Legal briefs: Abramoff accomplice sentenced

By Amanda Becker
Monday, February 14, 2011; 12

Michael P.S. Scanlon, former accomplice to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was sentenced on Friday to 20 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that defrauded five Native American tribes of more than $20 million.

Scanlon was a key source of help to the government and his testimony helped lead to the conviction of at least 20 others. The sentence handed down by federal Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle was four months less than requested by the prosecution, taking into account Scanlon's "extraordinary and extensive" cooperation, Huvelle said.

Still to be hammered out are the details of how Scanlon will pay more than $20 million in restitution to the tribes as required by his plea agreement. Scanlon and Abramoff are both on the hook to repay the kickbacks Abramoff got from Scanlon's grass-roots advocacy shop, Capitol Campaign Strategies.

Abramoff's former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, has already repaid the bulk of the ill-gotten fees to his former clients. Scanlon's legal team has argued it's "an open question . . . whether a potentially responsible party (like Greenberg Traurig) is entitled to reimbursement . . . or whether such reimbursement is reserved for uninvolved and innocent third-parties (like insurance companies)," according to a recent court filing.

Greenberg Traurig is currently in mediation with its insurers, which have refused to pay Abramoff-related claims.

It's back to school for Milbank Associates

The New York law firm Milbank announced last week that its associates will all attend a newly developed professional-development program at Harvard Law School during their third through seventh years at the firm.

Milbank, which has roughly 40 attorneys here in the District, says associates will spend eight days each year at Harvard studying business, finance, client relations and management skills in classes taught by Milbank partners and the university's law and business faculty.

Patton Boggs launches infrastructure group

The law firm Patton Boggs has established a new practice group that focuses on infrastructure and private capital.

The group will be headed by partners Jay Tannon in the District and Richard Ornitz in New York. Both lawyers joined Patton Boggs at the end of last year from DLA Piper, where Ornitz chaired a similar infrastructure practice group. The team will be rounded out by partners Patricia Kovacevic and Thomas Reems; Senior Adviser Mathew Garver; and Project Manager John Arrington. Policy Adviser Vicki Cram, who joined the firm in January, will also assist.

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