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by Vault Law Editors | December 12, 2008


Yesterday, we introduced a mishmash of Obama appointees and hopefuls whose roots?or current practice?lie in BigLaw. Today, we tighten our focus to the DOJ, the FTC and the judiciary.

WilmerHale?s David Ogden, for starters, leads Obama?s transitional efforts on a Justice Department that will be helmed by Covington & Burling partner Eric Holder if congressional Republicans manage to forgive him for helping clear Marc Rich. A slew of BigLawyers are jockeying for position further down the food chain?The Deal provides a fairly exhaustive rundown here. Assisting Ogden, meanwhile, is a trio of legal academics comprising a former employment litigator with D.C. boutique Bredhoff & Kaiser, a current OMM of counsel, and a constitutional law professor who we suspect shares a name with at least one ?80s adult film star.

On the commerce side, Arnold & Porter antitrust chair William Baer and Hogan & Hartson partner Christine Varney are apparently top prospects to head the Fair Trade Commission; the fact that Baer counts former FTC chief and transition team advisor Robert Pitofsky as a co-worker can?t hurt. And in the White House itself, former attorneys for firms such as Shearman & Sterling, Shea & Gardner (now Goodwin Procter), and?shocker of the day?Sidley & Austin will soon roam the hallowed halls (the story of Obama HLS classmate Chris Lu sounds strangely familiar). Other notables with law firm pedigree? Cabinet nominees Tom Daschle (presently a ?senior strategist? for Alston & Bird), Janet Napolitano (former Lewis and Roca partner and Anita Hill counsel) and, of course, Hillary (a patent and IP partner with Little Rock?s Rose Law Firm?yeah, the Whitewater one?during the ?70s and ?80s). The latter?s reputedly still upset that her billables dropped when she became Arkansas? First Lady.

Finally, the judiciary: As he waits for aging High Court liberals to take their bows, Obama will keep busy filling 15 federal appellate-level vacancies come January 20th. There?s also the prospect of more seats to come: Democrats, bolstered by a new (albeit non-supermajority) advantage in the Senate, may reintroduce failed legislation that would create a dozen new appellate seats and 43 more trial court judgeships. The President-elect has remained tight-lipped on who he envisions filling these posts, offering only that he?ll seek qualified candidates who display ?empathy? for minorities, gays, single mothers and the disabled, The National Law Journal reports. Cleary, Boies, MoFo: Start your engines.

- posted by ben fuchs


Filed Under: Law