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    August 4, 2008  

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The criminal trial against the DC Madam fell from the headlines after her apparent suicide in May, but we dropped in on Orrick second-year Emily Somers to see if the case had any lingering activity.


Selected by partner Preston Burton to second-chair the three-lawyer team that defended Deborah Jeane Palfrey on criminal charges, Emily tells us a civil trial against Palfrey’s assets is pending, and Orrick reps will head back to District Court in September for a scheduling hearing. Typically an anti-trust and consumer protection litigator, dodging paparazzi was a first for her. Considering her name doesn’t turn up in a Google search on the case, we’d say she handled that part well.


Emily was sporting denim because we dropped in on Jeans & Generosity Day, a monthly fundraiser she started to raise money for various local charities. Currently, she’s working pro bono to secure LPR (lawful permanent resident) status for a client from Burundi whose asylum case last year was her first career victory.


That hammering you’ve been hearing at 2000 Pennsylvania is Morrison & Foerster—1,000 lawyers worldwide, now 90 in DC—expanding from two to four floors. We stopped by to see who’s filling them these days.  Here, DC managing partner A.C. Johnston, left, with recent big catch Alex Hadjis, Sonnenschein’s former patent litigation group leader who came over in late June with fellow partners Kristin Yohannan (DC) and Rudy Kim (Palo Alto). Eight associates and of counsel have followed. That white wall may seem like an unartistic background, but soon it will be the site of a glass and stone staircase, centerpiece of the current remodeling.


Down the hall we found appellate group chair Beth Brinkmann, who just came off a Supreme Court term in which she won all three cases she argued. She thought her 3-0 mark was the best record of the term, at least until she updated us with news that Gibson Dunn’s Ted Olson tied her victory count. Which only proves how well she’s absorbed point six in Justice Scalia’s new book: “Be scrupulously accurate.” We like the MoFo “liti-gator” in the graphic, but Beth’s office also features some trinkets from her latest Supreme Court wins. She received a Barbie from Mattel for an arbitration case; a mini delivery truck from the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association for a pre-emption case; and we’re not quite sure what she got from MeadWestvaco after winning a dispute over state taxes that originated with its sale of Lexis/Nexis. A free password, maybe?


We’d brag all day about those Supreme Court victories, but Beth was eager to tell us about the work the firm’s 50-lawyer appellate group does in the Federal circuits and state supreme courts. She’s currently teaming up on a patent appeal with white collar notable Adam Hoffinger, who did five years in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office (’85-90) under Giuliani and is currently representing a senior Vioxx executive in a criminal investigation. Adam often represents individuals, and tells us there’s a disturbing trend in which Federal prosecutions of companies in regulated industries win easy admissions of wrongdoing (no one wants to fight and suffer Arthur Anderson’s fate), only to have the weakness of the Federal charges exposed in trials of individual executives.


Unfortunately we didn’t catch any action in the MoFo kitchen, where a Nintendo Wii tournament has been taking place on the plasma this summer, but before leaving we found young partner Jeff Jaeckel, who spends 30% of his time on criminal antitrust enforcement actions. Another 50% goes to M&A work, and he’s now working one of the biggest telecom deals in history: Verizon’s $28 billion purchase of client Alltel, announced June 5. Hmm, that still leaves 20%, which Jeff spends running marathons and tending to his teething baby Samuel Eli.

Andrews Kurth
Reston Limo
Cardinal Bank
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