The federal prosecutor who won a conviction against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office to join Jenner & Block as a partner.
Reid Schar, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for 13 years, secured an 18-count conviction last year against Blagojevich, who subsequently was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The charges included attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
Schar, 40, most recently served as counsel to U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is stepping down himself on June 30 after almost 24 years with the Justice Department. Schlar will join Jenner in mid-July, he said.
Schar said that his departure was unrelated to Fitzgerald’s announcement on May 28 that he was leaving. “It was no factor,” Schar said. “I had been looking since January.”
A spokesman for Jenner declined to comment about whether the firm had any plans to attempt to recruit Fitzgerald, who indicated last month that he would not practice as a defense attorney.
While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Schar served as deputy chief of the general crimes and the organized crime and public corruption sections.
In 2006, he prosecuted Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, accused of aiding terrorism from within the United States as active members of the Palestinian group Hamas. Their convictions were for obstruction of justice.
Schar said that he had been experiencing some “intellectual complacency” and was looking forward to new challenges. He also wanted to make room for younger prosecutors to advance. “They deserve an opportunity to move up in the office,” he said.
Jenner’s white-collar practice includes two former U.S. attorneys: Anton Valukas, chairman of the firm, and Thomas Sullivan. Schar will focus on white-collar criminal cases, internal investigations and high-stakes civil litigation.
“I expect Reid to fit right in handling high-profile, high-risk matters,” Jenner managing partner Susan Levy said in a news release.
Schar is a 1997 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. He worked for nine months after law school at Sidley Austin before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Contact Leigh Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.