Former White House special counsel Jonathan Su will join Latham & Watkins as a white-collar defense litigator after a two-year stint in the Obama administration.
Su advised the administration on congressional investigations, including the revelation that Secret Service agents hired prostitutes during a 2012 presidential trip to Colombia. Su also worked on legal issues that arose from the congressional investigation of U.S. General Services Administration spending on conferences.
Su worked on litigation that directly involved the White House, including the unresolved and politically contentious suit over the administration’s claims of executive privilege in the dispute over Operation Fast and Furious documents. Su got involved after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sued Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to obtain certain documents about the controversial gun-smuggling operation.
Su, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland for more than five years, had his eyes on returning to Latham. He had been an associate at the firm and gained a mentor in Douglas Greenburg, vice chairman of the firm’s global litigation department.
“It was a personal decision for me that after two years I’d handled a number of significant matters that it was the right time for me to make a change,” Su said in an interview.
His departure from the White House comes amid turnover in legal advisers in the administration. Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House counsel, intends to return to private practice this spring. Ruemmler hasn’t announced where she intends to work.
Danielle Gray, who left the White House in January as Obama’s chief liaison to his cabinet, will split her time between O’Melveny’s offices in New York and Washington starting in May. Karen Dunn, a former associate White House counsel, joined Boies, Schiller & Flexner as a partner in February. Former White House adviser Ed Pagano in March joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby Congress on issues that include immigration and patent reform.
Su will focus on counseling clients on compliance programs and policies to avoid government investigations. He also intends to conduct internal investigations for companies and represent them before the U.S. Department of Justice and regulatory agencies.
“When I was going to leave the White House, I really didn’t consider any other firm because I knew that this was the place and a group of people, and a group of friends really, that I wanted to work with,” Su said.
Ruemmler, who previously worked at Latham, said in a written statement that Su has “great judgment, skill, and finesse and—on top of all that—is a wonderful colleague.”
“Jonathan is an incredibly smart and talented lawyer who I trusted to handle some of the most sensitive matters in the White House,” Ruemmler said.