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.
For the first time in its existence, Investigative Group International and its associated law firm will not be led by someone bearing the Lenzner family name.
Jonathan Lenzner, the son of founder Terry Lenzner, is stepping down as CEO of IGI and The Lenzner Firm for an executive leadership post at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, where he was formerly a prosecutor.
Tom Wendel, a 20-year IGI veteran, will now serve as the firm’s CEO. Arun Rao, another ex-prosecutor who joined the firm last year as executive vice president, will be president.
Former Senate Watergate Committee counsel Terry Lenzner founded IGI in 1984 and quickly built a reputation as a serious D.C. operator—The Washington Post called him “a curious hybrid of Harvard-trained lawyer and dirt-digging Washington private eye” and once dubbed his firm “President [Bill] Clinton’s private CIA.” IGI helped Clinton defend himself in several scandals from the Whitewater probe to Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit, as recounted by the Post at the time.
Lenzner’s work attracted high-profile clients from all walks of life. Boxer Mike Tyson turned to Lenzner in an appeal of his rape conviction. The National Football League sought Lenzner’s help in probing the lives of a group looking to buy the Washington Redskins. Ivana Trump, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump’s mother, reportedly hired him to look into President Donald Trump’s assets and relationship with Marla Maples during the couple’s divorce.
Terry Lenzner retired in 2015 after turning the shop over to his son, Jonathan, two years earlier. Now, in his new government position, the younger Lenzner will be first assistant to Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur. Lenzner was an assistant U.S. attorney in the office from 2010 to 2013, joining after six years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan.
Rao overlapped with Lenzner in both offices, and also served as a deputy White House associate counsel during part of the Obama administration. He served as chief federal prosecutor for Maryland’s southern division for two years before joining IGI in 2017.
Rao was appointed to his leadership position in the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office by none other than Rod Rosenstein, the current deputy U.S. attorney general and overseer of the biggest investigation in town: Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
As for IGI’s future, its new leaders said not to expect big changes.
“We think we’re going to stay on the same trajectory of our business,” said Wendel, who has previously served as IGI’s president. “In many ways it’s still the same structural model [as when the firm began].”
The investigations business in Washington has become remarkably crowded since IGI first opened its doors. But Rao said that while some of IGI’s competitors have adopted a “lower-quality, higher volume” approach to investigatory work, IGI will remain “fairly sophisticated and really bespoke.”
The U.S. Senate’s decision to eliminate the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominations last year may have gutted the minority’s arsenal to halt a confirmation, but it did nothing to constrain outside groups’ spending to sway senators’ votes on judicial nominations.
Fearing Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation could imperil abortion rights, Planned Parenthood rolled out a #DearSenators campaign this week, complete with a reported six-figure ad buy. Televised ads from Planned Parenthood will aim at Alaska and Maine, two states with female Republican senators who do not vociferously share the GOP’s anti-abortion viewpoint.
Kavanaugh’s boosters at Susan B. Anthony List, meanwhile, have assembled a “Pro-Life Court Coalition” and spent the past week holding several pro-Kavanaugh rallies in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota. The rallies, which have already hit three states with Democratic senators running for re-election in November, will spread to seven states throughout August and September.
The right-leaning Judicial Crisis Network, part of SBA List’s coalition, has spent more than $5 million on its #AnotherGreatJustice effort and its support for Kavanaugh. Like SBA List, JCN’s ads take aim at states with vulnerable Democratic incumbent senators seeking re-election—Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia—as well as Alabama.
Senate hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination have been set for Sept. 4.
Žužul gives clients guidance on issues involving the North Atlantic Trade Organization, political and economic developments in Europe and Asia, and other matters involving international affairs. He does not practice law.
He most recently served as a partner at Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, an intellectual property law firm in Northern Virginia, and was previously a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for five years.
Cozen O’Connor’s lobbying arm extended its reach in Washington this week with the addition of Alexandra Campau, former special assistant to the president for health policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council.
She previously worked for Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies before heading to Congress as a staffer for the House Budget Committee and Senate Republican Policy Committee. Her move from the White House to Cozen is part of the lobbying shop’s endeavor to grow its ranks nationwide in recent months.
Pascarella started his life in the law in Washington, and served in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and worked as AT&T chief antitrust counsel from 1996 to 2009.
Montgomery will work on the firm’s special matters and government investigations team in Washington, which added former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates in May. The team has added five partners thus far this year in the United States and London.