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Legal Bisnow
    January 18, 2012  
 
The Evil Genius?

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Since SOPA-protest blackouts mean you can't Wikipedia search our headline today, we'll just dish the details: the "evil mastermind" happens to be Steptoe's Doug Kantor. Well, it's Visa's preferred name for him.
 
Steptoe's Doug Kantor

We're told some at Visa also call Doug "Darth Vader." Confused? So were we, since we noticed nary a trace of growly, mechanized intonation. The nicknames stem from Doug heading the lobbying efforts that led to debit card reform. The David and Goliath victory came after a high profile fight with banks and the credit card industry starting in '04, with Doug and fellow Steptoe-ers including Tim Columbus, Rhonda Bolton, and Kate Jensen repping the Merchants Payments Coalition they helped create from over 100 trade associations.The next step, he tells us, is credit card fee reform— for which he's already testified before Congress twice.

Huffington Post article about the debit card reform
This HuffPo article on debit card reform sits in Doug's office. This year, Doug tells us online piracy (speaking of SOPA) is replacing the debit swipe as K Street's "full employment act." With the election year, there'll also be a heavy focus on politics as opposed to legislation, so any issues with job creation and tax reform will take priority in the headlines, making other skirmishes less high profile.
Steptoe's Doug Kantor
Even 7-11 got into the mix on the debit card reform, issuing the thank-you card above. (Does that make them the Death Star?) Doug's other major lobbying wins included repping Kia to help pass the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. So what's the key to getting legislation passed in these tumultuous times? Simple, says Doug: just know the issue better than anyone else working on it.

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How Does She Do It?
 
Atara Miller

I Dont Know How She Does It is the title of a recent flick and easily applicable to Milbank Tweed's Atara Miller's life. The observant Orthodox Jewish woman tops the organizational charts with her ability to juggle the demands of attorneyhood with the rare-for-attorneys feat of not working for 25 straight hours each week (for the Sabbath), and caring for her three children. And she just got bumped up to partner. She's clearly disciplined: Atara tells us the day after her wedding to a future rabbinical student, instead of jetting off on a honeymoon she started her last year of law school.

Atara Miller

The master of multi-tasking looks at pics of her daughters; a fourth is on the way in early March. It's also the month for an oral argument scheduled before the 11th Circuit in a bankruptcy case she litigated through trial and two appeals. Her other big case has a pre-trial conference the first week in June and likely a three-week trial in July: repping BMI (which in turn reps over 450K composers and publishers) against the entire TV broadcast industry in the SDNY. So just how does she manage? Every day, Atara tells us, is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw that she fits together, like her all-white Spilled Milk puzzle of old.


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MLK Day
 
Ballard Spahr's MLK Day community service
Ballard Spahr DC managing partner Joe Fanone, center, made the most of MLK Day this year. He and others at the firm gathered goodies by the hundreds to donate: 108 bags of toiletries for the DC Central Kitchen's Travel Size Toiletries Collection and 304 bags of snacks for its Healthy Returns Program. Joe's above with the donations and Jennie LaFayette, Kelly Wrenn, Michelle Henry-Mitchell, Linda Schakel, Meg Riley-Jamison, Victoria Miranda, Katelyn Hill, Mitzie Smith-Mack, and Kimberlee Osborn.
 
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