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    January 13, 2011  
 
BOARDROOM BART

 

Cahill Gordon & Reindel biz dev chair and white-collar litigator Bart Friedman is not phased by a turbulent storm—both the snowy kind that hit during our meeting last week or those of a corporate nature. He's part of a growing 50-attorney corporate governance, investigation, and crisis advisory group that has former government attorneys and senior trial lawyers who excel in crisis situations.

 
Cahhill Gordon Bart Friedman

Bart spent 15 years repping financial institutions (think Dillon, Read, Schroeder’s and Swiss Bank) buying and selling themselves, but he's morphed his practice in the last 10 years to focus on board and corporate investigations and crises. He’s worked closely with Qualcomm GC Donald Rosenberg and Freddie Mac GC Robert Bostrom, most recently while repping Freddie's independent directors when the gov’t placed the organization into conservatorship. He tells us he once went to South America to investigate “everything that could possibly go wrong” at a large company (subsequently sold to a LBO firm), including allegations that a top exec liked to waive his gun during meetings. (Better his gun than a laser pointer. Those things'll burn your eye.) Midway through their meeting, the exec, of course, pulled out his handgun. Good thing Cahill rolled in with security. Bart survived (and longer than the exec, we presume).

Cahhill Gordon Bart Friedman in black hawk

Terrminator 5: Rise of the Lawbots? Actually, it’s Bart traveling between Germany and Kosovo via Black Hawk, during a review of NATO’s peacekeeping operations in ‘03. Bart’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on its Independent Task Force on Non-Lethal Technology (coming soon: projectile goo with the ability to slowdown aggressively advancing villains) and on the Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq (with former secretary of defense and energy, Dr. James Schlesinger, and former US ambassador to the UN, Thomas Pickering). He tells us he’s literally gearing up (he just checked his body armor size) for another trip to Iraq and Afghanistan in early March to assess the situation on the ground.

Cahhill Gordon Bart Friedman with sons Ben and Jake.

Not all of Bart’s trips involve warzones. He tells us he’s recently back from a relaxing trip with his wife, Wendy, and sons, Ben, 24, and Jake, 22. Ben recently graduated from Brown and works for the Wilderness Society and Jake is a senior at Brown studying Arabic and international relations. Bart says they take family trips every year, having experienced the active volcanoes off the coast of New Zealand, a private tour of the Egyptian Pyramids, the sandstone mountains of Wadi Rum in Jordan, and a (legal) visit to communist Cuba. Last week, they braved the narrow Inca Trail to Machu Piccu in Peru and did some mountain biking in the Urubamba Valley.


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Mr. 3000
 

Tablets, smart TVs, and smart phones are the future. As new and improved technologies come to market (we're talking 'bout you, Verizon iPhone), high levels of technological collaboration are creating new antitrust and IP issues for companies. Bingham’s star senior litigator Richard Taffet tells us he billed 3000 hours last year and plans to keep on trucking as long as he’s still working on cutting-edge issues related to the evolution of IP principles in an increasingly flat global marketplace, where innovation is critical to driving economic growth. His practice focuses on tech companies involved in antitrust, IP lit, and strategic IP matters. Richard says his cases and client matters involve traveling every month—this week, it's San Diego to meet with client Qualcomm, and on Tuesday, to San Fran to rep Sharp in the TFT-LCD antitrust class actions pending there.

Can you guess which of these college students from the ‘70s sits on the management committee of the firm recognized by FORTUNE as one of the 100 Best Places to Work for the sixth year in a row? Richard’s the man in the middle. As a freshman, he spent about a third of his time at a (very) liberal arts college studying music, including classical composition, abstract performance (think jazz meets Frank Zappa, but less structured), and private study of flute and sax. He loves traditional R&B, and even showed us a YouTube vid of what he claims is the best tune ever recorded: Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness. Richard tells us the consistently positive workplace atmosphere at Bingham is achieved by empowering younger people, avoiding practice area silos, and communicating early and often with associates and staff.


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APPLE A DAY

 
Greenberg Traurig NY office healthcare chair Frank Serbaroli

Get your checkups now because healthcare bankruptcies will be on the rise in ’11. Frank Serbaroli, 15-year member and former vice chair of the NY State Public Health Council (and Greenberg Traurig NY office healthcare chair), tells us that the Health Department used to throw money at hospitals and certain other providers to keep them afloat. No longer. In the last two years, St Vincent’s, Mary Immaculate, and St John’s Queens Hospital each filed for bankruptcy, and Frank expects to see more filings among providers such as some hospitals, nursing homes, and even some home health agencies. His practice focuses on corporate, regulatory, and reimbursement work as well as fraud and abuse prevention, compliance, and investigations. He says he’s spending increasing amounts of time dealing with matters stemming from Obamacare’s repayment mandate, which implements treble damages and fines (usually $5k-$11k) for each mistake not disclosed and repaid within 60 days. Frank says this provision could easily put many organizations out of business.

 
Greenberg Traurig NY office healthcare chair, Frank Serbaroli with Teddy Roosevelt.

We captured two public servants in this photo—Frank and Teddy Roosevelt. Frank collects historical autographs and manuscripts, including the above 1914 letter in which Teddy recommends a friend for admission to a law firm and discusses lawyer hostility toward him (things are much different now, right?). Frank’s other prized possessions include an 1863 telegram Lincoln sent to General Hooker before the Battle of Gettysburg and a guest book from a famous restaurant near the old Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway around the time of its biggest event ever: the 1910 Puccini premiere of Girl of the Golden West. Frank tells us his treasure was autographed by all of the principals including Puccini himself, conductor Arturo Toscanini, and legendary tenor Enrico Caruso during a dinner right after the premiere. To celebrate the centennial of the work, we’re told the Met just revived the opera to much fanfare.

 
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