Donald Vieira
Donald Vieira ()

Donald Vieira, a former chief of staff in the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division who joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 2011, has left the firm’s office in the nation’s capital for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

A Friday evening phone call and email to Vieira were not immediately returned by the time of this story. While not yet listed on Skadden’s website, Vieira has updated his registry with The District of Columbia Bar to reflect his new status at Skadden.

At Wilson Sonsini, Vieira led the firm’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) and national security practice. His work predominantly focused on regulatory and enforcement issues related to exports controls, foreign investments and privacy and data security matters.

Vieira provided regulatory and compliance counsel last year to LinkedIn Corp. on its $26.2 billion acquisition by Microsoft Corp. He was also part of deal teams at Wilson Sonsini advising data analysis software provider Informatica Corp. on its $5.3 billion going-private transaction in 2015 and network security company Blue Coat Systems Inc. on its $2.4 billion sale that same year to private equity firm Bain Capital LLC.

Prior to his time at the Justice Department, Vieira served as deputy chief counsel to the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a staff director on the latter’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, roles that saw him handle several classified committee investigations. He began his legal career as an associate at Williams & Connolly.

Wilson Sonsini did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Vieira’s departure or whether any other individuals would be leaving with him. Robert Sanchez, a corporate partner at Wilson Sonsini in Washington, D.C., also recently left the firm, but his new role is still unclear. Earlier this year, Sanchez, led a Wilson Sonsini team advising information technology and advisory company Gartner Inc. on its $2.6 billion sale to Arlington, Virginia-based CEB Inc.

Sanchez and Vieira are the latest partner departures this year from Wilson Sonsini, which had an uneven financial performance in 2016, as the firm’s gross revenue rose slightly, to $755 million, despite decreases in revenue per lawyer ($1.05 million) and profits per partner ($1.97 million).

Morrison & Foerster has taken at least a half-dozen lawyers this year from Wilson Sonsini, including intellectual property litigators Stefani Shanberg and Jennifer Schmidt, while former Wilson Sonsini co-managing partner John “Jack” Sheridan joined Latham & Watkins in March. Sullivan & Cromwell recently opened an office in Brussels after recruiting antitrust partners Michael Rosenthal and Götz Drauz.

Wilson Sonsini has also made some lateral hires of its own, such as adding corporate partner Kathy Ku in Los Angeles and bringing back former technology partner Rezwan Pavri in Silicon Valley. In Delaware, where Wilson Sonsini opened an office in 2011, the firm recruited retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland as senior of counsel in May. The month before, Wilson Sonsini welcomed King & Spalding antitrust partner Wendy Huang Waszmer in Washington, D.C.

As for Skadden, its office in the nation’s capital has watched several partners leave its ranks this year, including international trade partner Robert Lighthizer, energy and infrastructure partner Martin Klepper and John Moot, a former general counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who had returned to the firm in 2008. Klepper and Lighthizer both joined the Trump administration, where Lighthizer has been appointed U.S. Trade Representative and Klepper a leader of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau.

William Conway Jr., another Skadden energy partner in Washington, D.C., retired from the partnership earlier this year at 59 to run as a Democrat for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council in suburban Maryland. Conway joined Skadden in 2005 after several years working at various energy companies.

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