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.
The American Constitution Society issued a call to arms to oppose President Donald Trump at its annual convention in Washington this week.
At a welcome dinner kicking off the convention on Thursday evening, ACS president Caroline Fredrickson, ACS president, implored attendees to recruit others to join the resistance spearheaded by the leading progressive legal organization.
“I really cannot convey with more fervor that all lawyers—progressive, middle-of-the-road, conservative—all lawyers nationwide need to speak out now about the importance of the rule of law and democracy, and I promise you that I would be saying the same thing if a Democrat was acting like the president we have today,” Fredrickson said. “We are calling on members of the legal profession to pledge to resist President Trump’s attacks on the rule of law.”
Fredrickson urged attendees to sign and circulate a letter pledging resistance to Trump within their firms, state and local bar associations, and at law schools.
Sally Yates, the former deputy U.S. attorney fired by Trump, delivered a keynote address Thursday urging members to go on the offensive and “think of the perseverance of public servants who go to work every day, now derided as the ‘deep state’ or ‘swamp creatures,’ who have in fact dedicated their professional lives to making our country better.”
Yates, who returned to Big Law last month as partner at King & Spalding, told the crowd, “This is not a time to be passive.”
“Today we are met with an almost daily barrage of attempts to order up investigations of former political rivals, intervention on behalf of friends, relentless attempts to sow distrust of the FBI and the Department of Justice, direction to investigate the investigators, and the most recent declaration that our laws do not apply to the president, which must have Tom—Thomas Paine— spinning in his grave right now,” Yates said. “This is not how it works. The rule of law is what separates us from an autocracy.”
The ACS’ annual convention is a chance for left-leaning lawyers from across the country to network with leading progressives in Washington. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is speaking at the conference on Friday afternoon.
Law Firm Moves, News & Notes:
Martin F. Cunniff joined RuyakCherian as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.
Cunniff is a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, most recently at Innovista Law, which he joined in 2016. He was previously a partner at Arent Fox and at Howrey, where he co-chaired the firm’s commercial litigation and trial group.
RuyakCherian has touted Cunniff’s role as the lead trial counsel in the Bowl Championship Series antitrust case that led to the creation of the playoff system for college football’s top tier, which the University of Alabama has subsequently dominated. Cunniff said in a statement he feels as though he has joined an “all-star team” in its own right.
Greenberg Traurig added IP litigator Scott W. Doyle as shareholder and chair of the firm’s International Trade Commission practice.
Doyle was most recently head of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s IP litigation group and previously held an equivalent role at Shearman & Sterling, where he was also that firm’s co-managing partner in Washington.
“At this critical time for so many companies in defending their key intellectual property assets in front of the ITC, we were fortunate to find a world-class practitioner to lead our efforts and take us to a higher level in the area,” said Richard Rosenbaum, Greenberg Traurig’s executive chairman, in a statement.
Norton Rose Fulbright added two new partners and a senior counsel to its global cyber risk group this week, including Chris Cwalina in Washington.
Cwalina will be the firm’s new global co-head of cyber risk, while Jeewon Serrato joined the firm as partner in San Francisco, and Steven Roosa is coming on board as senior counsel in New York.
Cwalina, who was formerly co-chair of Holland & Knight’s cybersecurity and privacy team, will focus on complex cybersecurity attack and data breach investigations.
Foley & Lardner added Jessica Matelis, a former Securities and Exchange Commission senior counsel in the agency’s division of enforcement.
Matelis is joining as partner in the firm’s securities enforcement and litigation practice in Washington. She previously worked at Foley as an associate approximately a decade ago, and spent much of the last five years at the SEC.
President Trump nominated Heritage Foundation vice president John Malcolm to the Legal Services Corporation’s board of directors.
Malcolm helped craft the Supreme Court shortlists that led to Justice Neil Gorsuch’s selection, and he serves as director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.
The Legal Services Corp. gives financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The LSC was developed as an independent nonprofit by Congress in the 1970s.
Speaking of SCOTUS, the high court’s decision favoring New Jersey in its fight to legalize sports betting may already be having an effect on the lateral hiring market, including beyond the Garden State.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lured Scott Wiegand, a former senior vice president at Caesars Entertainment Corp., to work as shareholder in the firm’s corporate department at its Las Vegas and Denver offices.