Some of you have wondered about the delay in choosing finalists for the ATL Caption Contest. We did not forget about it; we just wanted to save a little Easter for April, the proper month for the holiday. Easter in March is just plain wrong.
As a refresher, this is the photo of President Bush and his White House Counsel — Fred Fielding, former senior partner at Wiley Rein (fka Wiley Rein & Fielding), dressed up as the Easter Bunny — at the White House Easter Egg Roll last month. Without further ado, out of 200 comments, these are our ten finalists. [FN1] A. “I left a firm with over $4 million in PPP to do THIS???” -Anonymous B. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare discuss the legality of waterboarding the Dormouse. -Klerk C. “Mr. President, I wanted to let you know that I put the last of those White House e-mails down the rabbit hole.” -Anonymous D. Yeah, well, nobody wants to be the guy that told the POTUS there is no Easter Bunny and Cheney said that if I play along I’ll get a Supreme Court nomination. Hey, whatever happened with that Harriet woman? -Anonymous E. I dressed up in this bunny suit and all I got was a feature on ATL. -Anonymous F. After ignoring the rule of law for seven years, President Bush finally found a use for the White House Counsel. -Anonymous G. “Someone please tell me that’s not a wombat behind me.” -Anonymous H. I guess that answers the question of whether its better to get a JD or an MBA. -Anonymous I. Fred (thinking): “That f-n headhunter promised me I would be supporting the President on matters of national importance. G-d D-MN it!” -Anonymous J. George: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Bunny: Why do you wear that stupid man suit? -133t
We invite you to vote for the winner after the jump. Poll closes at midnight tomorrow.
[FN1] There were many funny comments, but we exercised a bias in favor of those with a legal connection. Earlier:ATL Caption Contest: Mr. Easter Bunny, White House Counsel Fred Fielding The rabbit behind the man: White House counsel Fred Fielding [Washington Post]
Here’s a photo of President Bush and his White House Counsel — Fred Fielding, former senior partner at Wiley Rein (fka Wiley Rein & Fielding), dressed up as the Easter Bunny — at the White House Easter Egg Roll earlier this week:
Quips our tipster: “One can only hope Fielding isn’t splitting hares. Or giving hare-brained advice.”
Okay, you’re groaning. Think you can do better? Then enter the ATL caption contest. Same rules as before:
We welcome your suggested alternative captions, in the comments. Assuming sufficient response, we’ll take our favorites, incorporate them into a poll, and hold a caption contest.
We doubt we’ll receive as many submissions as we did for our last caption contest. But we’re going to limit the entries this time: we’re closing the comments if and when we hit the 100-comment mark. So if you’d like to enter the contest, don’t delay. Thanks. Update (2 PM): Okay, we’ll let it get up to 200 comments. We especially appreciate suggested captions that are in some way law-related. What makes this picture relevant to ATL is the fact that the man in the bunny suit is President Bush’s chief lawyer (and a former name partner of a leading D.C. law firm).
If we just wanted to post a random, funny photo of the president with the Easter bunny, we would have used this one. Update (4:50 PM): You seem to be having a lot of fun with this, so we will keep the comments open indefinitely. But in picking the finalists, we will focus on comments that have a connection to the legal profession (as opposed to comments that are more politically oriented or simply random). Update (3/31/08): Thanks for all the excellent entries. The comments section is now closed. The rabbit behind the man: White House counsel Fred Fielding [Washington Post] Bush Hugging Bunny [Wonkette]
Lawyers are living large, not just in Miami and New York, but in Washington, too.
The Luxury Homes column, in the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, features the recent real estate purchases of two prominent lawyers. First up: political and legal commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a pretty amazing resume (UVA Law, Clarence Thomas clerkship, Skadden), especially by radio personality standards:
Conservative pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham sold a three-bedroom, four-bath Colonial rowhouse on 28th Street in Woodley Park for $1.3 million. Built in 1922, the renovated home has an in-law suite, two kitchens, and a skylit master bedroom. The Laura Ingraham Show is broadcast on 340 radio stations nationwide.
Very nice. Next up: another conservative legal celebrity, Fred Fielding:
White House counsel Fred Fielding and his wife, Maria, sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Colonial in Arlington’s Country Club Hills for $1.8 million. The house has embassy-size entertaining rooms. Before joining the Bush administration in January, Fielding was a senior partner at Wiley Rein (formerly Wiley Rein & Fielding).
Despite the “embassy-size entertaining rooms,” a sub-$2 million house seems a tad underwhelming, especially for a former name partner of 2006′s most profitable law firm. Are the Fieldings trading up to bigger digs?
Using a combination of internet resources, we tracked down what we believe to be the houses in question, on Zillow. You can check out the listings, with pics, after the jump.
Some hiring news from the White House counsel’s office, via the WSJ Law Blog:
Though many of these White House hires have been reported already elsewhere, its press office issued an official release — dateline “Rostock, Germany” — announcing nine lawyers White House Counsel Fred Fielding has added to his “great little law firm.”
President Bush has named J. Michael Farren, former general counsel of Xerox, to succeed William Kelley as deputy counsel. Kelley is returning to Notre Dame University later this month. Farren has long ties to the Bush family. He served in various roles under Bush I.
New special counsels are William Burck, who’s returned to the White House from the DOJ, and Emmet Flood, who comes from Williams & Connolly. The six new associate counsels are Kate Todd (pictured), Amy Dunathan and Al Lambert, all from Fielding’s old firm, now called Wiley Rein (it dropped the Fielding); Scott Coffina, formerly a partner at Montgomery McCracken in Philly; Francis Hoang, an associate at Williams & Connolly and Michael Purpura, a top aide to deputy AG Paul McNulty. McNulty resigned amid the controversy over the firing of U.S. Attorneys.
A fun factoid: France Hoang is one of D.C.’s most eligible bachelors, according to Washingtonian magazine. And he snagged that honor even before landing the coveted credential of a White House perch.
Fred Fielding, the former name partner of Wiley Rein & Fielding who is now settling in as White House counsel (for the second time), has brought in some reinforcements. They come from his former shop, Wiley Rein & Fielding (now known simply as Wiley Rein).
Three former Wiley Rein-sters, a partner and two associates, are joining Fielding over at the White House. They are:
1. Kate Comerford Todd (top right). This brilliant and beautiful member of the Elect (OT 2000/Thomas), whose husband is a current Supreme Court clerk (OT 2006/Alito), was a highly regarded young litigation partner at Wiley Rein.
Now Kate Todd is moving over to the White House. We’re uncertain of her seniority level over there (deputy level?). If you know, please enlighten us.
2. Amy Dunathan. Comerford will be joined by the similarly delicious Amy Dunathan (at right). Dunathan worked on the Hill before going to law school, so she’s a smart pick, given that the White House will be tangling quite a bit with the ascendant Democrats. She worked directly with Fielding on several projects during her time as a Wiley Rein associate.
3. Al Lambert. Lambert, also a former associate at Wiley Rein, brings a significant amount of experience in white-collar investigatory work — which will come in handy at the White House nowadays. Lambert worked extensively on the David Safavian case, as well as other white-collar matters.
Congratulations and good luck to Comerford, Dunathan, and Lambert!
P.S. We can’t find a photo of Al Lambert, which is why we don’t engage in any lip-smacking over him. Kathryn Comerford Todd bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache] Amy F. Dunathan bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache] Judge Throws Out Jury Verdict in Iraq Fraud Case [Wiley Rein]
* Over at the Justice Department, the bad-ass Shanetta Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, takes no prisoners.
* Not even summer interns can escape her wrath.
* But hey, at least they get to go back to school. Full-time attorneys can escape only by leaving the Section — provided that Shanetta doesn’t get to them first.
* Speaking of job changes, meet your new White House counsel: Fred Fielding, of Wiley Rein & Fielding (who served as White House counsel under President Reagan).
* Next time you go out for pizza, leave the corporate lawyers at home.
* Pentagon official Charles Stimson doesn’t like how Guantanamo Bay detainees are getting pro bono representation from some of the country’s top law firms. Don’t they have better things to be doing with their pro bono time?
* Michael Nifong manages a Houdini-like escape from the debacle known as the Duke lacrosse team rape case.
* Celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, whom you have just dubbed Feldsuk, have a really nice house.
* But not as nice as the $7 million mansion of patent lawyer Donald Stout (aerial view at right).
* Federal judicial nominees: Out with the old, in with the new.
* Chief Judge Michael Boudin (1st Cir.): You like him, you really like him.
* Maybe it’s because he’s such a big feeder judge. Interestingly enough, though, he has only placed one clerk so far at the Supreme Court for October Term 2007.*
(But Chief Judge Boudin feeds mostly to Justice Breyer and Justice Souter. The former isn’t finished hiring yet, and the latter hasn’t even started.)
Fred Fielding, the incoming White House counsel, did pretty well for himself when the Blackberry litigation was settled. His firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, represented NTP, the patent holding company that won a $612.5 million settlement from Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry. Wiley Rein took the case on a contingency-fee basis. Ka-ching!
But some people did even better than Fielding — like Donald Stout (at right), patent lawyer to the late inventor, Thomas Campana. Here’s an explanation of how the Blackberry spoils were divvied up:
Biggest single winner was Joletta Campana, widowed second wife and former secretary of patent-holder Thomas Campana Jr., who received one-third [of the $612.5 million,] or about $200 million. Wiley, Rein & Fielding also received $200 million, a huge sum given that in 2004 the Washington, D.C. firm’s two hundred and fifty lawyers generated about $140 million in total revenue. The final $200 million was shared by Donald Stout and some colleagues at his Alexandria-based law firm.
So how did Donald Stout spend his windfall? On real estate, of course. From Washingtonian magazine, via Wonkette, here’s an account of “The Stouthouse”:
Lawyer Donald Stout put up $6.8 million for a 15,000 square-foot Georgian on more than four acres near the Madeira School in Great Falls, VA — this after his Arlington patent-holding firm won a settlement against the makers of BlackBerry and earned him $177 million. HGTV’s Dream Builders featured the six-bedroom, ten-bath house in a segment taped before the sale.
WOW. This place makes the Feldsuk house look like a law school dorm. At a Tier 4 school.
For those of you who share our obsession with high-end real estate, there’s more discussion of The Stouthouse, plus links, after the jump.
We previously wrote about President Bush’s selection of Fred Fielding as his new White House counsel. Our coverage was based on a pre-announcement scoop by Time, not an actual announcement from the White House.
Just to close the loop on this, the rumor was correct: Fielding’s selection is now official. Here’s the (predictably bland) White House press release.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Fielding’s agreement to take the job surprised some of his closest friends. The friends said last week, when his name surfaced as a contender for the position, that they would be surprised if he would give up a successful corporate practice for another stint of what promises to be heavy partisan battle at age 67.
Mr. Fielding was deputy counsel to President Richard M. Nixon under John W. Dean III and was White House counsel for the first five years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Further discussion, plus speculation about the next Deputy White House Counsel, after the jump.
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