Biglaw, Department of Justice, Money, Neal Katyal, Politics, Senate Judiciary Committee, Solicitor General's Office, White House Counsel

Musical Chairs: Don Verrilli Confirmed As Solicitor General

There was a threat of a filibuster, but it was averted. Last night, the Senate confirmed Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as U.S. solicitor general, by a vote of 72-16.

As one might expect of an SG, Verrilli has an incredible résumé. He graduated from Yale College and Columbia Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review, then clerked for two legendary judges, Judge J. Skelly Wright (D.C. Cir.) and Justice William Brennan.

And that was just the start of a long and phenomenally successful legal career. Let’s go drool over Don Verrilli’s credentials — and check out his net worth, which is quite robust….

Verrilli most recently served as deputy White House counsel (under Bob Bauer, who just announced his return to Perkins Coie). Prior to that, he served as associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. Before the DOJ, Verrilli was a partner in the powerhouse D.C. office of Jenner & Block. Verrilli worked at Jenner for over 20 years, from July 1988 to January 2009.

Jenner is presumably where Verrilli built up his balance sheet. From Main Justice:

On his Senate Judiciary financial disclosure Verrilli reported $4.6 million in assets, including $1 million in cash, $2.3 million in securities and $1.2 million in real estate. He also reported $292,000 in liabilities from mortgages on his residence in Washington, for a net worth of $4.4 million.

Very nice. He seems to be in the same financial ballpark as Katherine Forrest, the former Cravath partner with a net worth north of $4 million. (But query whether Verrilli has the same kind of delicious deferred compensation that Forrest has coming to her.)

Given Verrilli’s amazing accomplishments, as well as the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-1 in favor of Verrilli’s confirmation, why was there a threatened filibuster? As it turns out, the filibuster wasn’t really about Verrilli. As explained by The BLT, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) “has threatened to block Justice Department nominees until he receives greater cooperation with his requests for information from the department.”

Senator Grassley will have to fight that battle on another day. Today we have a new Solicitor General.

Congratulations, Mr. — er, General — Verrilli!

P.S. Addressing SGs as “General” doesn’t really make sense, but it’s one of those odd traditions they have over at the Supreme Court. If you look at oral argument transcripts for cases argued by the SG himself — or herself, in the case of Lady Kaga — you can see the justices addressing the SG as “General.” If it’s good enough for the justices, it’s good enough for me!

P.P.S. Verrilli will take over SG duties from Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who took the helm after Elena Kagan became Justice Kagan (and who was considered for the SG job). Will Katyal remain in the SG’s office under Verrilli, or return to his academic post at Georgetown Law, or do something else entirely? Stay tuned.

Meet Donald B. Verrilli Jr. [Main Justice]
Senate confirms Obama lawyer as solicitor general [Associated Press]
Senate Confirms Verrilli to Solicitor General Post [WSJ Law Blog]
Senate Confirms New U.S. Solicitor General [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

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