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    September 3, 2008  
Paul Weiss;
Brown Rudnick

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Paul Weiss's DC office has nicknamed itself the "35th Floor," which seemed odd when we arrived at the firm's digs on the 13th floor of 1615 L St. yesterday. But DC Managing Partner Ken Gallo had an explanation: The firm's NY office on Ave. of the Americas goes up to the 34th floor, you see, and DC functions as an outgrowth of the Big Apple base.


The firm's strategy to integrate DC with New York ("we cross-staff everything," Ken says) is a departure from the satellite's past doing more DC-centric work. There's still a Washington flavor—Chuck Davidow brought his SEC enforcement practice from WilmerHale a year ago, and former FTC lawyer Joe Simons reels in antitrust billables. But Ken says the "35th Floor" strategy has been a winning one since the course was charted about five years ago, around the time he came over from Rogers & Wells (now merged with Clifford Chance, but you knew that).


Paul Weiss's DC office stands at 33 lawyers (plus 17 staff attorneys), doing "90% litigation." Antitrust, patent, and general commercial cases all fit in the strike zone; Ken just settled a suit for MasterCard against antitrust allegations brought by American Express in the S.D.N.Y. (he co-counseled the case with Simpson Thatcher). Up next: an office move in the fall to 20th and K. No, the new building doesn't have a 35th floor, either.

Winning Record for the Nats!

Yeah, so the Nats haven't won too many on the field this year. Doug Baldridge of Venable, though, has had a more successful run defending suits against DC brought by land owners dispossessed by eminent domain actions making room for the new stadium. The Venable team settled a dozen suits by the summer, leaving a single holdout: the owner of "Parcel Q," which had been leased to the city as a Metrobus lot.


Doug got the owners to the table for a settlement just before the July trial date, which not only cleared all the suits, but let him get away to a Finger Lake in Skaneateles, New York, where he trained for two marathons this fall. Above, Doug pulled in one of his most trusted associates: former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander... no, wait, Vincent Verrocchio. Vincent pitched in along with Danielle Foley and Ari Rothman on Doug's favorite case: a 2004 Middle District of Florida victory for the American Association for People with Disabilities, which held that Duval County had to install voting equipment that allows the visually impaired to cast ballots without third-party assistance. 


No, Dan Abrahams of Brown Rudnick isn't a doctor, nor does he play one on TV. (Nor, despite that flag, is he addressing a convention.) He did, however, just notch a victory for health plans that insure Federal employees and retirees under the Federal Employee and Health Benefits Act. Representing BlueLincs HMO, he challenged the Office of Personnel Management's practice of freezing a plan's rates in the final year of its participation in FEHBA, resulting in a windfall if a plan's medical costs went down (ha!) or deficits if they went up. The Court of Federal Claims called the OPM's practice arbitrary and capricious, and in late August the Federal Circuit affirmed. The judgment for BlueLincs (plus two other plans repped by McDermott Will) is $4 million plus interest, which, along with two aspirin, should have them feeling fine by morning.   

Andrews Kurth
Special Counsel
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