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Letting go is never easy — a hackneyed sentiment, but one poignantly expressed by many former attorneys from the Clinton administration. “It’s like being in a relationship and then having to go off to college,” says John Graykowski of his move from the U.S. Maritime Administration to partnership at Washington, D.C.’s Dyer Ellis & Joseph. For Clinton appointees, who reportedly hung around their low-paying government posts longer than their predecessors from previous administrations, ending the romance often proved particularly wrenching. For former general counsel Gary Guzy and Charles Blanchard, of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army, respectively, hopes for a Gore presidency fueled decisions to stick it out until the bitter end. “I didn’t make a phone call back to Brown & Bain until Gore conceded,” says Blanchard about his decision to return to the Phoenix law firm. Guzy didn’t even open the topic for conversation until after the inauguration. He is currently cooling his heels as a visiting scholar at Washington, D.C.’s Environmental Law Institute, while deciding his next move. He says he has been approached by various outfits since leaving his post. Some planned the saving of their hides more strategically. “I had had a conversation with a former Bush [Sr.] appointee who waited too long and then spent an enormous time unemployed,” says Kevin Gover, formerly assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the Department of the Interior, of his decision to start shopping in June 2000. (Gover has become partner at Washington, D.C.’s Steptoe & Johnson, where he heads the firm’s American Indian practice group.) After all, even if Gore had been elected, who’s to say he’d have kept the Clinton regime intact? “Regardless of who won, I assumed I was out of a job,” says Graykowski, the maritime lawyer, who began trolling seriously in late August. Of course, looking early carries recusal risks. Many appointees encounter attorneys from the same firms in governmental dealings as in the job hunt. “With everyone you talk to you start to wonder, ‘Hell, am I going to have to recuse myself here?’ ” says Graykowski. As a result, he adds, you run the risk of “ lame ducking” yourself. Once word was out, however, Graykowski soon found a new home in Dyer Ellis’ maritime practice group. Even with two short stints at large law firms, Graykowski attributes his current success to his seven-year stretch in government, which finally gave him an “expertise.” Recusals posed further problems for other appointees, who did not want to jeopardize legislation that they were working on as the administration ended. William Rainer, former chairman to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, asked his general counsel, C. Robert Paul, to stay on until the inauguration. They were busily finishing a bill to restructure the CFTC to enhance competition and reduce risk in futures and over-the-counter derivative markets. Paul says he summarily dismissed the firms and companies that pursued him around election time. “Unless I turned them down immediately,” he says, “I’m assumed to be showing interest.” After the bill passed on Dec. 21, Paul shifted gears, landing within weeks as a partner in the commodity and energy markets group at the Washington, D.C., office of Chicago’s McDermott, Will & Emery. As the Clinton years drew to a close, suitors came a-wooin’, but the trellis was visited sooner for some. Robert Dreher, former EPA deputy general counsel, was approached by Atlanta’s Troutman Sanders a full year before the presidential election. For under secretary for enforcement in the Department of Treasury James Johnson, discussions heated up in late summer. He joined the New York office of San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster in January 2001. Not all appointees were so heavily courted. No headhunters contacted Graykowski: “It was a bit like a high school dance where someone doesn’t get asked, but they know they’re good-looking — I never quite understood that.” As with other narrowly niched government players, however, Graykowski knew the key players in his field intimately, and didn’t really need to interview formally. Successfully rebounding makes the breakup a tad bit gentler for all these government transplants. Related Chart: Clintonians Emeritus

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