Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. announced Thursday that he had picked James Duff, managing partner of the D.C. office of Baker Donelson, to run the judicial branch as the next director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Duff, 53, is a popular and familiar face at the sprawling judiciary, having served as administrative assistant to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist from 1996 to 2000. There, Duff won praise as a low-key team player and a skillful behind-the-scenes negotiator. Duff was a close witness to history when he served as aide-de-camp to Rehnquist while the chief justice presided over the 1999 Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.