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    September 4, 2008  
Pepper Hamilton;
Schiff Hardin;
Squire Sanders

Come network with three of the region's top General Counsels at our next Bisnow Lunch & Schmooze: Blackboard GC Matt Small, XM Radio GC Joe Titlebaum, and Corporate Executive Board GC Pamela Auerbach. Tues., Sept 16, Il Mulino. Sign up!


You know that thing about lemons and lemonade? Well, here’s the tax group at Pepper Hamilton, all of them formerly with Big Four accounting firms, who faced what could have been bad news when Sarbanes Oxley went through and prevented them from providing tax advice to the clients their firms audited.


It was a “gigantic change,” says Lance Jacobs (second from left, formerly with Deloitte and PWC), because auditing was considered virtually a loss leader for tax opinions and other services. Yet the new rule put their core audit clients off limits, meaning they suddenly needed to find new business. Annette Ahlers (left, formerly with E&Y) thought: Why not take our act to a law firm, where the Sarbanes-Oxley problem doesn’t exist and we can offer other services, like advising on litigation? She’s now pulled in Lance and former E&Y colleagues Todd Reinstein, biz dev guru Homeira Ghorbani-Mann, and Ellen McElroy.  

Capitol Riverfront

“Only an accountant could catch Al Capone,” says the poster above Todd (who packs a C.P.A. with his J.D.). He tells us he thought there might be a huge migration of lawyers from the Big Four moving to law firms, but the Pepper Hamilton group remains unique—perhaps because non‑competes prevent accounting firm lawyers from walking their books of business out the door. Of the Pepper group, which began arriving in ’03, all but Ellen have now waited theirs out and have signed up some old clients.

Resume Alert: Schiff Hardin

Hear that sound? Not the swoosh of Howard Kramer’s lacrosse stick as the former University of Michigan player and Administrative Partner of Schiff Hardin’s DC office showed us his chops yesterday. No, we’re talking about the revolving door that’ll be spinning like mad with the change in administrations. Howard tells us he’ll be joining the hunt to catch some on their way out, particularly for the firm’s Securities and Futures Regulation group that he heads. Actually, the DC office’s six securities lawyers all hail from the SEC, so government experience is practically a requirement at Schiff Hardin.


Lest you think bureaucracy rendered them dull, we’re helping out Howard’s recruiting pitch with visual evidence that he’s hip—from a Morrissey concert at Wolftrap. One more tip: if you’re a “40 Act” attorney (mutual fund regulation), you’ll get a close look. Beyond securities, the 21-lawyer DC office is also strong in energy work, but don’t be discouraged if you get a polite rejection. Howard says Schiff Hardin, 400 attorneys, has no designs on “mega-firm” numbers. 

You know those magnet things on your refrigerator?

It’s nice to hear about little guys winning one, so we couldn’t resist the tale of Ritchie Thomas’s latest win at the ITC. The Squire Sanders trade specialist just scored a victory for 200-employee Magnum Magnetics Corp. of Marietta, Ohio, which makes the raw material for flexible magnets, or as you know it, the stuff on your refrigerator. (Ritchie displays a sample above). Finding itself undercut by Chinese and Taiwanese imports, Magnum called in Ritchie to press charges of unfair product dumping and government subsidies with the Department of Commerce and the ITC.


The agencies take a tag-team approach to these cases, with Commerce determining whether dumping or subsidies occurred and ITC ruling on whether there’s injury to U.S. industry. Ritchie’s team got favorable rulings from both, and the imports have stopped with an order imposing a 200% duty on Chinese imports and 30% for Taiwanese. Trade remedy cases tend to be counter-cyclical, Ritchie tells us; only eight were filed in ‘06, but 28 were filed last year and more in ’08. Speaking of magnets, Ritchie and Squire Sanders can’t seem to separate from each other—the Cleveland firm he joined 40 years ago merged into Squire Sanders, and then when he came to a DC firm a few years later, it happened all over again.

Stout & Teague
Cardinal Bank
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