- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Snake’ woman

Earlier this year, she published her memoir. She’s not finished. Former Secretary of State MadeleineK. Albright is working not only on another book, but two.

And give former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein the credit for providing her inspiration.

“I love jewelry, and [the book] is going to be on my collection of brooches,” Mrs. Albright tells Aspen magazine. “I thought it would be fun to write about why I wore them. The attention to my pin collection started when Saddam Hussein called me a snake.”

You don’t say?

“I happened to have a snake pin,” she continues, “and I wore it while doing an interview with CNN. On air, I was asked why I was wearing a snake pin, and I said, ‘Because Saddam Hussein has just called me a snake.’ Soon after that, it seemed like the whole world watched what brooches I would wear as some kind of signal, a sort of international reading of the tea leaves.”

The other book, which arrives in bookstores in May, is a more serious and timely tome — “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs.” It deals with the difficulty of conducting traditional foreign policy in this new age of religious fanaticism.

Black and white

Ron Christie, former special assistant to President Bush and deputy assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Dick Cheney, has come up with a unique title for his new book — “Black in the White House.”

Now in private law practice in Washington, Mr. Christie says he provides an unabashed look into personalities and policies of the Bush White House, during what were some of the most difficult years in recent American history.

“I was fortunate enough to witness the administration in action, how everyone was affected by the attacks of September 11, and the true story behind media accounts of a White House solely focused on Iraq,” he says.

In particular, he writes about working directly with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney to create policies to assist minorities. A former counsel to Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, Mr. Christie lectures today on ways that one person can be a force for positive change in his or her community.

Country’s counsel

Grab the candles: Legal powerhouse Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington office is 75 years old.

Indeed, Herbert Hoover was president when trolley cars rattled past the law firm’s un-air-conditioned offices in the old National Press Building, where Louis G. Caldwell, first general counsel of the Federal Radio Commission, the predecessor to the FCC, joined the firm and set up shop.

Then in 1938, Hammond Chaffetz, recruited by Supreme Court Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Justice Department, signed up with Kirkland.

Now, three-quarters of a century later, the firm has moved one block to Metropolitan Square, with a priceless view of the White House and a roster of 150 lawyers. Many today still do stints in top-level administration jobs, both Democrat and Republican (the current crop includes U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and Jeff Rosen, general counsel of the Department of Transportation.)

Perhaps the best-known alumnus, Kenneth W. Starr, is dean of the Pepperdine University Law School.

“We think Caldwell and Chaffetz would be happy to see what we’ve built here in terms of a tradition of excellence,” says Thomas Yannucci, chairman of Kirkland & Ellis’ firm-wide management committee.

Katrina’s fellows

Described as “a legal Peace Corps,” the law firm Skadden Arps has just selected 29 Skadden Fellows for its class of 2006, several of whom will head south to assist people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Each fellow in the two-year program will receive a salary through the Skadden Fellowship Foundation and work full time for legal and advocacy organizations. The average fellow, according to the firm, is a graduating law student who wishes to provide legal services to the poor and disabled, as well as those deprived of civil and human rights.

Robert C. Sheehan, executive partner of Skadden Arps, finds it worth noting that “90 percent of past fellows have remained in the nonprofit field and continue their commitment to the fellowship program’s mission.”

The new class brings to 473 the number of law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded as fellows since 1988.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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