Carolyn Kubota
Carolyn Kubota ()

Carolyn Kubota, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles since 2000, has joined Covington & Burling.

Covington’s addition of Kubota, a white-collar litigation and defense expert, is the firm’s latest new hire in Los Angeles, where the Washington, D.C.-based firm set up shop in early 2015.

A couple of close connections at Covington sold Kubota on the firm, she said. Two of its earliest hires in Los Angeles, partners Mitchell Kamin and Dan Shallman, once worked at O’Melveny & Myers with Kubota. Shallman, whose office was next to hers at their previous firm, also overlapped with Kubota during her 12-year stint at the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, where she once served as deputy chief of the major frauds section.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to be with this group of friends,” Kubota said.

At O’Melveny & Myers, Kubota was a member of the firm’s policy committee, and she recently helped the former CFO of Rancho Cucamonga, California-based water purification company Basin Water Inc. score a bench trial win in beating a fraud charge filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Though she began her career as a white-collar lawyer, Kubota said much of her practice has recently involved representing pharmaceutical companies. The strength of Covington’s life sciences practice, which is one of the firm’s largest departments, also swayed her to join the firm, she said.

“Carolyn is a world-class litigator with an exceptional track record of trial success, and her tenacity and depth of experience will be highly valuable to our clients,” said a statement by Covington litigation chair John Hall. “Carolyn’s core practice, particularly her experience in high stakes matters for pharmaceutical clients, fits perfectly with our long term goals to grow both our Los Angeles and global litigation capability.”

Though Kubota said she expects that her practice at Covington will include a growing amount of life sciences work, she doesn’t plan to abandon her white-collar defense roots.

“I hope I’ll be able to expand the work I’m doing for pharma companies to other companies and broaden, rather than change, [my practice],” she said. “I have done a lot of trial work, but not so much recently, and I would really love to be involved in more trials.”

Last fall, Covington’s Los Angeles office recruited another former government lawyer with a foot in the life sciences world, Wade Ackerman, who used to work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before joining the firm as a partner.

Covington, which in May hired Reed Smith’s former Silicon Valley office leader Catharina Min, has been keen on expanding in the Golden State. Mónica Ramírez Almadani, a former senior adviser to ex-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, also came aboard earlier this year as special counsel in Los Angeles.

Court filings show that Ramírez is leading a team from the firm working with the National Immigration Law Center in representing an individual suing the federal government for allegedly being improperly deported to Mexico.

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