News that Cravath, Swaine & Moore is opening a Washington, D.C., office has been met with a collective raised eyebrow by the Beltway legal community. Many believe it was only a matter of time, yet all wondered why now and what was the impetus? Generally, however, pundits question the New York firm’s ability to convincingly build a brand-new regulatory practice from scratch, when its D.C. competitors already have one baked in—and have for decades.

Cravath enters the D.C. regulatory market with three new partners based in Washington. Jelena McWilliams, most recently the former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Elad Roisman, a former commissioner and acting chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Jennifer Leete, a former associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, will join Cravath as partners.