The Washington, D.C., Police Memorial during a snowstorm. Photo: Mike Scarcella.

The early arrival of winter in Washington, D.C., may have lulled lawyers into the belief that the year would come to a close with little news and few moves, but the final months of 2018 are proving to be anything but languid.

New White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to enter the White House next week, shortly after President Donald Trump submitted written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller regarding the investigation of Russia’s attempted election interference. Cipollone joins from Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner and previously was partner at Kirkland & Ellis in D.C.

Following Trump’s submission, the president’s former personal attorney pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about the timeline of his efforts to secure a Russian real estate deal amid the 2016 election. One day after Cohen’s plea, a D.C. judge set a sentencing date for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

But Cipollone will have to contend with controversies beyond Cohen, Manafort and Mueller when he arrives at the White House. The new White House counsel will immediately begin preparing to contend with forthcoming investigations from the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Trump promised to adopt a “warlike posture” if Democrats mount nonstop investigations in the new year, and Cipollone figures to be a key player shaping the contours of that battlefield.

Before Democrats take over one chamber of Congress, however, Trump’s opponents are still working to fend off subpoenas from House Republicans until the new Congress is seated. Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served under President Barack Obama, has enlisted the help of leading defense attorney Ted Wells ahead of scheduled closed-door testimony to Congress next month. Fired FBI director James Comey, who is set to testify in private one day before Lynch, went to court to quash House Republicans’ subpoena.

The onslaught of subpoenas from Congress ought to only increase when the calendar turns to 2019, but the lawyers jockeying for new work look to have treated the ongoing season’s holiday music as the proper accompaniment for their game of musical chairs.

Law Firm Moves, News and Notes

Speaking of lawyers moving in a hurry, Nicole Saharsky left Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher after one year for Mayer Brown.

Saharsky, a veteran of the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, will be co-leader of Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court and appellate practice alongside Andrew Pincus. She formerly co-chaired Gibson Dunn’s appellate and constitutional law practice, which lost another co-chair in December 2017 when the U.S. Senate confirmed James Ho to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


Speaking of Gibson Dunn, the firm promoted 17 lawyers to its partnership beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Five of Gibson Dunn’s newest partners will work in Washington, D.C.: Jeffrey Jakubiak, Jason Meltzer, Jeremy Robison, Jeffrey Steiner and Daniel Zygielbaum.

The newest crop of D.C. partners focus on matters across several of Gibson Dunn’s practices, including energy, regulation and litigation; antitrust; class actions; litigation; financial institutions; derivatives; and tax.


Speaking of promotions, White & Case promoted 21 lawyers to counsel and another 21 lawyers to local partner across 21 offices. The firm named Katherine McCullough counsel in Washington, D.C., as part of the promotions.

McCullough is counsel in the firm’s global capital markets practice, where she focuses on emerging- and developed-market fund formation, fund structures and other matters for sponsor- and investor-side clients.


James Van Horn has joined Barnes & Thornburg as partner in Washington, D.C., from McGuireWoods, where he was also partner.

Van Horn will bolster Barnes & Thornburg’s finance, insolvency and restructuring department, bringing more than 15 years’ experience at McGuireWoods with him.


Speaking of McGuireWoods, the firm added Gilbert Dickey, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, to its appellate practice in Washington, D.C.

Dickey clerked for Thomas in the 2017-18 term and is joining McGuireWoods as an associate. He previously served two years an assistant state attorney general in West Virginia and is admitted to practice law in West Virginia and Alabama. His application for admission to the D.C. bar is pending, according to McGuireWoods.


Steptoe & Johnson added Paul Lee as pro bono counsel, where he succeeds Barbara Kagan. Kagan led Steptoe’s pro bono program and is retiring after 25 years at the firm.

Lee previously was pro bono counsel at Dechert, where he worked for more than seven years.


Samantha Ahuja rejoined Greenberg Traurig’s real estate practice as of counsel in Washington, D.C.

Ahuja was previously partner at Morris, Manning & Martin in the firm’s hospitality and commercial real estate development and finance practices. Ahuja joined Morris Manning in 2017.


Duane Pozza joined Wiley Rein as partner after more than six years at the Federal Trade Commission, where he was assistant director.

Pozza adds to Wiley’s telecom, media and technology practice in D.C. He previously was partner at Jenner & Block in the nation’s capital before joining the FTC in 2012.

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