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Leigh-Alexandra Basha

Partner  |  McDermott Will & Emery

Washington, DC


What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

My recent highlight was attending the oral arguments for North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, 588 U.S. __ (June 21, 2019) at the United States Supreme Court. While the case addressed a narrow issue of whether North Carolina violated the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause by taxing trust income that had not been distributed to NC beneficiaries solely on the basis that those beneficiaries lived in NC, the fascinating aspect was hearing the justices’ questions counsel for both sides and observing their interactions among themselves. For example, when Justice Ginsberg asked a question, another justice stopped in the middle of his line of questioning to defer to Justice Ginsberg who has seniority on the Court. Some justices asked questions that made it clear they understood how trusts work while others seemed less familiar with trusts. While Justice Thomas never asked a question, he did have side conversations with Justice Breyer. I think every U.S. lawyer should sit through oral arguments at the SCOTUS to have a better understanding of how the process works and better understand the justices who make decisions that affect us all.

What advice would you give rising stars/new lawyers in the private client world?

Be responsive to clients, advisors, other professionals, and staff alike. Listen to your clients, hear what they have to say, and learn from them.

What is your favourite quote?

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way” (Napoleon Hill).