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    October 28, 2008  
Schulte Roth


We’re dusting off our best Armani suit for Wednesday’s 4th Corporate Counsel Awards at the Tyson’s Ritz, where the local chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (WMACCA) will be naming DC’s outstanding chief legal officer, outstanding law department (small and large categories), and best adapted screenplay. Well, perhaps not the last, but other than watching Joan Rivers, this is as close as we get to an Oscar ceremony.


WilmerHale vet Denise Esposito is up for the chief legal award for her work as GC at Emergent Biosolutions in Rockville. Among her credentials: After coming on board in ’06, she built up the legal staff of the company (owners of an FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine) from four to 15 as of January 1. Might be too late for the judges to consider, but in September alone she closed on three government contracts, including a $400M whopper with HHS for inclusion of additional doses of the BioThrax vaccine into the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile. As far as we’re concerned, you can never have too much of the stuff.


Showing us the ticker tape from Emergent’s IPO, Denise tells us the executive team is also eyeballing some M&A possibilities. Her co-nominees in the GC category are Sol Glasner of Mitre Corp., Judy Kassel of ICF International, Simone Wu of XO Holdings, and Susan Lucci of All My Children. Stay tuned for full red-carpet coverage of the whole shebang on Thursday.

Seyfarth Takes Dewey Space

We thought we’d caught Bob Bodansky of Seyfrath Shaw trespassing at the old Dewey Ballantine (now Dewey LeBoeuf) address at 975 F Street—but no, Seyfarth has just taken over the 77,000 square-foot space after Dewey consolidated forces on New York Ave. The deal gives Seyfarth three floors of offices (room for at least 80 lawyers), a second-floor conference center, and a concourse level for IT operations, file rooms, and supplies. Seyfarth moves over from its 815 Connecticut digs on November 7.


Among the amenities Bob showed us: Seyfarth gets its own rooftop. Better yet, because the building design is not a simple square, each floor has about six “corner” offices. (The architect evidently knows lawyerly tastes.) Bob, who normally counsels institutional investors on real estate, acted as Seyfarth’s laywer in the deal in which it gets more than 13 years (plus renewal and expansion options) on Dewey’s original 15-year lease. For Seyfarth, taking over the newly upgraded space means saving more than $6 million in construction that it would have plunked down to refurbish its present address.

Schulte Roth’s DC Plan Takes Hold

You’d think the market turning upside down might have an SEC enforcement expert feeling a little harried, but a few minutes with Howard Schiffman told us that nothing gets in this guy’s way of a good time. In July, the gregarious rainmaker brought eight lawyers over from Dickstein Shapiro to open Schulte Roth’s DC office (other offices in NY and London). Howard tells us he was unable to resist the platform offered by its premier hedge fund practice. The 450-lawyer firm represents nearly as many hedge funds (is it us, or is it hard to believe that many hedge funds still exist?), including Chrysler’s majority owner, Cerberus. So how’s the marriage working out? Smiling wide, Howard tells us that Ida Draim, lead member of the former Dickstein group on the SEC regulatory side, is now fully occupied advising Schulte’s hedge fund, broker/dealer and other clients on hot topics like SEC short-selling initiatives.


As for Howard—here giving props to his right-hand woman Suzanne Naylor—he’s busy on a handful of cases growing out of the SEC’s current “very aggressive” mode. Among other areas, the agency is looking at short-side manipulation cases for the first time in 74 years. The SEC has opened at least 50 investigations on the issue, and Howard tells us Schulte is involved in a large number of them in one capacity or another. Being ethical reporters, we can’t disclose the musical influence that’s the source of Howard’s nickname around the firm (we agreed to keep it under wraps, but nothing says you can’t ask him directly, but it bears noting that his grandfather founded the famed Apollo Theater. Like Howard, those blues singers know how to make hard times sound like fun. 

John Ford is Bisnow’s Legal Editor. Are you poll watching on Election Day? Getting out the vote? Studying chads? Let John know if you’re volunteering your time for the election and you could find yourself in Bisnow: john@bisnow.com.

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