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    November 14, 2008  
Obama's Lawyer


No, the coveted general counsel role in the Obama campaign did not go to a Chicago lawyer, or a professor, or someone plucked from obscurity to symbolize change. The prized GC was Beltway veteran Bob Bauer, architect of Perkins Coie's 11-lawyer political law practice. We were on hand last night as Bob, who shuttled back from Obama HQ in Chicago, got a hero's welcome at Busboys & Poets before 150 Perkins Coie lawyers and friends.


Umm, okay, maybe it's not the same as addressing 100,000 in Grant Park, but Ghandi was listening intently to Bob's tales from the campaign trail. Best anecdote: The blue shirt he's sporting is the very same one he bought in Tallahassee on an emergency wardrobe spree during the 2000 recount battle. Later, Bob told us his camp had a brief skirmish with McCain's people over an Obama get-out-the-vote YouTube video (now pulled) in which NBC news anchors appear to report that McCain had won. In other news, War of the Worlds has also been yanked down.


Deputy GC of Obama for America Rebecca Gordon (also of Perkins Coie) with DC managing partner John Devaney. Rebecca watched election returns in Chicago on the floor of an office tower with fellow Obama lawyers, but the champagne popping lasted only so long—she's still busy with wind-down issues and a few FEC complaints. The campaign raised nearly $700 million ($150 million in September alone) with an average contribution of $86.


The evening was the first event put on by Perkins Coie's Diversity Committee, chaired by Troy Hughes, right. With him is litigator Don Friedman, who tells us he hasn't yet seen the expected countercyclical uptick in civil suits. (We're determined to find a bright side to this economic mess—guess we'll have to keep looking.) Don's on his way to a pilot's license, with his first solo flight looming on the horizon. Troy keeps it on the ground—he used to do run/bike/run "duathalons" and still pedals in to work.


Allen Cannon and Hartmann Young (gov't contracts guys in DC) with Demetrius Carney, a political law group member in from the Chicago office. Demetrius volunteered some personal time on the Obama campaign, shooting down to the North Carolina battleground to work the phones and push the early voting effort. This allows him to take personal credit for turning North Carolina blue. On the government contracts front, Allen and Hartmann tell us to look for tighter rules for contractors performing quasi-military functions under the Obama administration and new Congress.


One thing we learned about successful women this week: they like to get up early. We arrived at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday to hear Maureen Dwyer, managing partner of Pillsbury's DC office, get interviewed by Cynthia de Lorenzi of Success in the City, a networking group for executive women. (They occasionally let the token male reporter into their midst.) Maureen's interview was part of a monthly series called "CEO Chick Chat." She tells us Pillsbury is busy integrating its new ranks—13 from Thelen (a China practice, construction litigators, and international arbitrators), four from Heller (energy), and 15 first-years. We hear they each get a cosmo on arrival, but that's just a rumor.


Last night, we caught Ballard Spahr's National Housing Symposium at the Reagan Building. Industry leaders such as Conrad Egan from the National Housing Conference led panels on affordable housing in '09 and beyond. Above, Freddie Mac's Kim Griffith and SunAmerica's Mike Best flank Ballard's Paul Casey, Mary Jo George, Sharon G?no, and Wayne Hykan. Paul tells us the good news is things will look better in 12-15 months. Bond interest rates are already down and some of the Capitol Hill panelists seemed amenable to technical fixes to tax credit programs to create jobs. Also, last year tax credit investment was $10B; this year, $5B. Rather than being discouraged, Paul says that proves investments are still being made.

John Ford, Bisnow's Legal Editor, prefers vodka tonics to cosmos. Most of all, he prefers great story ideas. Send them to john@bisnow.com.

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