President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration is still two days away. But some D.C. law offices have already started celebrating.
Saturday night, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal held an inauguration reception at The Phillips Collection in Washington. About 100 people showed up for the evening cocktail affair. On Tuesday morning, Sonnenschein will continue celebrating - hosting a breakfast for its clients in its D.C. office on K Street.
Some Sonnenschein lawyers in attendance Saturday night included Joseph Andrew (left), the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Mike McNamara, the chair of the firm's public law and policy practice, and Elliott Portnoy (right), the firm's chairman. So far, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has reported that Sonnenschein lawyers have donated $4,250 to the inauguration.
Other members of the D.C. legal community, outside of Sonnenschein, made it to the firm's event last night. Gary Klein, a legal recruiter and consultant with Klein Landau & Romm, was in attendance, as was Federal Energy Regulatory Commission commissioner Suedeen Kelly. At least two people brought some international flavor as both Arturo Sarukhán, the current ambassador of Mexico to the United States, and Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón, a former U.S. ambassador to Chile (and now a senior adviser with Sonnenschein) were in attendance.
Portnoy, 43, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1992 – a year after Obama graduated. Portnoy says he didn't know the president-elect while in Cambridge, Mass., but after graduation Portnoy says he helped with an event for the Illinois Senate and, over time, has come to know Obama. (Portnoy adds that "you could tell, even back then, he was a very gifted orator.")
Portnoy's wife Estee was also in attendance. In addition to being the wife of Sonnenschein's youngest chairman, she handles former NBA-star Michael Jordan's daily marketing and business matters. Elliott says,"She has the fun job."