Alice Fisher

Kathryn Ruemmler Kathryn H Ruemmler Kathy Ruemmler Latham Watkins.jpgSuperstar litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler, a litigation partner at Latham & Watkins and an Enron prosecutor before that, has been picked to serve as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Obama Justice Department. That title is a mouthful, but lawyers inside the Beltway know it’s a Big Deal.

The revolving door between the DOJ and Latham swings again. Ruemmler has traded places with another fierce female litigator: Alice Fisher, who rejoined the firm after heading up the Criminal Division.

As for Ruemmler, the government’s gain is Latham’s loss. Says one LW tipster: “She’s a really good lawyer, and a genuinely nice person. We’re very sorry to lose her.”

Kathy Ruemmler isn’t just a genial genius; she’s stylish, too. From the WSJ Law Blog, reporting on a day of the Ken Lay trial:

Speaking of footwear, the boldest fashion statement of the day — possibly rivaling O’Melveny paralegal Bill Evans’s goth getup for the gutsiest sartorial move of the week — came from the government’s Ruemmler. The deputy director of the Enron Task Force, who won convictions against four Merrill Lynch bankers in the 2004 Nigerian Barge case, paired a conservative gray suit with stunning 4-inch bright pink stiletto spikes.

Litigatrix indeed. Just because you work for the DOJ doesn’t mean you have to shop at DSW.

There’s a lot of diversity in Obama’s Department picks so far. Eric Holder, nominated to serve as Attorney General, is African-Amercan. Elena Kagan and Dawn Johnsen, nominated to serve as, respectively, Solicitor General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, are women.

The full memo about Ruemmler’s move, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Kathy Ruemmler from Latham Back to DOJ”

alice fisher alice s fisher.jpgThe problem with being a government lawyer is that you don’t have a lot of control over which “government” you are working for. Even if you have a non-partisan, non-patronage position, anytime a new administration takes power there is the possibility of turmoil.
Like the swallows of Capistrano, now is the season we expect public sector birds to leave their mission and return to their Biglaw vacation grounds.
Yesterday Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher announced that she would be rejoining Latham & Watkins. You might remember Ms. Fisher from our former editor’s open crush on the “brassy, blonde, tough-talking Fisher.” I’m staring right now at the 3 golden locks of Fisher’s hair ATL has “acquired” under questionable circumstances.
Fisher’s new position at Latham will be “global co-chair of the white-collar and government investigations practice group.” It’s good work if you can get it.
More new hires after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Last Call To Cash In Before The Election”

Bill Burck 2 William Burck William A Burck Above the Law.JPGFormer Sullivan & Cromwell associates take many different career paths. Some join smaller firms or go in-house; some file lawsuits against S&C; and some join government service.
Last week we wrote about the high-powered William A. Burck (OT 1999/Kennedy), who has had his ticket punched by some of the legal world’s top employers: Sullivan & Cromwell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, and the White House Counsel’s office. We announced that Burck was leaving the White House for the U.S. Department of Justice, but we didn’t have information on his new post at the DOJ.
We now have that information, courtesy of some Justice Department tipsters. Burck will be serving as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Alice Fisher. From an internal memo that was circulated on Friday by Fisher:

Bill will be responsible for overseeing and advancing the legislative agenda of the Criminal Division, supervising the Office of Policy and Legislation, and representing the Division before the United States Sentencing Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Courts.

In our prior post about this move, we noted the incestuous nature of conservative legal circles. One of our tipsters had this to add:

Re: incestuousness, note that Dabney Friedrich (nee Langhorne) — a former colleague of Bill Burck at the White House [whose nomination to the federal bench was discussed in the same post] — is married to Matt Friedrich, Alice Fisher’s former Chief of Staff/Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Crim (and now a member of AG Gonzales’s staff).

Whew! Did you get all that?
In light of how well Republicans groom their young lawyers (figuratively and literally), we share this commenter’s interest in learning about high-powered young LIBERAL lawyers. We realize that it’s tougher when your party doesn’t control the executive branch, which is home to so many plum executive appointments (and doles out plum judicial ones). But still, we’re curious. We welcome your comments and emails.
It’s not terribly exciting; but if you’d like to see it, Alice Fisher’s memo announcing the arrival of Bill Burck appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: More Info About Bill Burck”


Fred Fielding Fred F Fielding White House Counsel Wiley Rein & Fielding Above the Law.jpgWe previously wrote about President Bush’s selection of Fred Fielding as his new White House counsel. Our coverage was based on a pre-announcement scoop by Time, not an actual announcement from the White House.
Just to close the loop on this, the rumor was correct: Fielding’s selection is now official. Here’s the (predictably bland) White House press release.
From the New York Times:

Mr. Fielding’s agreement to take the job surprised some of his closest friends. The friends said last week, when his name surfaced as a contender for the position, that they would be surprised if he would give up a successful corporate practice for another stint of what promises to be heavy partisan battle at age 67.

Mr. Fielding was deputy counsel to President Richard M. Nixon under John W. Dean III and was White House counsel for the first five years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Further discussion, plus speculation about the next Deputy White House Counsel, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tis Official: Fred Fielding Is In the House”

celebrity celebrities Above the Law legal tabloid legal blog.JPGWe love lists: the Forbes 400, the U.S. News college and law school rankings, or Washingtonian magazine’s list of 40 top lawyers under 40. We love lawyers — which is good, since we spend all day writing about them. And we love fabulous things.
So you can imagine our delight upon seeing this feature from The American Lawyer: The Young Litigators Fab Fifty. It’s a list of 50 top litigators from around the country, all under the age of 45, whom the magazine “expect[s] to see leading the field for years to come.”
You can check out the list here. Regular readers of ATL will recognize many of these youthful luminaries. Here are some highlights:

– Latham & Watkins partner Sean Berkowitz,* the former prosecutor who rose to fame durring the Enron case;

Paul Clement, the U.S. Solicitor General (who was very nice to us);

– Weil Gotshal partner Gregory Coleman and Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz, two top Texas lawyers (and possible Fifth Circuit nominees);

– Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, the delectable DOJ diva;

Jeffrey Fisher, of Davis Wright & Tremaine, SCOTUS lefty litigator extraordinaire (he’s a Bleeding Reinhardt and former JPS clerk);

– Deputy Solicitor General Gregory Garre, Chief Justice Roberts’s former l’il buddy (from his Hogan & Hartson days);

Professor Neal Katyal of Georgetown Law, the “Paris Hilton of the Legal Elite”;

– Alabama’s Solicitor General, Kevin Newsom (amusing story about him here); and

Eugene Scalia, the Gibson Dunn partner and fabled ERISA hottie (and son of Nino).

On the whole, it’s an excellent list. We can think of a few questionable omissions (and a few dubious selections). But with something this subjective, reasonable minds will differ.
Congrats again to the Fab Fifty!
* Does anyone know if Sean Berkowitz and Bethany McLean, the Fortune reporter who covered Enron, are still an item?
The Young Litigators Fab Fifty [American Lawyer]

howard dean young man.jpg* Who is the hottest dean? Your nominations are needed.
(At right: A portrait of Howard Dean as a young man. Seriously.)
* Who is the Paris Hilton of the federal judiciary?
* Are you a professor at a private law school? If so, how much money do you make?
* Why are those Florida judges always getting themselves into trouble?
* It’s interview season — for law firm jobs, judicial clerkships, etc. Do you know the do’s and don’ts of interviewing?
* Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: It’s a tie!
* Congratulations to Alice Fisher and Ken Wainstein, who were (finally) confirmed by the Senate as, respectively, heads of the DOJ’s Criminal Division and National Security Division.
* Outstanding Discovery Requests: Handicapping the Race to Partnership, Skaddenfreude (Academic Salaries), Internal Memos.

ken wainstein kenneth wainstein kenneth l wainstein.jpgOkay, so he’s no Alice Fisher — the ball-busting, badass blonde, recently confirmed to head the DOJ’s Criminal Division, who has white-collar criminals shaking in their boots. But he’s still a highly regarded attorney — and pretty cute, too.
So ATL sends its congratulations to Kenneth L. Wainstein, just confirmed by the Senate as assistant attorney general for the Department’s brand-new National Security Division (NSD). Previously Wainstein served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The Wall Street Journal — which criticized the Democrats for holding up Wainstein’s nomination 4-evah — describes Ken Wainstein’s new job as follows:

Mr. Wainstein is waiting to fill a new post recommended in last year’s Robb-Silberman report to further break down the “wall” between intelligence and law enforcement. The new post would bring Justice’s counterespionage, counterintelligence and wiretapping units under one Assistant AG. Mr. Wainstein would also be the law enforcement world’s primary liaison with the intelligence community.

President Bush approved the change, Congress authorized it while renewing the Patriot Act earlier this year, and Mr. Wainstein’s offices are humming with computers. All that’s missing is a leader.

Letting Wainstein go through was a smart move for the Democrats. We’re no political strategists, but we do know this much: With an election just a few weeks away, it’s unwise for the Democrats to hold up the nomination of someone with the words “National Security” in his title.
Wainstein, by the way, is putting together a real A-team of legal talent over at the NSD, including several members of the Elect. As we previously reported, one of them is conservative legal superstar Brett Gerry — the Silbermaniac and former Kennedy clerk, who was associate general counsel to the Robb-Silberman commission. Also onboard: John Demers (O’Scannlain/Scalia), the affable legal genius who previously did a tour of duty with the Office of Legal Counsel (which works on many national security issues).
So congrats again to Ken Wainstein. And best of luck to his band of brainiacs, as they tackle some of the toughest issues facing our nation.
Kenneth Wainstein bio [WhiteHouse.gov]
Gonzales Statement on Confirmation of Ken Wainstein as Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division [DOJ Press Release]
Security Holdup [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]
Earlier: Congratulations to Alice Fisher!
The White House Counsel’s Office: Here Comes the Cavalry

alice fisher alice s fisher.jpgATL extends its warmest congratulations to Alice S. Fisher, who was just confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division — one of the most important and high-ranking posts at the Department of Justice. The vote was 61-35, with 7 Democrats crossing the aisle to support her.*
The Senate sure took its sweet time in confirming Alice Fisher. Back in August 2005, the White Collar Crime Prof Blog asked: When Will the Senate Confirm Alice Fisher to Lead the Criminal Division? It noted that Fisher was nominated as Crim Div AAG back in April — of 2005, mind you — and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2005.
We’re delighted by this news, ’cause we can’t get enough of the brassy, blonde, tough-talking Fisher. In Washingtonian magazine’s July 2006 list of “40 Top Lawyers Under 40,” Fisher came in second (behind Solicitor General Paul Clement). The magazine quoted lawyers who described Fisher — a 1992 graduate of Catholic University Law School, and a protege of DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff — as a “tornado” during her time at Latham & Watkins (where she was a partner before joining the Justice Department).**
Fisher is a native of Kentucky — but based on her bad-ass demeanor, you’d guess she emerged from the mean streets of Brooklyn (pre-Yuppification). We can still recall Fisher’s press conference announcing charges against disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Fisher held forth like a sheriff from the Old West, making clear to Capitol Hill criminals that she would hunt them down and bring them to justice.
During her remarks, Fisher mispronounced Abramoff’s name — maybe she said something like “uh-BRAM-off” — over and over again. This led some Beltway insiders to snicker; tout le monde knew Jack Abramoff and the proper pronunciation of his name.
But we were loving it. Why? Rumor has it that this DOJ diva knew full well how to pronounce “Abramoff,” but mangled it on purpose — to send him a message. That message: “Congressmen have been kissing your ass for years. Everywhere you go in this town, people treat you like royalty. But to me, Mr. uh-BRAM-off, you’re just another common criminal — and I’m going to treat you like one. Bite me!”
ALICE FISHER 4 EVER!!
* The seven Democrats who supported Fisher were Evan Bayh, Byron Dorgan, Russell Feingold, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor, Kenneth Salazar. One Republican, Norm Coleman, did not vote.
** Michael Chertoff has a long and distinguished list of high-powered proteges. See here.
Gonzales Statement on Confirmation of Alice S. Fisher as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division [DOJ press release]
President Pleased by Senate Confirmation of Alice S. Fisher [WhiteHouse.gov]
When Will the Senate Confirm Alice Fisher to Lead the Criminal Division? [White Collar Crime Prof Blog]
Alice S. Fisher [National Law Journal]