Jamie Gorelick

What are the differences between Washington lawyers and New York lawyers? One broad generalization — crude, but largely accurate — is that D.C. attorneys are all about power and prestige, and NYC attorneys are all about money.

It’s certainly true that, in the Biglaw world, New York-based law firms generally enjoy higher profits per partner than Washington-based firms. But D.C. attorneys aren’t doing too badly for themselves.

The latest issue of Washingtonian magazine, available now on newsstands, is the salary survey issue. It’s all about who makes what in the D.C. metro area, from the president to police officers to pediatricians.

And given the proliferation of lawyers in the nation’s capital, there’s a whole section on lawyers and judges. Thankfully for us, Washingtonian has made this portion available online….

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Jamie Gorelick is a Washington D.C. power lawyer. She’s a former Deputy Attorney General, former general counsel to the Defense Department, and current partner at WilmerHale, where she chairs the national security and public policy practice groups. She’s had — and continues to have — an amazing career.

But does she really want to be the legal face of the BP disaster?

Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick will head the legal team for British oil giant BP PLC as it prepares to respond to legal challenges related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwire reported Wednesday.

“We have been retained to help the company respond to the numerous congressional inquiries that are underway,” Gorelick, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said in an e-mail to Greenwire. “We have not been retained to advocate for any position.”

Does WilmerHale really want this? Yesterday, the Daily News called BP’s CEO Tony Hayward the most hated man in America — and the headline was probably an understatement. There’s a new Facebook group entitled I vote we plug the Gulf oil leak with BP executives.

Do Gorelick and WilmerHale really want to be the lawyers for his company? Isn’t there some white-baby-killing, terrorist Nazi out there who would make for a more sympathetic client right now?

Oh, but the fees, the fees…

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hillary clinton is magnificent.jpgWith the 2008 presidential campaign dominating the airwaves, despite being over a year away, everyone is talking about politics (and watching awesome, politically-themed music videos). Here’s a question that a law student posed to us:

Are there differences between the politics of firms, roughly distinguishing between liberal and conservative, or are they all pretty much the same? How can a student figure out the political leanings of a particular firm?

The only source of information I’ve found so far is to research donations to presidential candidates.

Interesting. We’d say that many firms, especially in New York, are “pretty much the same” — money knows no political distinctions. But here in D.C., it’s more common for firms to lean one way or the other.
One way to figure out a firm’s political valence is to look into the former government service of its lawyers (especially high-powered partners). This method would suggest to you that WilmerHale, home of the diva-licious Jamie Gorelick, is left of center, while Gibson Dunn, home of Ted Olson, is right of center.
As our correspondent notes, campaign contributions also shed light on the political leanings of a law firm. On that subject, Lindsay Fortado of Bloomberg News has this interesting article. Here’s something that surprised us:

Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that’s home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined.

Kirkland, based in Chicago, is one of several corporate law firms that traditionally backed Republicans where lawyers are turning to Democratic candidates….

With respect to K&E, though, we’d guess that this varies from office to office. The Washington outpost of Kirkland, which is stocked with tons of former Scalia and Thomas clerks, is probably not funneling massive cash to La Hillary.
Which way does your firm lean? Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.
Kenneth Starr’s Law Firm Gives More Money to Clinton [Bloomberg]