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    February 13, 2009  
Ford's Theatre;
Gilbert Oshinsky

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Yesterday, we observed Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday at O'Melveny & Myers, where former SG and appellate practice head Walter Dellinger delivered a half-hour speech on Lincoln's rhetorical style at a lunch with 60 colleagues.


It was a dry run for Walter, who's been invited to address the ABA House of Delegates on Monday at its mid-year convention in Boston. A high honor, as the House rarely asks for an outside speaker. More good news for Walter: Just before giving his lunchtime talk on the last six years of Lincoln's life, he got word of a Seventh Circuit victory.


Walter did not actually attempt to hypnotize the crowd as it might look above, but we're happy to report the speech was mesmerizing. Lincoln may have considered himself a failure at 50, Walter said, but his opposition to Dred Scott set him on the path to the Presidency. "Taney gave us Lincoln," he said, adding later he thinks Lincoln's second inaugural address is the greatest speech given by an American. Lincoln's persuasive skills useful to lawyers today: conceding all unnecessary points, and speaking with "amazing candor and directness."

Ford's Theatre Makeover

There's another O'Melveny connection to Honest Abe: partner Brian Anderson, who normally spends his time on class action defense, serves as general counsel to the newly spruced-up Ford's Theatre. He was on hand for the grand re-opening Wednesday night, and says it was "spine-tingling" to witness President Obama in the front row while an array of artists gave readings on America (spotted: Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Ben Vereen). Star Wars fans also would've loved the event: George Lucas received a Lincoln Medal from Nancy Pelosi for being an American visionary.


But Lucas has nothing on Brian, who got a plaque to recognize his extensive pro bono efforts for the theatre. Ten years ago, after O'Melveny made a donation at Brian's nudging, theatre head Frankie Hewitt brought him a legal issue. More followed with the refurbishment—ADA compliance, acquisition of a neighboring storefront for lobby space, labor issues, contracts—and as O'Melveny lawyers brought the theatre "into the 21st Century as a sophisticated non-profit." The bronze image comes from the penny, but despite the bad economy Brian's not going to try to use it as legal tender—it's going up in O'Melveny's lobby.

Did I Actually Agree to This?

You know those crazy things you say at parties but maybe don't mean? Well, at the Gilbert Oshinsky holiday party, Derek Sugimura (bleached blonde), Craig Litherland (red), Berenice Juarez (purple streak), and Joshua Katz (mohawk) made  a pact/fashion conspiracy to alter their hairdos. Proving they're lawyers of their word, after the New Year, they hit a salon on 15th Street and bit the bullet.


We dropped in this week at the home of Skadden superlawyer Bob Bennett, right, and wife Ellen, left, who hosted a party for Emily Porter Gerson (second from left) and her new…book? Law partnership? No, dermatology practice! She’s the daughter of their close friends Steve and Susan Porter. Bob and Steve co-founded Dunnells, Duval, Bennett & Porter in 1974, before the two went to other firms in the 90s. Bob joked that he tried to invite people with bad skin, but said he couldn’t find any so Emily probably wouldn’t get much business out of the beautiful people present. Emily, a University of Michigan art history and French major, went to GW med school and interned at Washington Hospital Center, and is partnering in the practice with Pantea Tamjidi in Chevy Chase.

Bisnow Legal Editor John C. Ford is no relation to Ford's Theatre founder John T. Ford, or any other famous Ford. Send him story ideas anyway at john@bisnow.com.

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