Crowell & Moring and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati both announced hires in the nation’s capital this month, adding experienced partners to practice areas in which the firms saw recent high-level departures.
Crowell said on Monday it has hired former Wiley Rein government contracts lawyer Nicole Owren-Wiest as a partner in Washington, D.C. That move comes after Crowell saw its former firm chairwoman Angela Styles, also a government contracts lawyer, depart abruptly and join Bracewell after being voted out of the Crowell leadership.
Separately, Wilson Sonsini announced on Nov. 1 that it has hired partner Stephen Heifetz from Steptoe & Johnson for its Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) practice. The firm recently lost Donald Vieira, the former head of its CFIUS practice, to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Crowell touted Owren-Wiest as a recognized figure and thought leader in the government contracts bar. Her practice focuses on counseling and litigation matters related to cost and pricing issues, government data rights, intellectual property issues, and contractor and government claims, among other areas, according to Crowell. Prior to her partner role at Wiley Rein, Owren-Wiest spent a period earlier in her career as an in-house counsel at The Boeing Co. and as an associate at Perkins Coie.
She often represents clients on government contract cost accounting, business system audits and disputes with the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Owren-Wiest also has experience in the realm of bid protests at the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, as well as internal investigations and defending clients in Justice Department or federal agency inspector general probes.
“Nicole is a highly regarded lawyer and thought leader in the government contracts bar, and her practice provides our government contracts group a depth of knowledge in key areas, including cost accounting, data rights and investigations,” Philip Inglima, chairman of Crowell’s executive committee, said in a statement.
Wilson Sonsini, which separately unveiled a leadership change last week that involved longtime firm chairman Larry Sonsini moving into a senior and founding partner role and corporate partner Katharine Martin becoming chair of the firm’s board, welcomed CFIUS specialist Heifetz as a partner in the firm’s regulatory and compliance practice in Washington, D.C.
Heifetz joins Wilson Sonsini after serving as co-chair of Steptoe’s regulation and compliance group. Before Steptoe, he had a hand in shaping laws and regulations related to CFIUS as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s policy development office. Heifetz’s practice focuses on advising companies on the intersection of business and national security issues, including counseling clients on compliance and political risks and defending them in government investigations and enforcement actions, according to Wilson Sonsini.
“Our clients, particularly those doing business across U.S. borders, will benefit from Stephen’s range of regulatory expertise, which includes anti-money laundering, economic sanctions and other national security laws,” Wilson Sonsini managing partner Douglas Clark said in a statement.