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Washington Wrap: Straight to Partner; Butswinkas Boomerangs; Covington's Billions

Candace McLaren of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

Washington Wrap is a weekly look at industry news and Big Law moves shaping the legal business in Washington, D.C. Send news tips and lateral moves to Ryan Lovelace at rlovelace@alm.com.

The era of President Donald Trump has helped pave a path for nontraditional laterals into the Washington world of Big Law. But nontraditional does not mean unprepared.

Candace McLaren joined Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr as partner in D.C. this week with no prior experience working at a law firm. That’s because McLaren has spent her career of public service working in government and public universities.

She is joining Saul Ewing’s litigation and higher education practices after decades at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Department of Education, New York University and most recently at the U.S. Department of Education. Her practice at Saul Ewing—which is coming off a year of revenue and profit growth—will involve Title IX compliance, issues involving the Clery Act, and a host of related federal and state laws.

“I was really always one who wanted to be in the mix and to get my hands dirty, so law firms really initially at least weren’t something that I was looking at,” McLaren said. “When I started looking into Saul and hearing about its reputation and the work that it does, I realized that these people are actually getting their hands dirty, they are actually in the trenches alongside their clients.”

Given her breadth of experience in public institutions, she said she considered job opportunities in higher education and other legal jobs, but knew Saul Ewing was a good fit for her during her first meeting with them. Ultimately, McLaren said, she went through 13 interviews with the firm before coming on board.

She pointed to meetings with William Nussbaum, a D.C.-based partner handling complex litigation for educational institutions, and James Keller, a Philadelphia-based co-chair of the firm’s higher education and K-12 schools practices, as helping to seal the deal.

McLaren joined the U.S. Department of Education in August in 2016, motivated by her interest in investigative compliance and a desire to be closer to her family in the Maryland area, she said. Her career plans changed when Trump won an unexpected election.

“I was hired and began in August 2016, and woke up November 2016 and the landscape had changed. It had changed,” McLaren said. “I don’t think it’s any secret that government entities across the United States have had to suffer with budget cuts and hiring freezes and things of that nature that make it difficult to backfill vacancies and to do this type of work.”

Now in private practice, McLaren plans to assist the thousands of schools working to comply with Title IX and the Clery Act that have responsibility for millions of students—and that need proactive help to get things right.

Law Firm Moves, News & Notes

Speaking of unusual career trajectories, Dane Butswinkas is back at Williams & Connolly full-time, two months after becoming Tesla’s general counsel.

Butswinkas was chairman of Williams & Connolly’s executive committee before stepping aside for the new role at Tesla. Joseph Petrosinelli became Williams & Connolly’s chairman when Butswinkas exited that position, and he's remaining in that role.

Covington & Burling posted 2018 revenues exceeding $1 billion as part of what firm chair Timothy Hester said were the “best financial results our firm has ever had.”

Alongside gross revenues at Covington climbing more than 18 percent, profits per equity partner rose 12.1 percent, or up $191,000.

Squire Patton Boggs scored a pair of sought-after ex-congressmen this week: U.S. Reps. Joe Crowley, D-New York, and Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania. The duo is headed to Squire’s global public policy practice.

Crowley served in Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives until losing to a primary challenger, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Shuster retired at the end of 2018.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius said this week it was adding Chai Feldblum, former member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Feldblum and her former chief of staff, Sharon Masling, will lead investigations and cultural assessments for corporate clients. The pair most recently worked together at Georgetown University Law Center.

DLA Piper said this week former federal cybcercrime prosecutor Edward McAndrew was joining the firm as partner in its intellectual property and technology practice.

McAndrew was most recently co-chair of Ballard Spahr’s privacy and data security group before moving to DLA Piper.

Read More

Covington Surpasses $1 Billion in Revenue, Capping a Decade of Rapid Growth

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