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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Sonnenschein Gains a New Democrat

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, September 9, 2004; Page A25

J oseph J. Andrew, a former national chairman of the Democratic National Committee and longtime mergers and acquisition lawyer who specializes in dealing with the government component of a corporate transaction, has moved his practice to Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

Formerly chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party in the late 1990s, Andrew currently serves on the advisory board of the New Democrat Network, a group of centrist Democrats.

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Originally with a Wall Street law firm, he left for McDermott Will & Emery when he was recruited to run for governor of Indiana. (It would not do to be a Wall Street lawyer and running for governor of Indiana.) But then fate stepped in: Term-limited governor Frank O'Bannon died, and Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan, who was not going to run for governor, stepped up and decided that he would run for his own term.

"I was not crazy enough to run against an incumbent of my party," Andrew said.

He then moved on to Sonnenschein, whose government relations practice has been on a growth tear. Andrew also noted the firm earlier this year signed on Frederick McClure, the chief lobbyist of the Bush I White House.

One of his clients was the Auctus Group, an M&A consulting firm. Auctus chief executive F. Kirk Lininger said in a statement put out by Sonnenschein: "In the nearly three decades I have assisted companies grow, I've learned it is a unique lawyer who understands the nexus of business, law, government and politics. Joe is at that nexus right now."

Flying Solo for Food Aid

Ellen Levinson, a longtime food-aid lobbyist, has left the world of law firms and struck out on her own, forming Levinson & Associates.

For the past 10 years, she's been government relations director at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and earlier did the same kind of work at a now-defunct law firm.

"I decided I wanted to do what I do, what I do well" and do it from a lobby shop environment, Levinson said.

She will continue to serve as executive director of the Coalition for Food Aid, a group of charitable and cooperate organizations, including Africare, CARE, Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children.

The coalition is concerned with international trade negotiations and protecting food assistance from limitations on government subsidies and with U.S. legislation providing funds for food aid.

"An old motivation of mine was [fighting] hunger. . . . I was an idealist. That never goes away. It's one way of expressing my hope for the world," she said of her work for the coalition.

She also will continue representing the New York Board of Trade. Levinson has also registered to lobby on behalf of A.O. NaftaSib, an energy, transportation and construction company based in Moscow, and the Yemeni Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

For NaftaSib, she will "support U.S. policies that promote private enterprise development and investment in countries of the former Soviet Union," according to her lobby registration. For the Yemeni chambers, she will "promote U.S. policies that support the development of trade with and investment in Yemen."

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