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When the Firm Hates Your Client

Peripatetic lawyer Abbe Lowell has left the DC office of New York’s Chadbourne & Parke to become head of the white-collar practice at McDermott Will & Emery.

Lowell had spent time at his own firm, Brand & Lowell, and later with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm founded by former Democratic National Committee chair Charles Manatt. McDermott Will is his fourth firm in a world where such moves are not all that common.

Lowell has represented two high-profile and unpopular clients in recent years. He advised former California congressman Gary Condit after the disappearance of Capitol Hill intern Chandra Levy in 2001. For the last several years he guided lobbyist Jack Abramoff through a series of guilty pleas that has landed his client in federal prison.

Not all of Lowell’s Chadbourne partners viewed the Abramoff connection with sympathy. But the parting was mutual. Sources say Lowell did not feel Chadbourne was producing enough business for him.

McDermott Will has had an active white-collar representation, especially since GOP-oriented lawyer Bobby Burchfield went there from Covington & Burling.

Burchfield represented former House majority leader Tom DeLay before he was indicted. In recent weeks, Burchfield has surfaced as the attorney for the Giuliani for President campaign committee.

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