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    November 17, 2008  
Energy Bar;
Lawyers With Heart


Up to 90 partners from Thelen (to be shuttered on December 1) are expected to move en masse to Nixon Peabody, with a small number coming to the DC office. “A handful” is precise as Nixon Peabody’s DC managing partner Laurin Mills can get at the moment, as talks are still being finalized with Thelen’s DC crew.


We stopped by for a rooftop chat with Laurin, right, and two definite Thelen laterals, energy partners Lee Goodwin and Deborah DeMasi. Laurin described the courtship of Thelen as a two-step dance, the first being full-blown merger talks over the summer. After those hit a snag over conflicts with Thelen’s construction practice, a Thelen group headed by Silicon Valley partner Greg O’Hara called back to see if Nixon Peabody had interest in an a la carte approach. Laurin says the additions give Nixon Peabody the bigger West Coast footprint it’d been looking for—the firm will top 100 in San Francisco, triple in Palo Alto to 30, and add bulk in L.A. The firm overall will reach 825 lawyers, with 100 in DC.


On the Thelen side of the equation, Lee liked the synergies between his practice negotiating power contracts on behalf of renewable energy producers (Deborah does transactional work in the same area) and Nixon’s established renewable practice headed by Rich Cogen in Albany. Rich was coming down for a dinner with this pair the day we stopped by as part of full-tilt integration efforts. Lee’s been practicing in the alternative energy space for two decades, and now that it’s hot he was getting “a call an hour” from headhunters when news of Thelen’s troubles surfaced. He almost missed the boat to Nixon Peabody while on an “ill-timed” vacation in California. He came in on a Monday, caught up fast, and got on board by the end of the day. 

Hot Energy Lawyers!

We refer, of course, to the fact that energy is a booming practice area, likely to heat up further if expected climate change legislation passes in the new Congress. With energy’s blasé image long gone from years past, we headed out on Wednesday to check the scene at Brasserie Beck, where the Young Lawyers Committee of the Energy Bar Association put on a packed wine and cheese tasting for 150, though Sam Walsh of Hogan must be the Joe-Six-Pack type—we think he’s got a beer in that glass. With him: Young Laywers chair Sejal Shaw of Duane Morris and Amy Roma of Hogan, who gave us a great factoid. Apparently, a little irradiation makes gemstones shine more brilliantly, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is now requiring that distributors hold a license for irradiated stones. Good, gives us an excuse to stick to cubic zirconium.


The National Nuclear Security Administration was represented by Forie Knauf, second from right, posing here with the White & Case crew: Teri Quinn, Dr. Andreas Gabler (in from Duseldorf) and Young Lawyers Committee vice-chair Jane Rueger. White & Case, which sponsored the evening, signed up Jane two years ago, when she came over with a seven-member group from Dewey Ballantine (now Dewey LeBeouf, of course) headlined by Earle O’Donnell and Donna Attanasio. Jane tells us White & Case’s Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance group now has a dozen in DC.

Gotta Have Heart

This group has at least 6.2 miles of heart—that’s the length of the 10K Lawyers Have Heart rolling through Georgetown again next June. The Leadership Committee pictured above is gearing up early to make sure donations to the American Heart Association (beneficiary of the race’s fundraising efforts, to the tune of $5 million since its inception in ’91) don’t suffer during these tough economic times. Here’s Chris Davis of Greenberg Traurig with the Lawyers Have Heart Rockettes (well, that’s how they posed anyway): Co-chair Lori DiCesare, President of Legal Placements; Gabrielle Urquhart of the American Heart Association; Co-Chair Maureen Dwyer, managing partner at Pillsbury (quickly becoming the Jennifer Aniston to our People Magazine); Janice Reardon, Sr. Director of the LHH 10K; and Chris Harkins of Capital Gifts and Awards.

Full disclosure: Bisnow Legal Editor John Ford is on the LHH 10K Leadership Committee and thinks you should support the cause generously. Send sponsorship commitments and/or story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

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