U.S. Capitol. Credit: Mike Scarcella/ NLJ

In February 2017, four years after leaving the House Judiciary Committee for Covington & Burling, longtime Capitol Hill lawyer Richard Hertling decided he wanted to return to government work.

Hertling said he expressed interest that month to White House staff in being considered for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which handles high-dollar disputes over government contracts and other cases against the United States.

Nearly a year after that initial outreach, and the interview that followed, Hertling received a call in January informing him that President Donald Trump planned to nominate him to the Washington-based Federal Claims bench. The formal announcement came in April.

Hertling recounted the process leading up to his selection in his Senate questionnaire, which was released recently as part of the confirmation process. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing on Hertling’s nomination.

In separate disclosures filed with the committee, Hertling, of counsel at Covington, reported earning about $286,000 in 2017, and $276,000 the previous year. He has lobbied for some of the country’s largest companies and most influential trade groups. Hertling declined to comment Tuesday.

Fast Facts: Richard Hertling

  • Covington & Burling of counsel 2013-present
  • Lobbied for major U.S. companies, including Microsoft, Qualcomm
  • Longtime former congressional lawyer in Washington

Hertling’s clients at Covington included Microsoft, the Motion Picture Association of America, Qualcomm Inc. and the National Association of Broadcasters, according to disclosure filings.

According to disclosures, his recent lobbying for Microsoft addressed immigration visas for high-skilled workers and corporate tax reform. He also lobbied for Qualcomm, one of Covington’s biggest lobbying clients, on patent reform and intellectual property issues.

Before joining Covington, Hertling had been a longtime congressional lawyer, serving on the staffs of the late Sens. Arlen Specter and Fred Thompson. From 2003 to 2007, he worked at the Justice Department, serving as acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legislative Affairs and principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy.

Hertling later worked as an adviser to Thompson’s short-lived presidential campaign before returning to Capitol Hill in 2008 to work with the Republican staff of the House Judiciary Committee. In 2012, he was promoted to staff director and chief counsel of the committee.

When Hertling arrived at Covington a year later, Dan Bryant, then the leader of firm’s global public policy practice, described him as a “workhorse with as wide and deep a grasp of policy issues as anyone in Washington—on issues that matter a lot to our clients and the business community.”

Hertling is one of two pending Covington lawyers up for judicial posts. Trump in April nominated tax partner Emin Toro for a seat on the U.S. Tax Court. Toro’s nomination, pending before the Senate Finance Committee, has not been set for a vote.


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