WASHINGTON — In recent days, a number of law firms announced leadership changes in Washington.

Last week, Carter Phillips was named the sole chairman of Sidley Austin’s executive committee. Phillips shared the title with Thomas Cole for the past year as part of a transition period. Cole held the title of chairman for the past 15 years.

Phillips previously served as managing partner of Sidley’s Washington office from 1995 to 2012. In addition to his management duties, Phillips said he will continue to maintain his active practice focused on appellate and white-collar work. Phillips said his goal as chairman is to add to the foundation Cole built during the past 15 years.

"The single biggest goal in my mind is to convert the firm from one of the handful of the strongest national law firms with an international footprint to one of the strongest global law firms," Phillips said. "In some ways the most important, immediate perceptive is to strengthen the existing offices."

On Monday Wilkinson Barker Knauer announced that former Department of Energy general counsel Scott Harris joined the firm as a managing partner. Harris shares the title with Bryan Tramont, who practices in communications law and regulation.

Harris most recently served as general counsel and senior vice president at NeuStar Inc., a Sterling, Va.-based technology company. For almost two years starting in May 2009, Harris was the general counsel for the Department of Energy. Before leaving for the government, Harris was a name partner at what is now Wiltshire & Grannis.

In an interview, Harris said that Wilkinson was a natural fit given that he and the firm focus on communications and energy law. Harris said he expects to work on matters all across the energy field, but said that many of the issues confronting clients are related to smart grids, energy distribution and energy efficiency. On the communications side, international, wireless and broadband issues will likely keep Harris busy.

Late Friday Allen & Overy announced Barbara Stettner is taking the role of Washington managing partner. In 2011 Stettner and two other partners helped form Allen & Overy’s Washington office as laterals from O’Melveny & Myers. The firm’s website currently lists 32 attorneys in its Washington office.

Stettner, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is a partner in the financial services regulatory practice with a focus on advising financial institutions.

Matthew Huisman is a reporter with The National Law Journal, a Recorder affiliate.