LEGAL TIMES: What is the relationship between the northern Virginia and Washington offices?
JOHN BURLINGAME: It’s a very close relationship. When I’m out in the northern Virginia office I will frequently see some of my colleagues from D.C. working out there. Similarly, virtually every day there is at least one attorney from our northern Virginia office who is working here in the D.C. office on business.
LT: What are the differences and similarities between the two offices?
BURLINGAME: The northern Virginia office tends to revolve around traditional business models. There is a lot of government-services work that is done in both the corporate groups and government contracting. We also have a number of intellectual property attorneys. Our firm’s global real estate practice leader is based in our northern Virginia office as well.
Here in the D.C. office, it tends to be more regulatory-focused, although not exclusively. We have a number of different practices that fall within the regulated industries — antitrust, aviation, telecommunications, energy, health care. We do public finance work. A lot of the bond work on behalf of the D.C. government, we are involved in that. Litigation as well. It’s a more eclectic group of attorneys here in D.C.
Trade is a good example of the practice overlap. Our trade lawyers will work hand in glove with our government-services attorneys.…I’ve worked with virtually every practice group in the firm. That includes my colleagues in northern Virginia. Our white-collar attorneys here in D.C., they have worked closely with our northern Virginia government-relations and corporate partners on major internal investigations and a qui tam matter locally.LT: When did the firm move to its current office?
BURLINGAME: August of 2011 is when we planted the flag at 19th and M Street. LT: What considerations did the firm take into account when looking for a new space?
BURLINGAME: Price was a big one — we wanted very favorable rent. To the extent that we looked into new space, we wanted significant tenant improvement dollars. The financial package was a big incentive. The fact that this building was Platinum LEED-certified helped. The price fit, but then the added benefits of a building like this made the decision easier.
LT: With this flexible space, are there plans for growth?
BURLINGAME: It gives a lot more flexibility and, yes, there are plans for growth. We continue to look for opportunities to grow, and we’re particularly interested in practices that can benefit from our international footprint. Anyone from the government- enforcement arena, whether it’s on the criminal side or civil-side enforcement, clients want to sit down and hear from somebody who has sat in the prosecutor’s seat. That government-enforcement experience is something that clients value.
You look globally at what’s happening and you see more and more coordinated activities with government-enforcement officials. Take the antitrust arena. An antitrust investigation in the E.U. will very likely trigger a corresponding investigation in the U.S. We represented a Korean company that was raided by the Korean tax authorities. The U.S. tax authorities raided the U.S. subsidiary. [Partner] Joe Walker was heavily involved in spearheading that investigation and interfacing with both the Korean and U.S. prosecutors.