Susan Harthill, a former high-level U.S. Labor Department lawyer overseeing national operations, has jumped to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the firm said Tuesday.
Harthill, who had served as the Labor Department’s deputy solicitor for national operations since 2014, joined the firm’s Washington office as a partner. Harthill formerly was a law professor at Florida Coastal School of Law before joining the Obama-era Labor Department. Harthill was a special counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP from 1994 to 2005.
At the Labor Department, Harthill was part of the career front office team working under the U.S. Senate-confirmed Labor Department solicitor, who oversees all of the agency’s litigation. Trump last year appointed former Kirkland & Ellis partner Kate O’Scannlain as solicitor.
As deputy solicitor for national operations, Harthill managed the provision of legal services across the department’s programs, including employee benefits and wage and hour. She also shared oversight of the legal and administrative office within the solicitor’s office that represents and advises the department on a range of general law areas.
Harthill said Morgan Lewis stood out to her when she decided six months ago she wanted to leave the agency. She praised the firm’s workforce diversity and the collaboration between the different practice groups. Harthill declined to name some of the other labor and employment firms with Washington offices that she said she’d considered.
“I’m looking forward to working with businesses to help them with workplace concerns. That’s one thing missing in academia and in the government,” Harthill said. “I’ll enjoy problem solving and learning about businesses and how they function.”
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Morgan Lewis chairwoman Jami McKeon said Harthill “is in a unique position to advise companies throughout the United States on the full range of workplace statutes and their administration.”
Grace Speights, who leads the Morgan Lewis labor and employment practice, called Harthill “the kind of problem-solver that our sophisticated clients will look to for assistance in managing complex workplace challenges before they become crises.”
Harthill’s arrival adds to the bench of former agency leaders at Morgan Lewis. Two former National Labor Relations Board members—Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson—are partners at the firm. Miscimarra, a former NLRB chairman, rejoined Morgan Lewis in February. Another partner, Jonathan Snare, served as the Labor Department’s deputy solicitor in 2006. The current NLRB chairman is John Ring, who joined the agency from Morgan Lewis.
Obama-era Labor solicitor M. Patricia Smith, for whom Harthill first worked, is now senior counsel to the National Employment Law Project. O’Scannlain, the labor solicitor, works with Rachel Mondl, a former Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate, as deputy solicitor; and Katherine Bissell, the deputy solicitor for regional enforcement. The department had not immediately hired to fill Harthill’s position.