Laura Perkins

After nearly a decade working for the U.S. Department of Justice, Laura Perkins is getting off the federal government’s payroll for a life in private practice.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed announced Thursday that it had hired Perkins as a partner for its anticorruption, internal investigations and white-collar regulatory defense group in Washington, D.C.

“It felt like time to make the transition in my career,” Perkins said of her departure from Main Justice. “I really [had] accomplished and done most of what I set out to do when I went into government service, so this felt like a great time to [go into] private practice.”

Perkins spent the past 10 years in the fraud section of the Justice Department’s criminal division, where she most recently served as assistant chief for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement. She first joined Main Justice in 2007 from Latham & Watkins, where she had spent the previous six years as an associate.

Perkins’ first role in the Justice Department’s fraud section was as a trial attorney in the criminal division, where she would eventually rise to the role of senior trial attorney before being appointed assistant chief of the FCPA unit in 2015. It was in the FCPA unit that Perkins supervised and directed hundreds of investigations and prosecutions of business executives and companies for foreign bribery violations.

She also assisted in the development of an FCPA pilot program that was created to motivate companies to voluntarily report misconduct and cooperate with the fraud section in order to comply with federal regulations. In June, Perkins was part of one of the new Trump administration’s first FCPA-related actions, a declination to prosecute Linde North America Inc. and Linde Gas North America.

For her move to Hughes Hubbard, Perkins used the services of Major, Lindsey & Africa legal recruiter Jane Sullivan Roberts, a former partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and the wife of current U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. At Hughes Hubbard, Perkins plans on using her government experience to develop a white-collar criminal defense practice with a particular focus on handling anticorruption matters for clients at Hughes Hubbard, a New York-based firm known for its FCPA expertise.

“For almost 10 years I handled [FCPA], securities fraud and health care fraud investigations and prosecutions at the department,” Perkins said. “I’m sort of ready to use that experience now to help companies with compliance programs, investigating potential wrongdoing and if the compliance programs fail, eventually defend companies or individuals facing government investigations.”

Perkins said that she plans on working closely with Kevin Abikoff, deputy chair of Hughes Hubbard and co-chair of the firm’s anticorruption and internal investigations and securities litigation practice groups, as well as partners Edward Little, Elizabeth Prewitt and Marc Weinstein. Little heads Hughes Hubbard’s white-collar group and co-chairs the firm’s securities litigation practice with Abikoff, while Prewitt is a member of the executive committee and co-chair of the antitrust group.

“I’m definitely looking forward to working with the attorneys here at Hughes Hubbard to [help] companies navigate the enforcement arena and to help them in developing and maintaining compliance programs,” said Perkins, joking that she will also “hopefully help them to not face the enforcement arena in the first place.”

Despite losing Daniel Schnapp, the chair of its media, entertainment and technology practice to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in June, Hughes Hubbard has made several additions over the summer. That same month the firm picked up Reed Smith partner Alexandra Poe, co-chair of her former firm’s private fund formation practice, for its investment management group in New York, where Hughes Hubbard also hired Greenberg Traurig trusts and estates partner Parker Taylor.

In May, Hughes Hubbard added international trade counsel Sean Kane in New York and Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, where he was a deputy assistant director for policy. The firm also recruited Dean Pinkert, a former vice chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission, as a partner in New York.

Earlier this week, Hughes Hubbard did see aviation and equipment finance expert Brian Liu— promoted to partner at the firm on Jan. 1—leave its New York office for Debevoise & Plimpton, where he is now also a partner. Gabrielle Glemann, who was promoted to counsel at Hughes Hubbard in January, also left the firm’s New York headquarters in May to become of counsel at Stoel Rives in Seattle. Hughes Hubbard litigation partner Wilfred Coronato also left the firm that same month for McCarter & English.

CORRECTION: 9/8/17, 11:45 a.m. EDT. An initial version of this story had an inaccurate title for Perkins in the FCPA unit.