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    October 27, 2008  
 
 
Wiley Rein
Turns 25

Big shout-out to great sponsor Goulston & Storrs! With rich history and experience in Real Estate Law, their attorneys have guided over $5 billion in transactions in recent years! Congratulations.


 

Wiley Rein held a 25th birthday party for itself at 1776 K Street on Thursday, and the crowd was heavy enough with Beltway insiders to feel like a preview of the inauguration bashes just around the corner. Among the 300 partygoers were well-wishers, administration bigwigs, and name partners—or, in the case of Fred Fielding, all three in one.

 

Actually, Fred had his name on the masthead between his gigs as White House Counsel to President Regan (1981-86) and W. (since January ’07), but the firm has since reverted to the short form. With the administration drawing to a close, we wondered if Wiley Rein should get the old signage out of storage, but Fred was mum on his post-inauguration plans. We found him catching up with one of his old hires, Wiley Rein policy pro Barbara Burchett.

 

We caught founders Dick Wiley and Bert Rein holding up their temporarily hobbled partner Chuck Verrill. Chuck, who we can safely say was the only one at the party wearing Birkenstocks (we’re chalking them up to the tender leg, not fashion choice), came over from Patton Boggs in 1984 as the firm’s very first lateral partner. One year earlier, Dick and Bert had started the firm with a group of 37 spun off from Kirkland in an amicable split over client conflicts growing out of the AT&T divestiture. In 25 years, Dick and Bert’s group of colleagues has expanded to 275, with 80 alone in communications. Ahhh, they grow up too fast, don’t they?

 

Partner Ed Faberman gives us the thumbs up for 25 years at Wiley Rein. Either that or he’s just still happy about his buddy Jim Wallace’s massive patent settlement in 2006 for NTP against BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion. Wiley gambled in taking the case on contingency, but it paid off big time—the $612 million settlement brought $200 million plus expenses to the partnership. Here, it looks like Jim might be thinking about those cupcakes behind him instead.

 

Now, we’re sure that Anthony Woolich (left) didn’t want to show anyone up—he flew all the way from England just to attend the party, not to mention being a very pleasant fellow—but it did slip out that his British firm of Lawrence Graham is 378 years old! Seems like a big difference with Wiley Rein’s 25 years, but by the year 2500 they’ll feel like contemporaries. Proving that approaching 400 doesn’t mean you’re stodgy, the firm has re-branded as LG and isn’t above sharing the counsel table with Wiley Rein’s whippersnappers, as Anthony did on a recent international arbitration for a leisure brand owner and on an antitrust matter with John Wyss, right. With them is Kathleen Argiropoulos, GC for the Airlines Reporting Corp.

 

Jim Blitz, VP Regulatory Counsel for Sirius XM; Lockheed Martin gov’t affairs VP Jennifer Warren; Amy Mehlman, who told us she’s a “consultant” at Mehlman Capital Strategies (could that mean a lobbyist?); and Wiley Rein’s Gary Horowitz. To make up for the fact that we caught Jennifer with her eyes closed, we’ll tell you that she works technology policy at Lockheed’s Washington advocacy operation, which has more than 100 staff. Dick Wiley was one of the first people she met back when working at the FCC, and Amy, for one, is throwing Jennifer’s name in the ring to be the next FCC Commissioner.

 

After a while, we realized that Dick Wiley had a personal connection with just about everybody in the room. State Department Senior Counselor Tim Finton, right, knows Dick from his role as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, a group that gives Foggy Bottom quarterly input from the private sector. Corporate members of the group include Nokia, represented here by legislative liaison John Beamer, and the Telecommunications Industry Association, where Danielle Coffey is VP of government affairs.


Food for the Brain
 

Teatro Goldoni is quickly becoming the Café Milano of downtown, and Thursday night it flexed its cultural and culinary power to raise money for the National Brain Tumor Society. Among the eaters and donors: Venable’s Lisa Hughes, Patton Boggs’s Jim McNair, Edgewood Management’s Gene Ford, Argy, Wiltse & Robinson’s Jeff Schragg, and Holland + Knight’s Leigh-Alexandra Basha. The feast included a five-course tasting menu with items like roasted stuffed quail risotto with prosciutto and artichoke hearts and baked Chilean sea bass with fennel saffron broth. Special thanks to Cardinal Bank for generous patronage, ie, inviting us.

John Ford is Bisnow’s Legal Editor. Send him your story ideas at john@bisnow.com.

 
 
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