K Street in Washington, D.C. (Michael A. Scarcella/ ALM Media)
Washington Wrap is a weekly roundup of Big Law hires and other Washington, D.C., legal industry news. Read the previous edition here. Send tips and lateral moves to Katelyn Polantz at email@example.com.
Tom Scully, a health care lobbyist who made his name with stints at Patton Boggs, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the Federation of American Hospitals and Alston & Bird, set up a new law firm in town this month that’s slightly different than the spinoffs and boutiques we’ve seen before.
The firm, Scully, Roskey and Missmar, will operate within Lincoln Policy Group, the lobby shop Scully and his colleagues joined this week.
“Some clients really wanted a law firm,” Scully said of the split between a traditional lobbying operation and a mini law office. Side-by-side operations of lobbying groups and law firms are rare, as are law firms housed within lobbying organizations. Typically, lawyers who also lobby will simply work for either a lobbying firm or a law firm, or will do business as a consultant within the larger law firm.
Scully moved with Dan Elling, Colin Roskey and Rudy Missmar from Alston & Bird to Lincoln Policy Group as principals. Gina Sherick also followed the group and is vice president at the policy group. Lincoln Policy Group itself was a spin-off of Alston & Bird, founded when former Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Robert Holifield left the law firm in 2013.
Lincoln Policy Group did about $3 million of Congressional lobbying business last year, according to public disclosures.
Scully said he was “wearing out a little bit” in working within a law firm structure, managing 17 people in the Alston & Bird group. “I’m trying to downsize on the lawyering side but keep clients,” like HealthSouth, he said this week. Scully is also a partner in a New York-based private equity firm: the health care and business services investor Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.
He said his group’s book of business that will move to the new outfit is “significant, but what remains [at Alston & Bird] is significant too.”
Indeed, Alston & Bird still has one of America’s most senior statesmen on staff, the former Sen. Bob Dole, and Scully said he originally helped recruit Dole to the firm. Dole is now 93 years old, but still exerting his influence and signing clients.
“He’s healthier than he’s been in years,” Scully said. “He’d say, ‘Scully, find me some more things to do.’”
The week’s lateral moves:
- Hunton & Williams’ Washington office is losing its managing partner along with four other partners in its antitrust practice. David Higbee, the Hunton office head, global competition head Bruce Hoffman, and antitrust partners Todd Stenerson, Djordje Petkoski and Ryan Shores all resigned from Hunton on Wednesday, all resigned from Hunton on Wednesday.
- Sharon Larkin left Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Elizabeth Ferrell left Bradley Arant Boult Cummings to for a new D.C. government contracts boutique, Larkin Ferrell. Both were partners at their former firm.
- Michael Bahar joined Eversheds Sutherland’s litigation practice group as a partner in the Washington office and will lead the cybersecurity and privacy team. He previously was a staff director and general counsel on the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Philip Verveer left the Obama administration this year for Venable. He’ll be senior counsel and will specialize in antitrust and domestic and international communications law and policy. Most recently, he was senior counselor to the Federal Communications Commission chair, and before that was a deputy assistant Secretary of State. Earlier in his career, Verveer was a partner and on the executive committee at Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
- Michael Liftik, most recently deputy chief of staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission, joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan as a partner in Washington.
- Education attorney John DiPaolo joined Cozen O’Connor as a member in Washington. He previously was deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Education. He’ll work with the firm’s institutional response group, which specializes in matters related to sexual and gender-based harassment, violence and child protection.
- Catherine Hess, a former senior counsel with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, joined McGuireWoods’ health care department in Washington as a senior counsel.
- Ballard Spahr picked up a real estate investment trust specialist in Keli Colby, an of counsel in the Washington office. She joins the firm from Boston Properties, Inc.
- Steptoe & Johnson LLP hired Monique Watson as of counsel in the energy group. She moves from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney will have its new chief financial officer, William Ryan, based out of the Washington office.
- Covington & Burling continued continued picking away the project finance group of Chadbourne & Parke, with six of counsel lawyer additions in London, Dubai and Johannesburg.
- Jessie Liu, former Morrison & Foerster partner and current deputy general counsel at the Treasury Department, earned the president’s nomination to be the next U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
In other D.C.-area industry news:
- Kasowitz Benson Torres could face a compounded crisis as its founder transitions business to a second generation of leadership while representing a most inflammatory figure in Washington, President Donald Trump, according to my colleague Christine Simmons’ deep dive into the New York firm. Also in this story: The firm has been looking to build out its Washington office.
- Preet Bharara thinks Marc Kasowitz is “mildly obnoxious.”
- Others allege Kasowitz acted unethically, after reportedly telling White House staff they might not have needed to hire their own lawyers yet. He faces two complaints with state bars over his White House advice.
- All signs point toward it being the time for White House staff to find their own legal representation. The New York Times reported Friday morning that members of the president’s transition team were ordered to preserve documents and other materials related to Russian interference in the election.
- If you’re keeping score of firms involved in the investigation, add McGuireWoods, a perennial white-collar powerhouse in Washington and Virginia, especially for conservatives needing legal help. Vice President Mike Pence hired firm chair Richard Cullen to represent him on the Russia probe.
- Three sticks and the diligent dozen! There appear to be at least 12 lawyers now working for Robert Mueller III on the investigation, with “several more” to come.
- One of them, of course, is named Michael Dreeben, but don’t confuse him with a more politically active Michael Dreeben in Chicago.
- The Washington Post says the investigators are now looking into the business dealings of Jared Kushner, who was previously reported to be under scrutiny because of interactions he had with Russian officials.
- Did I forget to mention the president is now being investigated for obstruction of justice, according to The Washington Post? Although Politico reports Trump “has sometimes, without prompting, injected, ‘I’m not under investigation’ into conversations with associates and allies.”
- Here’s a helpful guide to the major lawsuits against Trump regarding his business interests and possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. Two were added this week.
- We now may know the lawsuit media lawyer Chuck Tobin apparently couldn’t file when he still worked at Holland & Knight. He’s suing the FBI on behalf of CNN for Jim Comey’s memos of his interactions with Donald Trump.
- Will special counsel Robert Mueller get fired? That’s the question that ricocheted around the Washington echo chamber this week. As of Wednesday, following Congressional testimony from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, that answer was no.
- Two Big Law lawyers are one general election in Virginia away from holding statewide office: Venable counsel Justin Fairfax is the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, and McGuireWoods partner John Adams is the Republican nominee for attorney general.
- In the foreign policy realm, the government of Qatar hired former Attorney General John Ashcroft for help with its diplomatic relations, which are in crisis over the accusations that the nation aided terrorists.
- Finally, The Washington Post profiled Jamie Gorelick because of how she’s representing top Republicans after spending years as a force behind Democratic politicians. The story includes this line, which deserves further meditation: “Some longtime friends of Gorelick contacted for this article offered complimentary comments about her on the record, and then, after asking if they could make other remarks without attribution, bashed their colleague to smithereens. Those people will not be quoted in this article, by name or anonymously, as one tiny bulwark against outright awfulness.”