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    October 8, 2008  
DC Legal Aid;
Tom Friedman

Biggest party of the season—and it's free: Bisnow's Democrats v. Republicans Hip Happy Hour. 1,500 people from all Washington industries. The great Park at Fourteenth. Oct 15, 6-8 PM, stay and watch the debate. No charge, but you must sign up!


Pillsbury's local office has been signing up other firm defectors at a torrid pace. It landed two separate Thelen groups within the last week: a 20-attorney China practice spread across DC, Shanghai, and San Francisco; and construction litigators Michael Evan Jaffe and Ronan McHugh. And just this morning Pillsbury announced yet another new team: four FERC lawyers from Heller Ehrman. All are joining in DC.

The China group doesn't join 'til October 20, but Bob Robbins, head of Pillsbury's firm-wide corporate and securities group, whom we snapped above this morning, gave us details. He and Jeff Grill, head of the DC corporate group, tell us Pillsbury has been aggressively recruiting laterals over the last year and was in discussions with another Thelen group when Pillsbury learned of the China practice. After Pillsbury made the first move, Shanghai-based group leader Tom Shoesmith (who will take managing partner duties at Pillsbury's heretofore small Shanghai office), flew in to DC for a whirlwind tour, and the deal was sealed in record time—30 days from start to finish, Jeff says.

DC Managing Partner Maureen Dwyer tells us her "goal is to grow the DC office, and this is a giant leap forward." Taken together with 15 first-years who started Monday, DC numbers will exceed 200, including additional partners Joe Tiano and Lou Bevilacqua. While the Thelen group handled U.S. investment into China, they also took emerging Chinese companies public in the US (25 so far), making it a snug fit with Pillsbury's securities practice for public companies. The lateral hirings also mesh with Pillsbury's international strategy, which focused on growing its presence in London this year and China for '09. 


Just a hunch, but we thought you might like some positive financial news. Despite storm clouds over the economy in '08, the Legal Aid Society celebrated a record year for its Generous Associates fundraising campaign—plenty of reason for a celebratory breakfast at its H Street headquarters. The $780,000 surpassed the goal by $30,000 and marks the biggest take in the campaign's eight years. We rousted ourselves bright and early at the end of last week to congratulate Skadden Arps's Martin Klepper, center, President of Legal Aid's Board of Trustees for the last seven years. At his side: campaign co-chair Tom Henry of Jones Day, and board member Kirk Richter, with the real estate broker CB Richard Ellis.


The real credit goes to Tom and his fellow co-chairs: Brown Rudnick's Howard Wolf-Rodda, Arent Fox's Randall Brater, Altria assistant GC Wessley Bizzell, as well as firm coordinators Alston & Bird's Romulus Johnson, Baker Botts' Elysa Dishman, and Alston's BJ Shannon. Some of Elysa's inventive fundraising methods: collecting people's leftover foreign currency and a donate-your-loose-change effort that snagged $1,000 . . . not to mention temporarily breaking the coin-counting device at a local bank.

Tom Friedman Drops In

We'll give you one guess who the non-lawyer is here. That's right, the guy rocking the suede jacket is NY Times columnist and mega-selling author Tom Friedman, who appeared at a book signing that the Rockville firm Shulman Rogers held for a crowd of 200 at Congregation B'Nai Israel on Sunday. Tom gave a talk on Hot, Flat, and Crowded, his green-themed follow up to The World Is Flat and The World Is Flat 3.0 (just a rumor, but we believe his next project is Chicken Soup For A Flat World). With him are Shulman Rogers' Tina Hsu, name partner Don Rogers, and friend-of-Friedman Ira Hoffman.

John Ford is Bisnow's Legal Editor. He has a fever, and the only prescription is more story ideas. (Old SNL reference—if you didn't catch it, don't worry.) Send them to

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