Washington Wrap is a weekly look at the biggest legal industry news and Big Law moves shaping the legal business in Washington, D.C. Send tips and lateral moves to Ryan Lovelace at email@example.com.
With all eyes trained on the comings and goings on President Donald Trump’s legal team this week, a prominent departure from the White House Counsel’s Office largely flew under the radar.
Michael McGinley is leaving the White House to join Dechert as a partner in Washington, D.C., with plans to move to Philadelphia to work and raise his family soon. McGinley, formerly a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and a Kirkland & Ellis partner, worked on regulatory reform issues and judicial nominations in Trump’s White House.
“Dechert really is the premier firm in Philadelphia,” McGinley said. “Once we decided we wanted to move to Philadelphia, Dechert was the obvious choice.”
McGinley said serving in the White House was “one of the great honors of my life.” His tasks there included working to secure the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, for whom McGinley previously clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. McGinley said the justice was his first boss and someone who “is one of the people that had the greatest impact on the way I view the law.”
At Dechert, McGinley will focus his practice on litigation, particularly on appellate and complex commercial matters. He said he expects to confront areas of law at Dechert he has not worked on before.
Doing governmental work of high public interest is exciting and invigorating, he said, but helping clients in private practice can be just as thrilling.
With rumors swirling that White House Counsel Donald McGahn might soon leave the government amid top impeachment lawyer Emmet Flood’s addition to Trump’s team, McGinley said he was not aware of any forthcoming departures from the counsel’s office. McGinley praised McGahn as “one of the most skilled and courageous lawyers I’ve ever worked with.”
In McGinley’s absence at the White House, associate counsel Robert Luther is poised to pick up a portion of McGinley’s portfolio. But McGinley noted that “McGahn is so invested and plugged in” to judicial nominations that the White House’s judicial confirmation effort runs mostly through McGahn.
Law Firm Moves, News, and Notes:
The president retooled his legal team again this week in what could become a harbinger of moves still to come. Ty Cobb is out, Emmet Flood is in, and rumors about who could leave or join the team next abound.
Marc Mukasey of Greenberg Traurig contradicted reports that he would join Trump’s legal team this week and told the New York Law Journal, “There’s nobody better than Rudy [Giuliani] and Jay [Sekulow] and Emmet [Flood] to handle this investigation and bring it to a swift and successful end.”
Given Giuliani’s performance so far, not everyone is so sure.
Speaking of the 2016 elections, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld hired Christina Carrica Haley, former national Latino finance director of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign.
Haley is joining Akin Gump as a senior policy adviser in Washington from the consulting firm Connectiva, where she was CEO.
A statement from Akin Gump touted Haley’s relationships with U.S. House and Senate candidates and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The firm also claims Haley is “responsible for the largest amount ever raised from the Hispanic community for a single campaign.”
Steptoe & Johnson LLP chairman Phil West said this week his firm is representing a client in the Mueller probe.
“It’s not public,” West said. “It may not become public.”
West would not give any clues about the identity of the client and did not answer whether the engagement played a role in the firm’s decision to turn down representing Trump last year.
Hogan Lovells elected five partners to its board this week, including re-electing Cate Stetson to the Washington region seat in the U.S.
Hogan Lovells’ 12-member board has responsibility for overseeing the firm’s affairs, but the members lack the “executive responsibility for strategy, management, and operating” decisions, according to the firm. The board gives input to the CEO, Steve Immelt, and the international management committee, and the firm’s board members make up the compensation committee.
Stetson is co-head of Hogan Lovells’ U.S. Supreme Court and appellate practice group. The four partners joining Stetson on the board are Clay James of the firm’s Denver and Silicon Valley offices, Joaquín Ruiz Echauri of Madrid, Richard Lorenzo of Miami, and Adrian Walker in London.
Lorenzo’s role starts July 1, while Stetson and the newly elected board members began their leadership positions on May 1.
Greenberg Traurig added Michael Gardner as shareholder to its government contracts and projects practice in Northern Virginia.
Gardner is joining from Troutman Sanders, where he was a partner. The firm said his practice at Greenberg Traurig will focus on clients that provide national security and infrastructure-related services to federal and foreign customers.
“[Gardner’s] agency experience and industry knowledge, coupled with his security clearance, are invaluable to our clients, who rely on our team to help them navigate unique situations,” said Mike Schaengold, government contracts and projects practice co-chair, in a statement.
Venable recruited Thomas Boyd to co-chair its government and legislative affairs practice in Washington.
Boyd previously co-chaired an equivalent practice at DLA Piper and boasts experience serving as an assistant attorney general in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations from 1987 to 1989.
As a partner at Venable, Boyd will handle clients focused on privacy, financial services, electronic commerce, and legislative and regulatory issues.
Grace Koh joined DLA Piper as a partner in the firm’s Washington office from the National Economic Council.
Koh worked as a special assistant to the president of the United States for technology, telecom, and cybersecurity policy. At DLA piper, Koh will work in the firm’s telecom practice and its global intellectual property and technology practice.