Nicole Saharsky has joined Mayer Brown as partner in Washington, D.C., and co-leader of the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice alongside Andrew Pincus.
Saharsky is leaving Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher only about one year after arriving there as appellate and constitutional law practice co-chair. She joined Gibson Dunn from the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, where she served as an assistant to the solicitor general under Paul Clement, Gregory Garre, Elena Kagan, Donald Verrilli and Noel Francisco.
Like Mayer Brown, Gibson Dunn has one of the country’s most prominent national appellate practices—and one that has seen other leadership changes. In addition to Saharsky’s departure this week, practice co-chair James Ho left after his confirmation last December to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Gibson Dunn group is now helmed by remaining co-chairs Mark Perry in Washington and Caitlin Halligan in New York and boasts former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson among its prominent members.
Saharsky declined to talk about Gibson Dunn, but she said she began talking to Mayer Brown a year ago and ultimately deemed it a better fit. “I’m excited about it; I think it’s going to be fun,” Saharsky said of the move. “At the end of the day we all have a short time on this planet, and I just want to make the most of it.”
Mayer Brown has distinguished itself, she said, particularly for its work on arbitration and class action matters even as the market and clients’ needs continue to change.
Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court group is also still adjusting to the sudden death of practice founder Stephen Shapiro, who was was shot and killed in his suburban Chicago home in August. Saharsky said the 72-year-old Shapiro was a titan of the appellate bar and his death was a huge loss for the firm.
She said she was attracted to Mayer Brown in part because of the appellate group’ resemblance to the Solicitor General’s Office, where she argued 29 cases before the Supreme Court over 10 years. Saharsky’s record at the high court is nearly peerless among her women colleagues—only Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s Lisa Blatt has argued more.
Saharsky said the culture of “expertise and collegiality” she found at the SG’s office also characterized the Supreme Court and appellate group at her new firm, which she noted was started by Shapiro and other attorneys coming out of the office several decades ago.
As she helps lead the group into the future, Saharsky said she will aim to foster opportunities for young associates there, continuing a longstanding commitment at the firm. Before joining the Solicitor General’s Office, Saharsky was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers.
Gibson Dunn did not immediately respond to request for comment on Saharsky’s exit.