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    March 18, 2008  

New Honchos
For Gibson Dunn

Keep those nominations coming for the “30 Under 30” awards.  No muss or fuss—just a couple sentences about your nominee and why they deserve this august honor:  30under30@bisnow.com. 


Gibson Dunn has just announced that government contracts litigator Karen Manos and tax group chair Art Pasternak are taking the controls as Co-Partners-in-Charge (or “Pics,” in firm lingo) of the 150-lawyer DC office. They follow in the two‑headed, co-ed tradition of predecessors Mark Perry and Stephanie Tsacoumis, stepping down to practice full time. Your trusty news hounds were first on the scene for an interview.


Karen and Art both said yes when they got the call from Managing Partner Ken Doran, who practices from the LA base housing 250 of Gibson Dunn’s 900 attorneys. It came as a surprise to Karen, the (very modest) lateral who arrived only two years ago after 11 at Howrey. She credits her speedy integration to the Air Force Academy, where she learned to participate in everything. “I go to all the functions,” says Karen, who spent nine years in the JAG Corps negotiating contracts and single-handedly keeping Soviet missile systems at bay. Well, the first part anyway.


The co-heads haven’t settled into roles yet, but both agree that Art is the number cruncher. Now before you start pitying the tax whiz for being hunched over a calculator all day, you should know that his “work” recently required him to meet a client at a ski resort in Dubai, the site of the firm’s newest office. (P.S. Another factoid you should know, just because it’s fun: Art has read War & Peace three times.)


As a member of the firm’s lateral committee (and, well, just about every other committee that came up in conversation), Art says that building with individual laterals has been Gibson Dunn’s recipe for success. So while the duo isn’t planning sweeping changes, they tell us they’ll be looking actively for lateral partners—in part to replace those headed toward retirement age. But take note: Gibson Dunn is so serious about its law-school grade requirements that they don’t just use them on students; they use them for decisions on partners as well.

The lesson: Yes, that Civ Pro grade is going to haunt you forever.

Franklin Bennett
Arent Fox
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