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Meet a Supreme Court Winner
July 10, 2013

Meet a Supreme
Court Winner

The First Amendment has been around a while, but confusion over its intent keeps this man in business: Yesterday, we spoke with WilmerHale international litigation/controversy group chair David Bowker, fresh off of a 6-2 SCOTUS win over free speech.

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USAID v. Alliance for Open Society started over HIV/AIDS research funding that required recipients to explicitly state they oppose prostitution, in accordance with the government's views. Turns out, that's a violation of your right to free speech. In a decision handed down by the Chief Justice, the court ruled that the government can't compel organizations to affirm a belief that's outside the scope of a government program in exchange for federal funding. We snapped David in his office, across the street from the World Bank. (Consider this a reenactment of his argument, since he happened to wear the same tie he wore to the Supreme Court.) It was David's first Supreme Court argument, but someone who's done 65 is just down the hall; in the three buildings that house WilmerHale's 400 DC lawyers, David's on the same "block" as Supreme Court practice chair Seth Waxman, who he says he visited often.

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David's wife, Amanda, is an art historian; she had this photo of a Richard Serra installation signed by the artist himself. (David works with art too—he's repped the Met for 10 years.) Amanda attended the SCOTUS argument, and David's parents flew in from California. He headed a team with WilmerHale partners Mark Fleming and Catherine Carroll, senior associates Jason Hirsch, Michael Gottesman, and Weili Shaw, and former senior associate Shalev Roisman, alongside the Brennan Center, Cardozo Law, and the National Center for Access to Justice. The win comes after more than seven years of litigation. At the heart of the Court's decision, David says, is the "one-two punch" that 1) the First Amendment doesn't allow the government to force people to pledge allegiance to government policy, and 2) restrictions on speech are allowed only within the bounds of the government program.

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After a client learned David had been counsel on the law of war at the State Department, he gave him this scroll of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. David now represents political prisoners detained abroad; he recently won freedom and US asylum for Cameroonian singer Lapiro de Mbanga (known as the Cameroonian Bob Marley) after Lapiro spent three years in prison for his songs about freedom and democracy. He's currently working to help lawyer Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, who's imprisoned in Vietnam.

'Lion of the Bar' and Firm Join Schiff Hardin

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Schiff Hardin announced yesterday its second combination of the year—construction, trusts, and estate firm Mazur Carp & Rubin's 11 lawyers are joining its New York office—but it's been nearly a decade in the making. Schiff Hardin construction chair Ken Roberts, center, facilitated the combo. He's flanked by Mazur Carp's Woody Mazur and Jerry Carp. Ken tells us this was a long-term courtship over the past eight years. It started at the urging of the late Bill Postner, an esteemed construction lawyer who founded a boutique in 1980 and in '06 joined Schiff Hardin. Bill called Woody the "lion of the NY construction bar" and counseled Ken to pursue him. Look for activity in energy (utilities and pipelines), hospitals, education, and classic infrastructure. Schiff Hardin's DC office added in Bruder, Gentile & Marcoux in January, and Ken says the firm's talking to other groups and individuals.

Associates in Appellate Court

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At Mayer Brown, there's no need to wait until you're a partner to argue in federal appellate courts. Heck, associates Richard Caldarone and Brian Netter even recently argued on the same day in the Seventh Circuit. It's the seventh appellate argument for Brian, a former Breyer clerk. Both associates are Yale Law alums, who met in their 1L year in Amy Chua's contracts class. (She does more than write about tiger moms.) Supreme Court and appellate litigation partner Evan Tager (not pictured) tells us associate appellate arguments have been split in half between pro bono and paying clients. One of the latter, argued by Brian, has been shipping giant CSX. Brian and Richard may even have time to get in a Supreme Court oral argument: It's been done by four former associates, one of whom is now a state appellate judge and another PwC GC.

Last Night with the Kastles

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Last night, the Washington Kastles won their 34th straight match, setting a new US pro sports record. It beat the previous record of 33 matches that was set by the LA Lakers more than 40 years ago. We snapped this group from Reed Smith in the VIP tent celebrating the win over the Boston Lobsters: Ezekiel Rediker, Nkechi Kanu, Paula Salomon, and Vicki Momis.

Tell us your summer plans: roksana.slavinsky@bisnow.com.

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