The Kirkland & Ellis partner picked for U.S. Labor Department solicitor revealed on Friday her compensation and her work for more than 80 clients, including GrubHub Inc., Tribune Publishing Co. and Bain Capital Private Equity, highlighting potential conflicts she could face at the department.
Kate O’Scannlain’s financial disclosure, posted by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, showed her Kirkland compensation as $623,333, with an anticipated annual bonus of between $100,000 and $250,000. The annual salary covers 2016 up to the filing of the disclosure. O’Scannlain has been a Kirkland attorney in Washington for 12 years.
As part of her disclosure, O’Scannlain, a Kirkland partner since 2011, told the office in an ethics pledge she will recuse herself on a case-by-case basis from participation in any particular matter involving parties where her impartiality could be questioned. Executive branch nominees can receive waivers to participate in certain matters connected to their work in private practice.
O’Scannlain’s client list also identified he Blackstone Group, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Accenture and Warburg Pincus. O’Scannlain has represented insurance companies and defended companies against class actions.
O’Scannlain’s husband, Matt Johnson, former chief counsel to Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, works as a principal for the Podesta Group Inc. O’Scannlain said she will not participate in any matters involving his company, unless she obtains authorization through a waiver.
Several other Kirkland lawyers are awaiting confirmation for key posts in the Trump administration—including Brian Benczkowski, a white-collar litigation partner nominated to lead the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division, and Jeffrey Clark, the White House’s pick for the Justice Department’s environment and natural resources division. Last month, Trump nominated John Lausch Jr., a Kirkland partner in Chicago, to lead the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois. Beth Williams, a Washington partner, was confirmed in August as the head of DOJ’s office of legal policy. The American Lawyer reported in April that Kirkland’s gross revenue and partner profits had reached new highs.
As Labor Department solicitor, the No. 3 position at the agency, O’Scannlain would oversee 500 lawyers. She would find herself a central player in the Trump administration’s entanglement over immigration, and she would oversee several major cases in which the department sued companies—including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Oracle Corp.—for alleged gender-pay discrimination.
O’Scannlain’s father is Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Kate O’Scannlain was reportedly among the candidates the Trump administration considered this year for a slot on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
A hearing date for O’Scannlain’s confirmation in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has not been set.