“[Comey’s] mistakes for the most part are tough judgment calls,” says TMG’s Steve Nelson in an article by The National Law Journal. “The question will be, will firms worry about their corporate clients?”
By Katelyn Polantz | May 11, 2017
After upending the presidential election and making enemies in both parties and the White House, James Comey leaves the FBI with some unusual political baggage.
What does that mean for his prospects in private practice?
“I think it’s a little soon to say,” said former Watergate special prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, who is now a partner at Mayer Brown and who otherwise declined to comment. “I think Mr. Comey’s posture right now is sui generis.”
But with a resume that few other former government officials can match, many law firms will see Comey as a big catch, assuming he’s interested.
“Is anybody going to hire him to go against the Trump Justice Department? It might be a little difficult. But I think it’ll eventually blow over,” said James Koukios, a white-collar partner at Morrison & Foerster, after the president fired Comey this week.
Steve Nelson, a headhunter for the McCormick Group who has placed former prosecutors in private practice, said Comey’s expertise is an obvious draw for big corporate law firms. Comey not only served as deputy U.S. attorney general, as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and as a senior prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia, but he also practiced previously at two defense firms—Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and McGuireWoods—and was general counsel of Lockheed Martin and mega-hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
The optics of him working for a public company given the current political uproar may be more difficult to navigate, Nelson said.
“His mistakes for the most part are tough judgment calls,” Nelson said. “The question will be, will firms worry about their corporate clients?”
Top government lawyers do sometimes struggle to find a place in private practice. Often the exiles are hard-nosed prosecutors or regulators who made enemies in an industry, then have difficulty signing corporate clients they previously opposed.
Other times the political element is more obvious. Former White House Counsel and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales infamously could not find a firm to join after he resigned from the George W. Bush administration. He eventually landed at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Tennessee in 2011 and is now dean at Belmont University College of Law.
Just as often, lawyers who faced political heat bounce back […]
To read the rest of the article, go to | The National Law Journal
To contact Steve Nelson, go to | Steve Nelson