The National Law Journal this week honors champions, visionaries and pioneers in the Washington bar who have enhanced the legal community during the past year. The champions are the lawyers who have upheld the profession's core values, and visionaries applied business or legal acumen to expand their firm, improve government or advance the law. The pioneers are those lawyers who passed away in the past year but who leave a lasting legacy. "We believe this list represents the best of Washington law: the public-mindedness that pushes the law to greater heights and the clever strategizing that makes the nation's capital a leader in legal business," NLJ's editor-in-chief, David L. Brown, said.
In three articles, The National Law Journal explores the road ahead for Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, tapped to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. The NLJ's Chief Washington correspondent, Marcia Coyle, looks at some of the questions Sotomayor is expected to receive at her confirmation hearing. Questions about judicial activism are likely. Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro examines the handful of times where the Supreme Court has reversed Sotomayor, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. "Reversal is a common if sometimes painful part of life for appellate judges, but rarely has it been scrutinized so closely as last week," Mauro writes. NLJ staff writer David Ingram delves into the life of "sherpas"—shepherds or chaperones, if you prefer—who guide Supreme Court nominees up the mountain of Senate confirmation.
Jeffrey Taylor, the interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia for more than two years, resigned his post last week to join Ernst & Young's Washington office, Joe Palazzolo reports. Sources say seven lawyers have applied for the post. Among the applicants: Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy Austin Jr., Nixon Peabody partner Anjali Chaturvedi, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Ron Machen, Wheat Wu partner Shanlon Wu and Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips.
Lawyers closely following the government's civil racketeering case against the tobacco industry are digesting the federal appellate court ruling finding major cigarette manufacturers liable for conspiring to dupe American smokers about the addictiveness of smoking, NLJ staff writer Mike Scarcella reports. All eyes are on the Supreme Court now as lawyers expect certiorari petitions from both sides of the dispute—one of the largest civil RICO cases the Justice Department has brought.