Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

California-based Munger, Tolles & Olson has again seized on changes in the government to grow its Washington, D.C., office. The firm hired Justice Department and Jenner & Block alum Ginger Anders, reuniting her with former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., who launched Munger’s outpost in the capital late last year.

Anders had worked as an assistant to Solicitor General Elena Kagan, before Kagan ascended to the U.S. Supreme Court, and then Verrilli. More recently she was a deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice ‘s Office of Legal Counsel.

While in the SG’s office, Anders argued 18 cases before the Supreme Court, the firm said, and developed special expertise in patent law.

“I anticipate Ginger will be working with me and the other lawyers in the firm who are in the IP space to develop a really robust patent appellate practice,” Verrilli said in an interview Monday. “But that’s not all that I expect Ginger to do.”

In addition to working with Kagan, Anders had close experience with the two other female Supreme Court justices. She is a former clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court and clerked for now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor when she was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“I look forward to working with the firm’s clients and bringing to bear the perspective that comes from advocating in both government and private practice,” Anders said in a statement provided by the firm.

Verrilli, who was solicitor general from 2011 to 2016, opened Munger’s office in Washington last fall with former Jenner partner Michael DeSanctis, and counsel Chad Golder, who was at the Justice Department.

“Hopefully we’re not finished yet,” Verrilli said Monday about other personnel additions in the office.

Anders, Verrilli and DeSanctis all had previous affiliation with Jenner & Block, which recently reorganized the leadership of its appellate group. Following Verrilli’s decision not to return to the firm, Jenner & Block lost longtime Supreme Court litigator Paul Smith to nonprofit interests and former Illinois Solicitor General Michael Scodro to Mayer Brown.

Jessica Ring Amunson, Michael Brody and Matthew Hellman now lead the firm’s appellate group.

MOVES AND MORE MOVES

Munger wasn’t the only firm announcing big hires from the federal government on Monday. Others capitalized on the political shifts gripping Washington to beef up their lobbying, environmental law and white-collar practices.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, a Republican from Florida, joined King & Spalding’s lobbying group as a senior counsel. He’ll be focused on financial, defense and health care policy, the firm said.

Crenshaw, though he’s 72 years old, becomes one of the few former members of Congress to join Big Law following the 2016 election. Far more members from both parties had swung through the revolving door by this point two years ago.

Crenshaw’s “understanding of Congress, the numerous agencies and departments of the executive branch that were funded by the appropriations subcommittee that he chaired, and his relationships on Capitol Hill make him an enormous asset to our clients,” Tom Spulak, chair of King & Spalding’s Washington lobbying group, said in a statement. Crenshaw noted King & Spalding’s roster of former government officials from both political parties as important to his decision, according to the firm statement.

Venable, too, beefed up its lobbying group with the addition of partner Joshua Raymond, who was executive counsel in the government affairs group at General Electric. He previously worked as chief of staff to Rep. Christopher Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. Earlier in his career, he worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and DLA Piper.

In the environmental law space, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher said it picked up Avi Garbow as a partner in D.C. He had been general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017. Previously, he was a partner at the plaintiffs firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The regulatory agency now finds itself among the most volatile areas of policy change in Washington.

“With the Trump administration’s focus on changing environmental regulations and programs, and as states and environmental organizations ramp up their own enforcement and litigation efforts, we will be well-positioned with Avi on our team to advise clients on the regulatory and litigation challenges ahead,” Dan Nelson, Gibson’s co-partner in charge in D.C., said in a statement.

Matt Axelrod.

Finally, the British firm Linklaters announced it had nabbed Matt Axelrod, the last principal associate deputy attorney general of the President Barack Obama years, as a partner in its Washington office. The firm said he would focus on fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and other white-collar issues, and it noted his close ties to the work of Sally Yates, the acting deputy attorney general who revamped corporate white-collar investigations and publicly opposed President Donald Trump’s initial executive action on immigration.

Axelrod had been in the role at the Justice Department for about two years. He was one of the rare Obama-era DOJ officials who had served in a different position earlier, then moved into and out of private practice again before the end of the administration. Axelrod had been an associate deputy attorney general until 2013, then spent one year as a partner at Cohen Milstein before he rejoined government.

Earlier this year, Linklaters recruited Adam Lurie from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft to lead the practice group and the Washington office.

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