Robert Spagnoletti, a Schertler & Onorato partner and former District of Columbia attorney general, will soon be CEO of the D.C Bar.
Robert Spagnoletti, a Schertler & Onorato partner and former District of Columbia attorney general, will soon be CEO of the D.C Bar. (Courtesy photo)

 

Washington Wrap is a weekly roundup of Big Law hires and other Washington, D.C., legal industry news. Send tips and lateral moves to Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com.

White House and agency transitions may have supercharged D.C.’s lateral market this year, but this spring brings another notable transition beyond the federal government and Big Law.  

On May 1, Katherine Mazzaferri will step down as chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Bar after 35 years. Taking her place is a name most will recognize: Robert Spagnoletti, the former D.C. attorney general.

“We have a new time period, a new era, new ways of practicing laws,” Spagnoletti said. “I was interesting in the position of CEO because of all this opportunity that was there.”

Spagnoletti will manage an annual budget of more than $30 million. With 100,000 lawyers as members—from Supreme Court justices to recent law school grads—it’s one of the largest bars in the country.

He’ll also have to hire and orient a new administrative team within the organization. The bar is looking for new heads of IT, programs and a COO. Rebecca Troth is the new head of the Pro Bono Center.

“The good thing about the D.C. bar is it does so many things extraordinarily well. It’s operationally efficient. It’s got great staff. That being said, we’re in the middle of a great change in terms of the legal profession locally,” Spagnoletti said.

He said it’s too early to say whether he would usher in major changes to the operations or mission of the organization.

Earlier in his career, Spagnoletti, now 54, worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and then a small law firm in Texas that became part of Andrews Kurth. He joined the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. and worked on sex offense and domestic violence cases, before then-D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams appointed him corporation counsel in 2003. Spagnoletti helped to change the office’s name to attorney general—which, many years later, put the office one step closer to becoming an independent elected role, rather than an appointed position.

He also served as the D.C. bar’s elected president from 2008 to 2009. During that time, a lease expired on the organization’s offices and it decided it would be best to own its property. “The bar is going around for 40-plus years, and we’ve always leased space. It didn’t make a lot of sense,” Spagnoletti said.

So a $70 million, 100,000-square-foot building is now being built at 901 4th St. NW in downtown D.C. The bar plans to move there in early 2018.

Spagnoletti has been a partner at the litigation boutique Schertler & Onorato since 2006. His last day at the firm is April 14.

While he’ll miss his colleagues, he says he’s looking forward to giving up billing hours. “It’s a necessary evil depending on what kind of practice you’re in. It infects the rest of your life,” he said.

More lateral moves:

•  Broderick Johnson, President Barack Obama’s former cabinet secretary and a top White House lawyer, returns to Bryan Cave in Washington on Monday. He previously was at the firm from 2007 to 2011, when he led the lobbying group and was on the firm’s executive committee. He is chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative to support young black men that started during the Obama presidency.

 •  Andrew Gantt III moves to Venable’s Washington office and will co-chair its health care practice. He previously was a partner at Cooley, and before that, at Latham & Watkins.

 •  Creighton Macy moves from the Department of Justice’s antitrust division to Baker & McKenzie’s antitrust practice as a partner in D.C. He had served as the division’s chief of staff last year. Previously, he worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

 •  Steven Barringer, a mining law specialist, joins Greenberg Traurig’s lobbying and environmental groups as a shareholder in Washington. He previously was at Holland & Hart.

 •  Allison Wils joins the Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies firm, and will be a counsel at the law firm in Washington. She previously directed health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, and her main area of interest is in her Twitter handle: @Wils_Telehealth.

 •  Jenner & Block picked up a three-partner aviation and aerospace group, a new practice for the firm, last week. Its leaders are Thomas Newton Bolling and Abby Bried, who both came from United Airlines, and Marc Warren, who vacated the same practice head slot at Crowell & Moring. While Bolling and Warren will base out of D.C., Bried is in the Chicago office.

In other industry news:

 •  As investigations heat up surrounding the Trump White House’s relationship with Russia, the various players have lawyered up. Robert Kelner of Covington & Burling represents former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is seeking immunity in exchange for his testimony about the campaign and Russia. David O’Neil, a former criminal division head and Debevoise & Plimpton partner, represents former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. And Kenneth Wainstein, of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, represents former CIA Director John Brennan.

 •  There’s a new government contracts law firm in Washington: Nichols Liu was formally launched this week by ex-Covington and Crowell & Moring partner Robert Nichols and Andy Liu, a former prosecutor and Crowell & Moring alum who was most recently the Social Security Administration’s top lawyer.

 •  Makan Delrahim of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck was nominated to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

 •  Harvey Rishikof, a Crowell & Moring senior counsel in the privacy and cybersecurity and government contracts practices, will oversee the Guantanamo war court for the Department of Defense. He’s been inconclusive in his previous writings about the constitutionality of the controversial detention facility, according to The Miami Herald. He also chairs the ABA Standing Committee on Law & National Security.

 •  The Washington Post examined the career moves of Robert Wasinger, who joined McGuireWoods’ lobbying operation in mid-February and has already registered to work for Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Verizon. He worked in the Trump administration’s State Department for two-and-a-half weeks. It piqued the Post’s interest that he avoided signing the president’s executive order intended to ban former officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave the government.

 •  Mylan, the pharmaceutical company under fire last year for its EpiPen pricing, has a new chief legal officer. Daniel Gallagher, a former SEC commissioner, takes the job April 17.

 •  A Turkish businessman accused of fraud by federal prosecutors in Manhattan hired Rudy Giuliani, of Greenberg Traurig, and Michael Mukasey, the former attorney general now at Debevoise & Plimpton, to help his case.

 •  Emerging as part of the same New York Times story on Turkish business deals: Giuliani has lobbied the president to make Marc Mukasey, the former AG’s son and a partner at Greenberg Traurig, the next U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to the newspaper.

 •  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will have James McDonald, an AUSA in Manhattan, as its next head of enforcement, according to Bloomberg News.

 •  Jim Shea, former chairman of Venable, plans to run as a Democrat for Maryland governor.

 •  Corporate general counsels got behind the federal funding of the Legal Services Corp., which is currently under threat by the administration’s intended budget.

 •  Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is still representing Ivanka Trump, amid a change in the first daughter’s relationship to White House official business this week.  

 

Washington Wrap is a weekly roundup of Big Law hires and other Washington, D.C., legal industry news. Send tips and lateral moves to Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com.

White House and agency transitions may have supercharged D.C.’s lateral market this year, but this spring brings another notable transition beyond the federal government and Big Law.  

On May 1, Katherine Mazzaferri will step down as chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Bar after 35 years. Taking her place is a name most will recognize: Robert Spagnoletti, the former D.C. attorney general.

“We have a new time period, a new era, new ways of practicing laws,” Spagnoletti said. “I was interesting in the position of CEO because of all this opportunity that was there.”

Spagnoletti will manage an annual budget of more than $30 million. With 100,000 lawyers as members—from Supreme Court justices to recent law school grads—it’s one of the largest bars in the country.

He’ll also have to hire and orient a new administrative team within the organization. The bar is looking for new heads of IT, programs and a COO. Rebecca Troth is the new head of the Pro Bono Center.

“The good thing about the D.C. bar is it does so many things extraordinarily well. It’s operationally efficient. It’s got great staff. That being said, we’re in the middle of a great change in terms of the legal profession locally,” Spagnoletti said.

He said it’s too early to say whether he would usher in major changes to the operations or mission of the organization.

Earlier in his career, Spagnoletti, now 54, worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and then a small law firm in Texas that became part of Andrews Kurth . He joined the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. and worked on sex offense and domestic violence cases, before then-D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams appointed him corporation counsel in 2003. Spagnoletti helped to change the office’s name to attorney general—which, many years later, put the office one step closer to becoming an independent elected role, rather than an appointed position.

He also served as the D.C. bar’s elected president from 2008 to 2009. During that time, a lease expired on the organization’s offices and it decided it would be best to own its property. “The bar is going around for 40-plus years, and we’ve always leased space. It didn’t make a lot of sense,” Spagnoletti said.

So a $70 million, 100,000-square-foot building is now being built at 901 4th St. NW in downtown D.C. The bar plans to move there in early 2018.

Spagnoletti has been a partner at the litigation boutique Schertler & Onorato since 2006. His last day at the firm is April 14.

While he’ll miss his colleagues, he says he’s looking forward to giving up billing hours. “It’s a necessary evil depending on what kind of practice you’re in. It infects the rest of your life,” he said.

More lateral moves:

•  Broderick Johnson, President Barack Obama’s former cabinet secretary and a top White House lawyer, returns to Bryan Cave in Washington on Monday. He previously was at the firm from 2007 to 2011, when he led the lobbying group and was on the firm’s executive committee. He is chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative to support young black men that started during the Obama presidency.

 •  Andrew Gantt III moves to Venable ’s Washington office and will co-chair its health care practice. He previously was a partner at Cooley , and before that, at Latham & Watkins .

 •  Creighton Macy moves from the Department of Justice’s antitrust division to Baker & McKenzie ’s antitrust practice as a partner in D.C. He had served as the division’s chief of staff last year. Previously, he worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati .

 •  Steven Barringer, a mining law specialist, joins Greenberg Traurig ’s lobbying and environmental groups as a shareholder in Washington. He previously was at Holland & Hart .

 •  Allison Wils joins the Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies firm, and will be a counsel at the law firm in Washington. She previously directed health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, and her main area of interest is in her Twitter handle: @Wils_Telehealth.

 •   Jenner & Block picked up a three-partner aviation and aerospace group, a new practice for the firm, last week. Its leaders are Thomas Newton Bolling and Abby Bried, who both came from United Airlines , and Marc Warren, who vacated the same practice head slot at Crowell & Moring . While Bolling and Warren will base out of D.C., Bried is in the Chicago office.

In other industry news:

 •  As investigations heat up surrounding the Trump White House’s relationship with Russia, the various players have lawyered up. Robert Kelner of Covington & Burling represents former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is seeking immunity in exchange for his testimony about the campaign and Russia. David O’Neil, a former criminal division head and Debevoise & Plimpton partner, represents former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. And Kenneth Wainstein, of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft , represents former CIA Director John Brennan.

 •  There’s a new government contracts law firm in Washington: Nichols Liu was formally launched this week by ex-Covington and Crowell & Moring partner Robert Nichols and Andy Liu, a former prosecutor and Crowell & Moring alum who was most recently the Social Security Administration’s top lawyer.

 •  Makan Delrahim of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck was nominated to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

 •  Harvey Rishikof, a Crowell & Moring senior counsel in the privacy and cybersecurity and government contracts practices, will oversee the Guantanamo war court for the Department of Defense. He’s been inconclusive in his previous writings about the constitutionality of the controversial detention facility, according to The Miami Herald. He also chairs the ABA Standing Committee on Law & National Security.

 •  The Washington Post examined the career moves of Robert Wasinger, who joined McGuireWoods’ lobbying operation in mid-February and has already registered to work for Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Verizon. He worked in the Trump administration’s State Department for two-and-a-half weeks. It piqued the Post’s interest that he avoided signing the president’s executive order intended to ban former officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave the government.

 •  Mylan, the pharmaceutical company under fire last year for its EpiPen pricing, has a new chief legal officer. Daniel Gallagher, a former SEC commissioner, takes the job April 17.

 •  A Turkish businessman accused of fraud by federal prosecutors in Manhattan hired Rudy Giuliani, of Greenberg Traurig , and Michael Mukasey, the former attorney general now at Debevoise & Plimpton , to help his case.

 •  Emerging as part of the same New York Times story on Turkish business deals: Giuliani has lobbied the president to make Marc Mukasey, the former AG’s son and a partner at Greenberg Traurig , the next U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York , according to the newspaper.

 •  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will have James McDonald, an AUSA in Manhattan, as its next head of enforcement, according to Bloomberg News.

 •  Jim Shea, former chairman of Venable , plans to run as a Democrat for Maryland governor.

 •  Corporate general counsels got behind the federal funding of the Legal Services Corp., which is currently under threat by the administration’s intended budget.

 •  Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is still representing Ivanka Trump, amid a change in the first daughter’s relationship to White House official business this week.