22. Andrew Tulumello, 36. He has investigated war criminals for prosecution at The Hague and is at the center of efforts to use international law to resolve world conflicts. He was inspired to study law by Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, and he spent a year after graduation working with human-rights lawyers in Kenya to legalize opposition political parties. While there, Tulumello decided to go back to Harvard Law School.
After law school Tulumello taught briefly at Harvard, then spent a year in the prosecutor’s office at The Hague investigating war crimes in Bosnia. Back in this country, he became an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he worked as many as 300 hours a month for six years to become a partner, which he did in 2005.
Now he is one of the firm’s brightest stars, representing such clients as General Mills in litigation and settlements at the Securities and Exchange Commission. His love is still conflict resolution; in 2000 he shared a prize with several coauthors for a book on the topic. But most of the conflict he follows off the job involves baseball, especially the Nats.
23. David M. Gossett, 37. His father, Philip, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, won the $1.5-million Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award for his expertise on Italian opera. His mother, a Shakespeare scholar at Loyola University of Chicago, edited the version of Pericles performed here recently by the Shakespeare Theatre. Tough acts to follow? Their son David argued his first Supreme Court case at the age of 34. And won.
Gossett attended Oregon’s Reed College, then earned a master’s in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He went to law school at the University of Chicago, hoping it would give him a better opportunity to change the “real world.” After graduation and clerking for appeals-court judge Diane Wood, he spent a year and a half in the civil division of the Department of Justice, then moved to Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, a firm he says is filled with “nerdy academics at heart.” He recently argued a high-profile immigration case that may determine the ability of thousands of illegal aliens with American spouses or children to stay in the United States. No decision has yet been rendered.
The firm has one of the top Supreme Court practices, and Gossett is well on his way to fulfilling his dream, one Supreme Court case at a time.
24. Thomas Dupree, 36. The son of an MIT physics-professor dad and a Harvard astrophysicist mom, Dupree was attracted to journalism and edited the Williams College Record. After college he moved to Washington, where he was hired to be stat man for a Washington Bullets team that once generated three-point baskets from Rex Chapman and Tom Gugliotta.
Dupree then signed on with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey, sticking to the end of her bitter election fight in 1994 against Parris Glendening before enrolling at the University of Chicago Law School. After a clerkship with an appellate judge, Dupree was hired by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
He’d barely settled in before he was helping senior partner Ted Olson in the election case Bush v. Gore. Since then Dupree has been counsel or lead counsel in personal-injury appeals for Ford and DaimlerChrysler. Last year he wrote key briefs on behalf of Time reporter Matthew Cooper in the investigation into who leaked the identity of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Dupree is married to Elizabeth Van Orman, an All-American squash player at Princeton who is developing a program that integrates academics with squash for underprivileged kids. Dupree avoids the squash court; he’s likely to be found waiting outside, deep into Dickens, while his wife plays.
25. Savalle Sims, 36. This Washington native’s mother was a prekindergarten teacher, her father a general manager for New York Life Insurance. She grew up in Silver Spring and attended Springbrook High before heading to Syracuse University to study marketing and transportation distribution management. In her junior year she got inspired to study law by overdosing on Perry Mason reruns.
“I was always interested in medicine,” she says. “Then it occurred to me I could impact society in another way, through law.”
After law at Notre Dame, Sims clerked for Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Fairfax before taking a job as a divorce attorney with Feldesman Tucker, where she became a protÃ©gÃ© of Rita Bank, one of Washington’s most sought-after female divorce lawyers. Bank found her protÃ©gÃ© to be “magical, lovely, and smart.”
But divorce law proved too narrow for Sims, who moved to Arent Fox, a broader-based Washington firm, in September 2000. There she has developed into a star of corporate litigation, especially in the breach-of-contract and intellectual-property fields. Sims still keeps a finger in divorce and domestic-relations work, mostly on a pro bono basis, though Bank—now a name partner in her own firm, Ain & Bank—says she would still love to get her back.
26 and 27. Jodi Trulove, 35, and Eric Delinsky, 36. The five-foot-three Trulove met the six-foot-three Delinsky at Georgetown University Law Center. She’s a rising star at Dickstein Shapiro. He has a burgeoning white-collar practice at Zuckerman Spaeder. They are the ultimate young-lawyer couple, proving that opposites attract.
Trulove grew up in West Point, Mississippi, where her father sold caskets. “People died to meet him,” she quips. She left home at the age of 13 to train under legendary Olympics gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi. She didn’t make the Olympics but has scored big points at Dickstein, where she recently played a key role in a multimillion-dollar price-fixing case involving the vitamin industry. She has also represented Reagan assailant John Hinckley in his successful efforts to get more time away from St. Elizabeths.
A third-generation attorney from Boston, Delinsky spent his childhood watching his father try cases, including some high-profile public-corruption cases. His mother is Barbara Delinsky, author of 21 novels, including Looking for Peyton Place. Delinsky is following his father in representing indicted judges and federal officials in corruption cases.
Delinsky and Trulove have yet to meet in court, but if the day comes, say friends of both, a stalemate is likely. The couple has two-year-old twins and a six-month-old, but Trulove says if there is one thing she learned training for the Olympics, it’s to be flexible.
28. Seth Rosenthal, 39. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Rosenthal attributes his interest in civil rights to his experiences playing on one of the few integrated high-school sports teams in northeast Ohio.
In his first summer in law school, Rosenthal worked on the eventual exoneration of Walter McMillan, an Alabaman who had spent six years on death row after being wrongly convicted of killing a teenager. After law school and a fellowship, Rosenthal took a job in the housing and civil-enforcement section of the Department of Justice’s civil-rights division. His work suing landlords in Arkansas and Mississippi brought him to the attention of DC’s Alliance for Justice, a liberal lobbying group founded by legal legend Nan Aron, and he became its legal director. Rosenthal also works with the Anne Frank House, a nonprofit that provides housing for homeless mentally ill people.
29. Rachel Brand, 33. One of the most influential figures in the Justice Department, Brand is an Iowa girl turned Harvard lawyer. She became known to many Americans during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito by comforting Alito’s wife when she broke into tears. “A lot of people called, and my high-school paper wrote a story about me,” Brand recalls. “Of course, then there were others who accused me of telling her to cry, which was absurd.”
Brand is the model of the young attorney. She came to Washington to work for constitutional-law guru Charles Cooper. In the 2000 election stalemate, Cooper assigned Brand to Tallahassee for three weeks to represent George W. Bush.
“I knew someone that talented would be discovered and I would lose her,” he says. Sure enough, after the election Brand went to work, at age 27, for the White House counsel’s office. She left that job to become a clerk for Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy. From there she landed at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy and after two years as principal deputy was named head of the office. She is a principal policymaker, not just in the selection of judges but also in improving counterterrorism, developing immigration-reform strategies, and fighting drug abuse.
Brand lives in Arlington with husband Jonathan Cohn, a deputy assistant attorney general in the civil division. Of Brand’s future, Cooper says, “Somehow it wouldn’t surprise me to be arguing a case before Judge Brand—and not that far in the future.”
30. Brigida Benitez, 37. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Benitez grew up in Miami, where her father was an aviation mechanic and her mother a homemaker. In high school, Benitez seemed headed for journalism. But at the University of Florida, she became interested in criminal justice and headed to Boston College to study law. She managed to satisfy both her aspirations by becoming editor of the BC law review. Internships brought her to Washington, and she was hired as an associate by Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, now WilmerHale.
Three years later, Benitez was thrown into the middle of the noted affirmative-action case about whether the University of Michigan could reject white applicants in favor of minorities. Her work lasted six years and brought her into contact with such Supreme Court stars as John Payton and Maureen Mahoney. Eventually the side Benitez worked for, the University of Michigan, won the 5–4 decision that ratified the value of diversity in college admissions.
Benitez, who lives in McLean, has worked on projects to provide free legal aid to non-English-speakers and served as president of DC’s Hispanic Bar Association.