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    May 15, 2008  


Bisnow now publishes 8 different newsletters covering various industries, but our newest one, The Scene, is about movers and shakers across Washington, events and parties, buzz and (our personal favorite) food. Check it out at www.Bisnow.com.


Jenner & Block's star insurance litigator Lorie Masters concludes her term as President of the Women's Bar Association of DC tonight at its annual dinner at the National Building Museum. 2008 "Torchbearer" honoree? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before Lorie got too involved with seating charts, and whilst she still had duties before Jennifer Maree of Patton Boggs takes her place, we sat her down for an exit interview.


Here she shows us the WBA's 2006 report on advancement and retention of women attorneys in law firms. (Notable: only 17% of law firm partners are women, a figure that has remained nearly constant for 20 years, and only 9% of women lawyers aren't working 15 years after graduation.) At the start of '07, the WBA leadership settled on a plan to spotlight a different subject each of the next three years: issues affecting women of color during Lorie's term (they produced a second WBA report on the subject, being released today); concerns of in-house lawyers in '08; and business development and training for law students in '09.


In just three weeks, Jenner is moving from 13th Street to 1099 New York, and Lorie's hoping it'll look as pretty as this rendering when the dust clears. A walking encyclopedia on the history of women lawyers in DC, Laurie told us the WBA—the fourth-oldest women's bar group in the country—was started in 1917 by Emma Gillette and Ellen Spencer Mussey, Washington College of Law students who met at a suffragist event. Lorie says that in the 80s and 90s, WBA colleagues actually wondered if the group would stay relevant after achieving relative equality in law school admissions and hiring.


But there's still progress to make, says Lorie, pointing to a 2006 study by the National Association of Women Lawyers finding that only 5% of firms have female managing partners. We probably shouldn't be surprised that back in 1996-2000 at Anderson Kill, Lorie was one of the small percentage of female attorneys to scale those heights.



Is there a more prominent street corner here than K and Connecticut, or a more prestigious-sounding address than 1000 Connecticut Avenue? (All right, fine, other than that 1600 place.) Although it's long been rumored, this morning 350-lawyer Arent Fox officially announced that it's becoming anchor tenant of the glistening new trophy office building to arise on the spot (now a big pile of rubble), taking an "initial" 17-year lease to commence in 2012.


We visited Arent Fox partners Mark Katz and Jerry Fox in their office last evening; together with colleague Joe Fries, they did the lawyering for their firm's own deal. Arent Fox's current office is only a building away from the future site (that heap of concrete in the background), leading Jerry to observe that theirs will be the "biggest move in the history of Washington without trucks." The firm's moving because they've been in the glassy Washington Square since 1982—as the anchor tenant of what was then also the coolest new building in town—and their 30-year lease will be up.

John Ford is Bisnow's Managing Editor.  Got a story? By all means, drop him a line at john@bisnow.com.

Andrews Kurth
Kane Company
Cardinal Bank
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