Back in October, we wrote about D.C. powerhouse lawyer Lanny Davis moving from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott Will & Emery. He was joined in his Orrick-to-McDermott move by Eileen O’Connor, the journalist-turned-lawyer who worked with him in his crisis management practice.

Now, just a few months later, it appears that Davis is striking out on his own. From the Washington Post:

Lanny J. Davis, the former White House counsel and longtime Clinton booster, is launching his own eponymous law-and-lobbying shop, according to a draft announcement obtained by The Post. Lanny J. Davis & Associates LLP will provide “a unique combination of traditional legal and litigation services plus media/crisis management, and legislative/public policy strategies to solve U.S. and international client problems,” the announcement says. Davis, a cable television staple who has often run afoul of more liberal Democrats, highlights his avowed centrism as a prime benefit for potential clients….

The new venture means Davis will step down as partner at the global law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, but he says he will continue to write a column for “The Hill” newspaper and contribute to a legal strategies blog that he began last year.

We reached out to McDermott, and a firm spokesperson confirmed that Davis is leaving the firm.

So who else is going with him, and what prompted the move?

The MWE spokesperson, in response to our inquiry, stated that no other McDermott lawyers are leaving with Davis. Specifically, Eileen O’Connor is staying put.

(Of course, two of the other lawyers who worked in the crisis management practice with Davis and O’Connor, Adam Goldberg and Joshua Galper, remain at Orrick. So it’s a bit like a classic rock band that has broken up.)

What prompted Davis’s departure, so soon after arriving? According to the BLT:

His longtime colleague Eileen O’Connor, who is counsel to McDermott, said Davis decided to make the move because of the client conflicts that were arising at a 1,200-lawyer firm.

“This is something he’s always wanted to do. Moving to a smaller shop will give him a lot more flexibility in the practice he has developed,” O’Connor said. She added that it will also allow him to hire non-lawyers.

UPDATE / CLARIFICATION: O’Connor contacted us to emphasize that no actual, specific client conflicts led to Davis’s departure. Rather, it was more a matter of an ability to do even greater cross-marketing (between McDermott and Davis’s new firm, and otherwise).

We suspect that there’s more here than meets the eye (although perhaps we’re wrong). A McDermott spokesperson did not immediately respond to a follow-up inquiry from us regarding why Davis left. But if you have some info, feel free to email us (subject line: “Lanny Davis”). Thanks.

FURTHER UPDATE: We spoke with Lanny Davis about his new venture. Read more here.

Davis Hanging Out His Shingle [Washington Post]
Lanny Davis Strikes Out on His Own [The BLT: The Blog of the Legal Times]

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


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