Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has added to its arsenal of former federal prosecutors, hiring former New Orleans U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite as a partner on the firm’s global disputes and investigations team.
Polite served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 2013 to 2017, overseeing 55 prosecutors. After resigning from that post early last year, he became vice president and chief compliance officer for Entergy, an energy utility company and a Morgan Lewis client.
The move, which becomes official Aug. 20, marks a return to law firm work for Polite, who was a shareholder and leader of the white-collar practice at New Orleans midsize firm Liskow & Lewis before his U.S. attorney appointment. He hadn’t been planning to leave Entergy, but when his wife, Florencia Greer Polite, was offered a leadership position at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, it meant a family move to Philadelphia, he said.
Polite worked closely with Morgan Lewis partner Zane David Memeger when they were both U.S. attorneys—Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. When Polite learned he would be coming to Philadelphia, he got in touch with Memeger, he said. Memeger rejoined Morgan Lewis at the beginning of last year.
A number of other former federal prosecutors also work at Morgan Lewis, including Colm Connolly, former U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, and Ronald Tenpas, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.
In shifting from his in-house practice, Polite said he is looking forward to “being able to join a strong team where I can really leverage the relationships … and simply be a strong addition to the work they’re doing on behalf of some of our fantastic clients.”
While the New Orleans native will maintain professional relationships and continue to work with Entergy as a client, he said, he will spend most of his time in Philadelphia and New York. He is also barred in Delaware, he noted.
Polite started his career as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and later served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York before returning to New Orleans.
“Kenneth possesses a strong background in both the public and private sectors,” Morgan Lewis litigation head J. Gordon Cooney said in a statement Wednesday. “His work spans geographies and has included significant time on energy, health care, environmental, and other white-collar and civil litigation matters.”
Also in a statement, Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said, “our clients will be well served by Kenneth’s government and private industry experience.”