After about two years at Boies Schiller Flexner, Travis LeBlanc, former enforcement chief for the Federal Communications Commission, is heading to Cooley as the Silicon Valley-based firm continues to strengthen its East Coast litigation bench and build up its data privacy and cybersecurity prowess.
“Cooley has been a leader in cyber and data privacy for many, many years,” said LeBlanc, who joined Boies Schiller in early 2017.
LeBlanc, who joins the firm as a partner in its litigation practice, said his decision stemmed from a desire to work closely with technology companies on their cyber, data privacy and telecommunication matters.
“Having all three of those based in one platform that offers global services I think is a unique combination that recognizes and takes advantage of all the kinds of work that I do,” said LeBlanc, who will be based out of Cooley’s Washington, D.C., and San Francisco offices.
In 2014, LeBlanc was appointed chief of the FCC’s enforcement bureau, where he led hundreds of consumer protection, competition, compliance and fraud enforcement actions against companies including AT&T Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
Prior to joining the FCC, LeBlanc, a former Williams & Connolly and Keker & Van Nest associate, served as special assistant attorney general of California and senior adviser to then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, overseeing work on technology and privacy issues.
During his tenure with Harris, he helped negotiate a global agreement between Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., HP Inc., Microsoft Corp. and BlackBerry Ltd. to improve privacy protections in mobile apps at a time when most did not have them. He also worked to establish the first high-tech crime and privacy enforcement units in California.
“The Cooley platform, I think, is uniquely situated to offer those full services for startups and multinational companies that are already working in the future,” LeBlanc said of his new firm.
The new year may also bring another new role for LeBlanc. A former attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel under the Obama administration, LeBlanc was nominated by the Trump administration in August to serve as one of five board members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency that provides oversight and advice on counterterrorism programs and activities of the U.S. government.
With the new Congress now in place, however, LeBlanc said he would have to be renominated along with the other PCLOB nominees that were not confirmed by the Senate. But he said he “remain[s] ready and willing to serve, whenever that is.”
“[LeBlanc] is the perfect home run for Cooley,” said Michael Attanasio, chair of the firm’s global litigation department, noting that LeBlanc’s addition furthers two strategic imperatives for the firm—to strengthen its core cyber, data and privacy practice and build out its East Coast litigation practice.
Over the last year, Cooley has made several key litigation hires up and down the East Coast.
Early last year, the firm’s D.C. office added Eric Kuwana, the former securities litigation and enforcement practice chair at Katten Muchin Rosenman. In July, Cooley brought on longtime Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in-house lawyer Jonathan Kim as a partner in its New York office.
A month later, the firm added Boies Schiller Flexner partner Philip Bowman to its litigation practice in New York.
“Our strategic priority is to continue to build a world-class global litigation practice,” Attanasio said. “We’ve already come very far in terms of the market recognition. … And, as far as I’m concerned and as far as our leadership is concerned, the sky’s the limit and the ability to recruit a partner like [LeBlanc] speaks to that.”