trade associations and foundations, he acts as general counsel for most, a regimen that enlivens his day as he's required to hop from one issue to another.

 

A wonder Marc has time for breakfast with us at the Mayflower. Some of the projects he worked on last week: leases for an association that acts as a landlord; a licensing agreement for another association's name; figuring out the Administration's position on the auto bailout for an automotive association, and what antitrust issues might be involved depending on how it's implemented; an international biotech agreement that he discussed in a conference call with parties in the grain industry from several countries; standards for what can be published on an organization's list serve; international trade issues; disclosures in IRS Form 990; and membership concerns an association faces with members not acting in ways it would like them to.

 

Outside the Mayflower, with Arent Fox's longtime 1050 Connecticut Ave. offices behind him, Marc has also been working away on the firm's move in 2012 to a new building next door, currently in design. Marc obviously likes juggling, and says the GC role allows him to work on the full range of legal issues, from corporate governance, litigation, and contract law, to human resources, intellectual property, legislation, and commercial law involved in for-profit subsidiaries, not to mention being used as strategic counsel by heads of the organizations. He estimates that no more than ten lawyers in town represent multiple non-profits as he does, partly because some law firms doubt that representation of associations, often by retainer, can produce a sufficient hourly return. Marc and his law firm, with a couple of hundred non-profit clients, have concluded otherwise.

 

Marc shares the hometown of Louisville with Muhammad Ali, watched him in many fights, and bought at auction this robe that Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) wore into the ring against Sonny Liston in '64. Marc says most of his associations, with revenues between $3 and $15 million, don't have their own in-house staffs, but that he's learned if they do so hire, it often increases his work as they discover new legal issues. He's a regular at board meetings of his organizations, even though they're not held as often in sunny resorts as they used to be.


LAW FIRMS AS CLIENTS
 

We were on the scene at Il Mulino as the Law Firm Vendors Association turned the tables and put on a holiday party for law firms they do business with. The group was formed three years ago and holds several thank you events each year; it hosted a big group at Nationals Stadium in the spring and in September a wine tasting at the Swedish Embassy. Above, Washington Express' Gil Carpel, left, finishes three years this month as the organization's president, to be succeeded Jan 1 by Drew Mucci of HITT Construction.

 

Management Alternatives' Reed Stvan, Office Depot's Sandra Julian, Sidley Austin's Steve Dempsey, Deloitte's Ed Ross, Office Depot's Ray Pascarella, and Patton Boggs' Lorri Holland.

 

National Office Services' Joe Alvarez, Patella Woodwork's Rich Palko, Gensler's Arthur Ott, and Cooley Godward's Ray Wulk.

 
 
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