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    September 19, 2008  
Socrates on Trial

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The biggest appeal of the last 2,407 years took place at the Shakespeare Theater Company's Sidney Harman Hall on Tuesday. The defendant: Socrates. The charges: corruption of youth and impiety. The sentence: death. Before a packed house of 750 and a panel featuring Justice Alito, counsel for Athens and Socrates pressed their cases. The momentous decision? Read on.


The bench was the most active one we'd seen since at least 410 BC, as Justice Alito, Judge Rosemary Collyer (Federal District of DC), and Judge Paul Michael (Chief of Federal Circuit), presumably on visiting judge assignments to Athens, peppered counsel with topical questions such as whether Socrates endangered national security by introducing new deities. Also on the panel but not pictured: Judges Richard Leon (Federal District of DC) and Brett Kavanaugh (Federal DC Circuit).

Crystal City

White collar star Abbe Lowell of McDermott Will & Emery took up Socrates's cause on the impiety charge and deployed a full bag of rhetorical tricks. (One line: "It takes more than hearsay to convict of heresy.") Scolding his robed client for not hiring him in proceedings below, Abbe scored with the insider crowd when arguing for a standard of review unheard of in 399 BCE: "Let's call it . . . de novo." Abe Krash of Arnold & Porter also represented Socrates (we'll assume his look above suggests he's deep in thought and dismayed about his co-counsel's remarks), while Betty Jo Christian of Steptoe argued half of Athen's case.


Abe's more upbeat look here may give it away, but the decision came down in favor of . . . drum roll . . . Socrates. The votes of both the panel and citizenry went the philosopher's way, to the chagrin of Stepote's Pantelis Michalopoulos, who argued the corruption charge for Athens. Pantelis can take heart in the fact that sympathies ran against him, and that he got some of the biggest laughs of the night ("the Parthenon has stood for over 40 years") with a slideshow that included prejudicial images of a philosopher hanging out with prostitutes. (PG-13, we hasten to note.)

Bryan Cave Fetes State Dept. Vet

In other nightlife news, at a Tuesday reception Bryan Cave rolled out the welcome mat for returning colleague Tom Schweich, back from a four-year sojourn with the State Department and U.N. Framed by former Mass. Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) and partner Daniel Schwartz, Tom's still sporting a tan from the Afghanistan poppy fields where he fought the drug trade. Joining the firm's regulatory and government group, Tom tells us his international law enforcement duties took him to 33 "crisis countries," and that he now packs insider contacts, knowledge of the business pilot programs of foreign governments, and which gangs not to mess with in Guatemala City.


Bryan Cave managing partner Rod Page, with partner Bill Weisberg and international trade advisor Mark Nyugen, tells us the firm has added three partners to its DC office in '08, bringing the count to 58. The firm also opened a Paris office in July, and Rod is trying to finagle, ahem, a "business visit" to the new office. Bill is in the midst of a high-school search for his 13-year-old daughter (wait 'til college!), but for now enjoys basketball practice with his son.


Bryan Cave's Stephen Kaye, right, and clients Christopher Platt, Pug Gutridge, and Richard Denham from Cherokee Information Services were discussing opportunities in Eastern Europe. Pug says the DoD contractor is moving into the Ukraine, and notes that firms can add value on international business by being up on cultural norms. Course, Richard already knew about the Russian vodka toast that happens at the end of business. Perhaps that's the reason he's been to Russia more than 30 times?


Bryan Cave's Singapore consultant Chian Voen Wong and DC counsel Susan Kovarovics enjoyed some chocolate-covered strawberries in the lobby of 700 13th (not shown, but take our word for it). Chian, vacationing in DC for the week, isn't too big on the monuments, but loved the botanical gardens. The Singapore Chamber of Commerce will be glad to hear she was touting the country's strong intellectual property laws.

Bisnow's newest Ace Reporter, Abraham Mahshie, assisted Legal Editor John Ford on today's issue. Please send story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

McGuire Woods
Cardinal Bank
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