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    June 30, 2008  

One of the great new condominiums of the region has opened its doors: Lionsgate, in the heart of Bethesda. We believe it will become a well-known landmark of luxury and convenience. See their ad to right, and tell 'em we sent you!


The Capitol Hill Hyatt played host Thursday night to the DC Bar’s double-duty event, its annual business meeting and awards dinner. Luckily for the kitchen, not all 88,000 DC Bar members (second only to California) showed up—just a healthy crowd of 400.


Kim Keenan of the Keenan Firm, right, took office as President-elect on Thursday night; she’ll follow Robert Spagnoletti of Schertler & Onorato, who was actually sworn in during the event and drew raucous applause from his apparently many fans. Joining Kim: DC Bar Executive Director Katherine Mazzaferri and new Board of Governors member Rebecca McNeill of Finnegan Henderson. Rebecca has her first trial in July, a pro bono criminal case at the DC Superior Court. She’s excited because her usual venue, the US Patent office, is not known for its Perry Mason moments. We’ve got a good feeling about this because Perry Mason did in fact have one criminal patent case. And, get this, he won.


Before the dinner, the Pro Bono Program hosted a fundraising reception that raked in a record $650,000, one-third of its budget for the coming year. Pro Bono Committee director Maureen Thornton Syracuse, right, with committee chair John Nields of Howrey and DC Public Schools’ Cynthia Robinson. Maureen told us the Pro Bono Program is partnering with Williams & Connolly to create a new Consumer Law Resource Center at the Superior Court, while John encouraged everyone to join him in the Legacy Society by including the Pro Bono Program in their will. Wow, that’s direct.


DC Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King is joined by wife Barbara Stevens, Williams & Connolly retired founding partner Bob Weinberg (also a Bar Past President), and solo practitioner Ed Varrone. Judge King is retiring in September after 28 years on the bench, the last eight as Chief Judge. A successor will be named on August 22. He says he’ll be traveling after retirement. More specifically, when pressed: “A boat to Italy.” His wife does not plan to appeal the decision.

Miller & Chevalier’s Latest Import


Three Baker & McKenzie lawyers jumped to Miller & Chevalier recently, so we dropped in on George Clarke, the latest to switch over (after employee benefits partners Anne Batter and Thomas Cryan), to see what was afoot. Turns out, no exodus is in progress and the two firms will even work together on one of Clarke’s unfinished pro bono cases, repping four Guantanamo detainees. George served four years active duty in the United States Marines himself (enlisted at 17!) and four years in the reserves. Regarding the move, he says criminal tax litigation is booming and Miller was well positioned to take advantage with its combination of tax litigation and high-profile white collar work.  George also has a lot of experience with another Miller & Chevalier strong suit, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations.

30 Under 30 Nominee: Melissa Arbus


It’s 30 Under 30 time! That’s right, starting next week we’ll be unveiling the town’s top 30 lawyers under 30. The quality of our candidates is dazzling; just check out nominee Melissa Arbus of Latham & Watkins. The former clerk to Justice Stevens worked her first Supreme Court case as an advocate this term and started things off with a bang, aiding a 9-0 victory with work on petitioner’s brief in Quanta v. LG Electronics. Actually, we might be more impressed with Melissa’s selection as a member of Latham’s Global Associates Committee. It’s a group of 50 associates and partners (hey, we didn’t name it) that addresses issues including—get this—the determination of associate bonuses. That’s a lot of power; good thing for Latham it’s Global Associates doing this, not the Greedy Associates.

Party at L2


Holland & Knight regional Managing Partner LaFonte Nesbitt, right, with Carlyle Group’s Ryan Begelman and Eastbanc’s Kevin Albert at a party we here at Bisnow threw for sponsors and friends the other night at hot new club L2 in Georgetown. We coaxed the following factoids out of our friend LaFonte:  H&K is now up to 230 attorneys here in three offices (DC, Tysons, and Bethesda); it’s once again sponsoring the 14th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Project Awards lunch on July 17 at the DC Ritz Carlton; he’s working on various urban redevelopment projects in DC, Atlanta, and elsewhere; and he heads to LA this week for a July 4 vacay.  And how’s this for a subfactoid: He’s visiting his wife's brothers and one of her sisters who currently edits "Numb3rs" on Friday night on CBS; this being TV’s summer hiatus, there will be extra time to spend on the beach in Santa Monica.  


The SCENE is our newest publication—covering all the movers and shakers around Washington.

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Andrews Kurth
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