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    April 18, 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; Sam and his team were named WMACCA's law department of the year).  Wed, May 28, at Il Mulino in DC. Sign up here. Thanks to great sponsor Studley.


That’s a change for the largest group of trial lawyers in the country—the ABA Litigation Section—which is normally in the business of talking.  But they’ve descended on the Capitol Hill Hyatt for their three day annual conference, wrapping up today.  Yesterday’s hot ticket was the lunch address by FBI Director Robert Mueller.


Arriving fresh from the Papal Mass, Director Mueller riffed on this year’s conference theme of ethics.  (Please observe our heroic restraint here in not making a joke about trial lawyers’ relationship with the topic.) Mueller described lawyers as the first line of defense in preventing white-collar crime. Early action by counsel can nip corporate crime in the bud, he said, noting that the Feds obtained more than 490 corporate and securities fraud convictions in 07. With the FBI focused on counterterrorism and more than 1,300 mortgage-fraud cases, the FBI needs all the free labor it can get.  


Ethics wasn’t the only burning topic. Panelists Gil Keteltas of Howrey, Georgetown law prof Lisa Heinzerling and National Planning Commission GC Lois Schiffer discussed whether climate-change litigation will be the next asbestos . . . or the next Y2K. Recent years have seen cases like Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxon, in which an Alaskan village sued over the rising ocean levels putting their community in danger. These cases haven’t fared well for plaintiffs (among other reasons, judges have been wary of touching the political issue, Lisa says), but the panel agreed this is no fad: climate litigation won’t be cooling down anytime soon


The fourth climate panelist, Navigant Consulting Managing Director Robin Cantor, with San Francisco practitioner Loren Kieve. Cantor says that one certain effect of climate change litigation is rising premiums for personal injury, products liability, and D&O liability coverage. No less an authority than Lloyd’s said last year that businesses should gird themselves for an onslaught of environmental lawsuits.




Last night we found the perfect excuse for a glass of Cotes du Rhone on Gibson Dunn’s balcony: the annual networking dinner for Outlaw, Georgetown Law’s LGBT group, which presented Gibson Dunn its inaugural “Ally Award” for the firm’s strong support. (We’ll give you a moment here to revise your stereotype of the famously conservative white-shoe shop. Okay, proceed . . . )


From left: Alyssa Arnold of Whitman-Walker Legal Services; Jonathan Allen of Gibson Dunn; HRC Senior Counsel Cristina Finch; Gibson Dunn’s Bennett Borden (an Outlaw alum) and Aaron Goodman; and Dan Hughes, Outlaw’s Treasurer. Dan must be good with money—he’s off to Cadwalader NY after graduation, to work in “financial restructuring.” (We think that’s a polite way of saying bankruptcy.) The theme of the night was pro bono opportunities for LGBT attorneys at Biglaw, and Aaron was down from the NY office to talk about his pending cases. One of them, on appeal in NY state court, is pushing for interstate recognition of same-sex unions. It’s not all work for these people, though: Jonathan for one plays in a DC basketball league on a team that calls itself “Hickory,” after the squad from Hoosiers.

Sheppard Mullin
Kane Company
McGuire Woods
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