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Quick Questions for Ken Bachman,
Managing Partner, DC office
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Fresh from vacationing in Norway with his wife, Ken sat down with us this week in his office.
What’s the firm’s DC footprint going to be in five years?
We've grown to 100 lawyers here. I expect we’ll mostly focus on growing our core practices in antitrust, securities, banking, litigation, structured finance, and M&A.
You don’t see a lot of DC firms doing M&A work like Cleary.
Doing major transactional work distinguishes us from other Washington firms. It's always been part of our practice to have lawyers work on both regulatory and transactional.
What is Cleary known for in DC?
Antitrust and corporate regulatory and transactional, as well as litigation and enforcement. We’re organized in practice groups, which include lawyers from other offices. I'm in two: banking and securities.
How is the firm managed?
There’s a managing partner in New York and an executive committee, as well as committees for other areas, and there is a local managing partner in each of the 12 offices around the world.
How often does the partnership get together?
Twice annually. This year we’re having a firm retreat in Evian, France in November. We also have regular lunch meetings in Washington with partners and other senior lawyers. Last spring we had an office-wide lawyers retreat on the Eastern Shore.
What were your goals when you took this job?
There were no special projects, other than to assist in arranging for our long-term space needs. We have recently concluded that—I hope for the next decade.
How do you divide your time between managing the office and your practice?
Practicing by far is the overwhelming part of my day. Administrative work takes maybe one to two hours.
What’s a recent big deal you handled?
Working with a Puerto Rican banking institution to address serious financial, regulatory, and litigation issues. We were able to achieve a successful recapitalization with private equity investment, which is unusual for banking institutions.
Papers pile up on Ken's desk, but doesn't he look well organized?
How important are Cleary’s 10 foreign offices?
Very. The firm has really had a global focus from the beginning. We have never acquired another firm. We believe our one-firm partnership approach is a key ingredient in our ability to work seamlessly among offices on global matters.
What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled to for work?
Kuwait. I advised the government there during and after its invasion by Iraq and helped with licensing their access to frozen assets. I also helped with emergency supply contracts for their reentry, and with their claims against Iraq presented to the UN in Geneva.
Who are your legal mentors?
The founding partner of this office, Bob Barnard, who also opened our first non-US office in Paris, and Mike Duncan, a broad-based transactional lawyer with a tax background based here.
What do you do when you are out of the office?
I try to get out to play golf, usually at Kenwood during a time when you can walk rather than ride. I also enjoy painting watercolors.