Biglaw, Federal Government, Media and Journalism, Politics

A Look at Orrick’s Crisis Management Practice

Orrick logo.JPGLast week we wrote about the move of prominent D.C. lawyers Lanny Davis and Eileen O’Connor from Orrick to McDermott Will & Emery. Am Law Daily described the jump as follows: “Lanny Davis, a longtime Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush, is taking his unique practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott, Will & Emery.”

It’s not the case, however, that the entire practice moved. As noted by one commenter, the rest of the legal strategic and crisis management practice remained with Orrick. Consistent with this, an Orrick spokesperson issued the following statement to ATL:

We wish Lanny and Eileen well, but Orrick’s law, policy, media, and crisis management practice remains vibrant and strong with continuing plans for expansion and will keep delivering its unique blend of legal, public relations and government affairs counsel to our clients around the world.

Remaining at Orrick are partners Adam Goldberg, who was co-chair of the practice with Davis, and Joshua Galper. Goldberg and Galper will head the practice going forward. In addition, the associates who work in and with the law, policy and media group are staying at Orrick.

As for clients, it’s not yet clear which ones will stay with Orrick and which will move to McDermott. “Thankfully, this is a practice where we’ve always had plenty of work, so that’s not an issue,” Galper said. (We’d guess, however, that certain clients closely tied to Davis — like CEAL, the Honduras business group supporting the coup in that country — will travel with him.)

Get to know Messrs. Galper and Goldberg, and read more about Orrick’s very interesting and unusual practice area, after the jump.

From the perspective of lawyers who work (or aspire to work) in it, what’s so appealing about Orrick’s crisis management practice is that the work is challenging and varied. It’s not just straight-up litigation; it also involves dealing with government officials, regulators, policymakers, and journalists (surely the best part). The fact that the work is high-profile and high-stakes — and, presumably, high-paying — is also nice.

The crisis management practice appeals to clients as well. If you’re a major corporation faced with a crisis, your problem is a problem on many levels: it’s a legal problem, a political problem, and a public relations problem. Working with a crisis management practice ensures that efforts on these various fronts are handled in a coordinated way. And working with lawyers, of course, gives you the protection of attorney-client privilege. (Read more about Orrick’s group here.)

Adam Goldberg Adam W Goldberg Joshua Galper Josh Galper Joshua P Galper Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe.jpgOrrick partner Adam Goldberg (top right), a graduate of Tufts and Harvard Law, is well-equipped to handle crises. He served in the White House counsel’s office from 1996 to 1999 — yup, the Monica years (weren’t they great?) — and he also served as a White House spokesman, fielding up to 100 media calls a day. He also worked at several other leading D.C. law firms prior to Orrick, including Swidler Berlin, before joining the Clinton Administration, and Covington & Burling and Patton Boggs, after leaving government service.

His fellow partner and group co-chair, Josh Galper (bottom right), is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School (where we were classmates; we’ll be seeing him at our reunion later this month). Galper also has extensive experience in law, communications, and strategy. He worked on Capitol Hill, for former Senator David Boren (D-OK), and he also served as press secretary for the University of Oklahoma (after Senator Boren became its president). Galper has worked on numerous presidential and other political campaigns, including those of Bill Bradley, John Kerry, and President Obama.

So how did the Orrick group come together? Well, in a very “D.C.” sort of way: working relationships forged in the public sector, on political campaigns and in government service, carried over into the private sector. (This happens in reverse as well; for example, Eric Holder and Gregory Craig have brought over a number of their Covington and Williams & Connolly colleagues to the Justice Department and the White House counsel’s office, respectively.)

Adam Goldberg and Lanny Davis worked together on the 1996 Clinton campaign, and then again in the White House counsel’s office after Clinton’s reelection. Davis left when the fun started — i.e., at the beginning of L’Affaire Lewinsky — to join Patton Boggs, the first home of the law / media / policy practice. In 2002, Davis recruited Goldberg, who was then at Covington, to help grow the practice at Patton Boggs.

Galper and Davis also had a great deal in common. E.g., Yale College, the Yale Daily News, and Yale Law School — boola boola! The two got to know each other when Galper worked together with Lanny Davis’s wife, Carolyn, during the Palm Beach recount of 2000. Davis started recruiting Galper then, and Galper joined the group at Patton Boggs in summer 2003 (after stints working for some big D.C. names, including Rahm Emanuel, Robert Reich, and Gov. Brad Henry).

In fall 2003, the crisis management group moved from Patton Boggs to Orrick. Davis, Goldberg and Galper practiced together at Orrick for six years, where they handled a number of important and high-profile matters. E.g., the Whole Foods / Wild Oats antitrust matter (a good example of a crisis management engagement, since it involved litigation, regulatory, and media campaign components).

Alas, just like the Beatles, the band has broken up: Davis and O’Connor have shifted over to McDermott Will, while Goldberg and Galper are staying put at Orrick. All good things must come to an end.

It’s not clear what exactly prompted the split (although feel free to email us with info). It’s worth noting, however, that Davis and O’Connor are joining MWE’s regulatory and government strategies practice group, while Goldberg and Galper are staying in Orrick’s legal strategic and crisis management practice, a subset of the firm’s litigation group. Perhaps this reflects a slight divergence in terms of emphasis, in terms of government strategies / lobbying versus litigation (although it seems that both groups will continue to have rather interdisciplinary practices).

In any event, good luck to Adam Goldberg and Josh Galper as they continue their innovative and unique practice at Orrick. In this day and age, crisis management seems like a growth area.

Earlier: Musical Chairs: Lanny Davis and Eileen O’Connor Leave Orrick for McDermott

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