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    May 9, 2008  


Join us for lunch with three of America's top General Counsels: Freddie Mac's Bob Bostrom, the Washington Post's Veronica Dillon, and American Capital Strategies' Sam Flax (largest publicly-held private equity firm in the US). Wed, May 28, at Il Mulino in DC. Sign up here. Thanks to great sponsors Studley and IMC.


May showers didn’t damper the mood at last night’s 12th Annual Justice Potter Stewart Award Dinner, the annual fundraiser for the Council of Court Excellence. The event is held at the Chamber of Commerce now that the event’s former home, the Supreme Court’s Great Hall, has been declared off limits to money-making affairs. But the new site is apt, given the Council’s mission to achieve court reform through the city’s business, civic (and of course legal) communities.


One of the night’s two honorees, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President John Payton, with colleague Kristen Clark and the UN’s Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall. John is starting to suspect that we’re stalking him, but don’t worry, John—we’ll stop covering you when you stop winning awards. As head of LDF, he’s filling the historic shoes of Thurgood Marshall.


Lead sponsors WilmerHale and Arent Fox are repped here by Steve Hut (who doubles as CCE VP) and Jim Mercurio (CCE board member). Steve tells us he’s keeping fit (we make no judgment on whether that’s a good or bad thing) at WilmerHale’s world-class gym and is working a pro bono case for Jewish War Veterans: an Establishment Clause challenge to a 43-foot-high cross standing on Federal land in La Jolla. Jim has actually retired from his litigation practice at Arent Fox. So what’s he enjoying most about his new life? “Doing arbitrations for the American Arbitration Association,” Jim said to our great disappointment. Somebody take that man to Vegas, stat.


Over at the Miami Vice bar, we found Maureen Thornton Syracuse (left), the other Potter Stewart Award winner and Director of the DC Bar Pro Bono Program. She’s joined by well-refreshed colleagues Margaret Duval, Katharine Beights, Regina Hopkins, and Raymond Rull. Maureen tells us her Law Firm Clinic, staffed by volunteer lawyers from 25 firms and seven gov’t agencies, provided representation for 300 new clients last year. She’s also created a Community Economic Development Project to provide tax and other advice to non-profits and small businesses.    


CCE board member and Sutherland Asbill litigator Steuart Thomsen with McDermott Will & Emery’s Jennifer Westbrook and Marc Rivers. Marc left Sutherland a year ago, but Steuart didn’t seem to be holding it against him. At McDermott, Marc joins his Georgetown evidence professor, Abbe Lowell.


More WilmerHale standouts: litigation vice-chair Nita Crowley; former Assistant AG for DoJ’s Civil Division (and Blackmun clerk) David Ogden; and Brigida Benitez. Brigida tells us Wilmer’s repping EastBanc in Superior Court litigation against Herb Miller’s GPA II over ownership of the Georgetown mall.

John Ford is Bisnow’s Managing Editor. Got a good story tip? By all means pass it on to john@bisnow.com.

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