Today the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale) is pleased to announce that former Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel Stephen W. Preston has rejoined the firm. Mr. Preston recently left the federal government as the senior-most, longest-serving national security counsel appointed in the Administration and the only person ever to have served as the chief legal officer of both DoD and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). At WilmerHale, he will chair the firm’s Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice and counsel clients on their most difficult defense, intelligence and national security issues.
“We are pleased that Stephen has chosen to rejoin WilmerHale. His profile and credibility as a leading lawyer in the executive branch, combined with his unique experience advising on the most challenging and consequential issues confronting our country, represent rare and standout capability. Stephen is ideally suited to handle some of our clients’ most sensitive matters,” said Robert Novick, co-managing partner at WilmerHale.
“Stephen has a terrific reputation in the defense and intelligence community. His knowledge extends into nearly every facet of legal work affecting that community, including investigations, government contracts, CFIUS, cybersecurity, crisis management and litigation,” said Jamie Gorelick, chair of WilmerHale’s Regulatory and Government Affairs Department and herself a former General Counsel of DoD as well as Deputy Attorney General of the United States.
Mr. Preston was appointed DoD General Counsel by President Barack Obama, following Senate confirmation, in October 2013. He had previously served as CIA General Counsel from 2009 to 2013. His responsibilities in both capacities covered a wide range of issues related to companies dealing with the government, including competition and M&A review, foreign investment in the US, cyber intrusions, criminal and civil enforcement, and congressional investigations.
Mr. Preston first joined WilmerHale in 1986 and became a partner in 1991. He left the firm in 1993 to become Principal Deputy General Counsel of DoD during the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he moved to the US Department of Justice as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division, and he served as General Counsel of the Navy from 1998 to 2000. He returned to the firm in 2000, where he was a partner until 2009.
“It was a great privilege to serve in the Obama Administration and enormously rewarding to play a part in the nation’s defense. I am excited to be back at WilmerHale and leading what I believe is the premier national security practice in the country,” said Mr. Preston.
Mr. Preston received a BA from Yale University in 1979, and then attended Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, graduating with a JD in 1983. Mr. Preston is currently the Ruebhausen Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.