Travis LeBlanc (Dupont Photographers)
Looking for lawyers from the Obama administration?
Boies Schiller Flexner, a firm with longstanding ties to Democratic causes, has added two lawyers leaving the federal government for its office in Palo Alto, California. The firm announced Thursday that it had brought on Travis LeBlanc, a former chief of the enforcement bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, as a partner in the city and Washington, D.C.
“I was looking for a firm that had a presence both in D.C. and Silicon Valley [and] a firm that understood the value of having lawyers who had government experience,” LeBlanc said about his move to Boies Schiller, which earlier this year dropped the ampersand from its name.
LeBlanc joins Boies Schiller after a nearly three-year stint at the FCC. Appointed in 2014, LeBlanc spearheaded hundreds of consumer protection, competition and fraud enforcement actions against companies like AT&T Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. In October, he obtained a $2.3 million civil penalty against Comcast Corp., the largest civil fine ever assessed to a cable operator, for charging customers for services and equipment they did not want.
At Boies Schiller, LeBlanc said he plans on focusing his practice to address the cybersecurity, privacy and telecommunications needs of clients and increase the firm’s client list among technology companies in California. LeBlanc, who once worked at Keker & Van Nest and Williams & Connolly before joining the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2009, where he spent two years, is bullish on Boies Schiller’s plans to expand in the Golden State.
“I think that my background and skill set are very complimentary, having worked at the federal and state levels and in private practice in DC and California in the past,” he said. “I’m primed to align my own goals with the goals of the firm.”
Prior to joining the FCC, LeBlanc served as special assistant attorney general in California and senior advisor to its attorney general, current Sen. Kamala Harris. LeBlanc oversaw the office’s work on technology, high-tech crime and privacy issues after his appointment in 2011. While working for 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 two-thirds of them had no such policies.
Echoing sentiments from his keynote speech last month at the University of Maryland’s symposium on cyberlaw, LeBlanc cautioned that the proliferation of Internet-connect devices and the massive amounts of information they collect pose huge, unique and ever-changing risks to the privacy and security of people and corporations.
“I think what we’re seeing is that the security threats we are facing now are not just threats to gain personal information,” said LeBlanc, citing as an example someone opening a credit card account in another person’s name. “But actually they’re seeking to do harm, whether its harm to the reputation of the person or company that’s the target or its physical harm [like] shutting down a water treatment facility or shutting down a pacemaker.”
Boies Schiller has been on a lateral hiring spree in recent months, adding former Obama administration lawyers to its offices across the country.
Last month, the firm welcomed back former partner Lee Wolosky in New York after he served an 18-month stint as the White House’s special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. In November, Boies Schiller snagged David Pressman in New York, where he served as a senior U.S. envoy to the United Nations.
In January, the firm’s Palo Alto office added Ann O’Leary, a former senior policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose close aide Karen Dunn is a current Boies Schiller partner. Kathleen Hartnett, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil division, where she worked on some controversial matters for the Obama administration, joined Boies Schiller’s Palo Alto base as a litigation partner late last year.
Boies Schiller has also been busy expanding in other jurisdictions. The firm also announced Thursday its hire of Herbert Smith Freehills international law head Dominic Roughton as a partner in London, according to sibling publication Legal Week. Roughton fills a void left by dispute resolution partner Wendy Miles, who left Boies Schiller’s London office last month for Debevoise & Plimpton. Boies Schiller also watched a six-lawyer team in South Florida leave in February for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.