Reinhold “Reince” Priebus, the first chief of staff for President Donald Trump, is returning to the Am Law 200 firm he worked at for more than a decade before entering the national political scene.
Michael Best & Friedrich announced Wednesday that Priebus would return to the Milwaukee-based firm with some new titles. He will work out of Michael Best’s office in Washington, D.C., and be the firm’s president and chief strategist, while also serving as chairman to its government relations groups, Michael Best Strategies LLC.
“Michael Best is where my career began, and I’m excited to rejoin the firm in a full-time capacity to lead its growth,” Priebus said in a statement issued by the firm.
Priebus left the White House in July after John Kelly, a retired four-star general in the U.S. Marine Corps and a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was tapped to serve as Trump’s new chief of staff.
In Michael Best, Priebus returns to a firm where he made partner in 2006 and went on to serve as co-chairman of its government and public policy team. The native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, went on to serve as chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and then as general counsel for the Republican National Committee. He became chairman of the RNC in 2011, a position he held for six years while taking a leave of absence from Michael Best.
“I’ve long been proud to call Reince a friend, and I’m happy to once again call him a colleague here at Michael Best,” Michael Best managing partner David Krutz said in a statement. “His admirable service in Washington is a testament to his strong work ethic, outstanding judgment and commitment to the American people. I’m confident Reince will make a significant impact on Michael Best’s growth and long-term trajectory.”
Priebus’ return is a major coup for his former firm, which celebrated its former partner in December with a swank send-off party in Milwaukee. But it is not the first addition to the government relations group since Priebus headed to the White House.
In January, Michael Best Strategies hired two well-connected lobbyists in Denise Bode, a former CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and corporate commissioner in Oklahoma, and Thomas Schreibel, the past chief of staff to U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.
Michael Best’s partnership has also grown during Priebus’ absence.
In March, the firm hired corporate partner Craig Stoehr, who joined its Milwaukee office after spending years overseas as a partner at Latham & Watkins and in a variety of in-house roles. That move was followed by the addition of four partners in Chicago and Michael Best bolting on a six-lawyer practice in Salt Lake City in September.
Michael Best took in $123 million in gross revenue in 2016, putting the firm at No. 175 in the most recent Am Law 200 rankings. Gross revenue growth at Michael Best last year was 7.2 percent, compared with 1.2 percent by the broader Second Hundred.
“In the past few years, the firm’s leadership has taken an impressive, forward-looking approach,” said a statement by Priebus, who has also now joined the Washington Speakers Bureau. “I’m looking forward to this homecoming and applying what I’ve learned inside the Beltway to help Michael Best achieve even greater heights.”