Legal briefs: Baker Botts recruits Howrey antitrust team

March 18, 2011

Howrey's official dissolution continued to present opportunity for other law firms last week, as the Houston-origin firm Baker Botts brought on a team of 32 lawyers who made up the core of the now-defunct firm's antitrust practice here in the District.

The acquisition, which included former Howrey vice chairman and antitrust co-chairman Sean F.X. Boland, John M. Taladay, William Henry, Joseph Ostoyich, James Kress, Stephen Weissman, Paul Cuomo, Thomas D. Fina, Christopher J. MacAvoy, James F. Rill and William Bradford Reynolds, was a significant one for the Texas firm. “The addition of this group expands substantially the scope of our antitrust practice at Baker Botts, not only in terms of capacity but also geographically,” said Jamie Baker, partner in charge of the firm's District office.

Other firms that picked up local Howrey attorneys last week included Seyfarth Shaw, which brought on construction lawyers David Mancini and James Newland Jr.; Arent Fox, which hired litigation partner Martin Cunniff; and Baker Hostetler, which was the choice of Gilbert S. Keteltas, former co-chairman of Howrey's environmental products and torts practice.

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft added antitrust partners Peter Moll and Brian Wallach, along with three associates. Winston & Strawn hired intellectual property attorneys Vivian Kuo and Andrew Sommer, along with a large Houston-based contingent.

Lobby firms add lawmakers

Both Holland & Knight and King & Spalding announced the addition of former lawmakers to the firms' public policy practices last week. Former representative Ron Klein (D-Fla.) joined Holland & Knight after leaving Congress at the end of last term; former Maryland governor and Republican congressman Robert L. Ehrlich went to King & Spalding from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, where he founded a Baltimore office.

There's an app for that?

Increasing the amount of data lobbyists report about their contacts with the government should be as easy as inputting the information from your BlackBerry or iPhone, the Sunlight Foundation's Lisa Rosenberg told a group gathered in the Rayburn Building to discuss lobbying reform last week.

“The last thing I want to do is burden myself or my very small firm with more paperwork,” said Rosenberg, who lobbies for the transparency organization. “All of the information we're seeking can be reported by lobbyists during the cab ride back to their offices from Capitol Hill.”

Two lobbyists on the panel, Paul Miller of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies and the American Bar Association's Tom Susman, questioned whether disclosing every single contact on such a real-time basis would be worth the burden it would place on firms, which typically don't track work on such a granular level.

“I just think that the noise level will be so high when every lobbyist is reporting every contact that despite your terrific computers and your wonderful reports, that ability to extract useful information out of this is going to be not worth the investment,” Susman said.

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