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 news tips and lateral moves to Ryan Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The political scandals enveloping Virginia’s elected officials continued to intensify on Friday, with a second accusation against the state’s lieutenant governor capping a dizzying week for the state.
Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring have both admitted to wearing blackface at various times throughout the 1980s, while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is now defending himself against two women’s allegations of sexual assault. [While the Democratic trio has refused to leave office amid mounting political pressure to do so, if they all fled Richmond, state House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, would take over Virginia’s top public office.]
Fairfax, who is also a Morrison & Foerster partner, had retained Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz’s Rakesh Kilaru in D.C. to combat the first assault allegation. Kilaru is a former associate counsel in the White House counsel’s office under President Barack Obama.
Vanessa Tyson, the Scripps College professor accusing Fairfax of sexual assault in 2004, has turned to Katz, Marshall & Banks in D.C. The Katz firm gained national attention last year for its high-profile representation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
On Friday, a Maryland woman, Meredith Watson, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2000, when the two were both students at Duke University. Watson is represented by Nancy Erika Smith of Montclair, New Jersey-based Smith Mullin. Fairfax strongly denied the new allegations in a statement to The Washington Post, calling them “demonstrably false.”
Fairfax has threatened legal action in relation to the Tyson accusation, which he has strenuously denied, while Tyson’s supporters have raised more than $20,000 in two days via a GoFundMe fundraising effort spearheaded by Melissa Michelson, a Menlo College professor. A source close to Tyson’s legal team said Tyson learned of the fundraising effort after it was launched.
Law Firm Moves, News & Notes
Former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel has joined Michael Best Strategies’ advisory board in Washington, D.C. Michael Best Strategies is the consulting and government relations arm of Michael Best & Friedrich, the newest firm to open its doors in The Wharf alongside the Potomac River.
Israel formerly led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and represented a Long Island, New York, district for 16 years. At Michael Best, Israel is joining Reince Priebus, a former Republican National Committee chairman and former chief of staff for President Donald Trump, alongside other prominent ex-Trump administration officials.
At Wiley, Wilkens will represent broadcast and entertainment companies in copyright infringement litigation. His clients also include corporations seeking counsel on matters involving internet services and technologies, complex commercial litigation, and intellectual property, according to the firm.
Anna Thompson has returned to Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer following a turn at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Thompson was an associate at Arnold & Porter for about eight years before joining the FDA in 2016, where she was associate chief counsel for enforcement. On returning to Arnold & Porter, she will be counsel in the product liability litigation practice, according to the firm.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced its health care practice is growing with the addition of three lawyers, including Brian Burns as counsel and Emily Felder as senior policy adviser both in D.C. and Darryl Landahl in Denver, Colorado.
Burns and Felder are also both joining the firm’s government relations department, with Felder set to arrive on Monday.
Norton Rose Fulbright announced the appointment of D.C.-based partner Kevin Harnisch as U.S. head of regulation, investigations, securities and compliance, which puts him in charge of some 25 litigators.
Norton Rose also announced this week that it added antitrust lawyer Vic Domen as partner in D.C. from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office.
Quarles & Brady said this week it added David Wiese to its business law group as a partner in Washington.
Wiese was previously counsel at General Motors, assistant general counsel at Volkswagen AG, and a senior attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.
Reichman Jorgensen, a litigation boutique that opened last year, grew into Washington, D.C., and recruited Christine Lehman as the managing partner in the district.
Previously, Lehman spent 20 years at Finnegan, Henderson, Farrabow, Garrett & Dunner, leading the firm’s International Trade Commission litigation group.
Fish & Richardson promoted Daniel Tishman to principal in its intellectual property litigation group in Washington, D.C., as part of 11 total attorneys who were elevated.