Friday, November 12, 2004

DC FIRMS START FREE-AGENCY DRAFTING OF ADMINISTRATION DEPARTURES: The revolving door between the government and private practice keeps turning, and with that in mind Legal Times asked a number of recruiters and lawyers at D.C.-area law firms who they consider to be the hottest hires and the biggest "gets" among lawyers who may be leaving the administration. Moving between the government and private practice can promise a big payday for upper-level administration officials. Big names can trade their policy experience and their government contacts for up to six times their government salary.

The intellectual property area has seen a number of high-profile officials join private firms in recent months. Just last month, Stephen Kunin, deputy commissioner of patent examination policy at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, joined the Alexandria, Va., patent boutique Oblon, Spivak, McCelland, Maier & Neustadt. And in January, James Rogan, the former director of the PTO, rejoined his old firm, Venable. That leaves Jon Dudas, Rogan's replacement, as the most attractive candidate available, according to recruiters, but there is little chance he will move on since he has only been in the position since June 2004.

Asked for comment, Dudas would only say that he is honored that people thought of him. "I can think of a number of IP firms, especially those with strong trademark and copyright practices, that would fight for Jon Dudas," says one recruiter. Another name mentioned is Deputy Secretary of Commerce Ted Kassinger. Kassinger focused his practice on international trade and transnational dispute resolution at Vinson & Elkins prior to joining the administration. However, he too was appointed to his current position only a few months ago.

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