Ronald C. Machen, Leading Trial and White Collar Lawyer, Assumes Chair of WilmerHale’s Litigation Department

Ronald C. Machen, Leading Trial and White Collar Lawyer, Assumes Chair of WilmerHale’s Litigation Department

Firm News

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Ronald C. Machen, one of the nation’s leading trial and white collar defense lawyers, is the new chair of the firm’s pre-eminent Litigation/Controversy Department.

Machen, who served for more than five years as US Attorney for the District of Columbia during the Obama Administration, co-chaired WilmerHale’s White Collar Practice before recently assuming leadership of the entire department. A long-time member of the firm’s Management Committee, his practice has focused on government enforcement actions, corporate and congressional investigations and litigating civil business disputes. He will continue his successful practice while overseeing the department.

As chair, Machen will now lead the firm’s largest department, which numbers more than 600 lawyers alone before counting support staff. The Litigation Department encompasses the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court, Commercial, Government and Regulatory, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration and White Collar litigation practices.

Machen succeeds Howard M. Shapiro, who led the department for 22 years. Shapiro, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, led the integration of the litigation groups of Wilmer Cutler Pickering and Hale and Dorr after the firms’ 2004 merger, and worked tirelessly to help integrate the combined strengths of the litigation, regulatory and securities practices, to build the country’s leading investigations practice.

“Ron is a truly extraordinary lawyer, leader and mentor,” said Robert Novick, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner. “His leadership, knowledge, experience, drive and proven commitment to diversity will take our firm’s biggest department to new levels of achievement as he builds on Howard’s impressive accomplishments.”

“WilmerHale’s corps of litigators is second to none, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead our brilliant, determined and diverse group of attorneys as we tackle our clients’ toughest challenges and continue to achieve the best possible results for them,” Machen said. “I thank my good friend Howard for all his efforts to make our department the industry leader it is today.”

“I am extremely grateful for having had the extraordinary opportunity to lead one of the greatest collections of legal talent anywhere,“ Shapiro said. “Our department is made up not only of great lawyers but also of wonderful people who practice at the highest level consistent with the best traditions of the Bar,” Shapiro said. “I could not be more pleased that Ron, my long-time friend, is the new leader of this formidable group, in whose ranks I will happily remain.”  

Machen joined the firm in 1993 as an associate and left to become a federal prosecutor from 1997 to 2001. He became a partner in 2004.

He departed the firm in 2010 for further public service, becoming US Attorney for the District of Columbia, leading the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. In that role, he supervised more than 600 attorneys and support staff.

As US Attorney, Machen established a reputation as an energetic prosecutor, described in the Washington Post as “a force of nature” who obtained unprecedented results for his office over a five-year period, including convictions of numerous terrorists and spies who threatened national security; corrupt federal and local officials; and scores of violent offenders; along with the recovery of more than $2 billion for American taxpayers. He oversaw the investigation and litigation of major criminal and civil matters concerning government procurement, healthcare fraud, securities fraud, national security, international corruption, economic sanctions, money laundering and structuring and cybersecurity. Machen returned to the firm in 2015.

Machen earned his BA from Stanford University in 1991 and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1994. He also clerked for the Honorable Damon Keith of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Machen has received numerous recognitions and honors during his career, including being named as a Criminal Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, consistently being recognized by Chambers USA for his white collar and government investigations practice and repeatedly being selected by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America. He is also a prior recipient of the Equal Justice Award from the National Bar Association and the “Visionary” award from the Legal Times. He is a Litigation Counsel of America fellow, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a Board Member of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. 

Other leadership changes in the Litigation Department.

Catherine M.A. Carroll was named vice chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Group. A member of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, she is partner-in charge-of the firm’s Washington DC office. Carroll is a nationally recognized appellate litigator with nearly two decades’ experience briefing and arguing cases on a wide range of issues in the US Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeals, representing clients in district court litigation and counseling clients on matters raising complex legal questions. She has argued four cases and briefed dozens more before the US Supreme Court and argued numerous cases in federal appellate courts across the country. She served as a law clerk to Associate Justice David H. Souter of the US Supreme Court and the Honorable Harry T. Edwards of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is a recognized nationwide leader in appellate advocacy, listed by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Legal 500 United States and other legal publications. 

John F. Walsh was named co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice and leads the firm’s investigations and complex civil litigation practice in the Denver office. His practice focuses on complex civil and criminal litigation, internal investigations and international matters. A former US Attorney for the District of Colorado, he has received extensive awards and professional recognition. Most recently, in April 2022, The American Lawyer named Walsh and his team “Litigators of the Week” for their successful representation of DaVita, Inc., winning a jury acquittal on criminal antitrust charges brought by the US Department of Justice. As US Attorney, he had national responsibility as chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of US Attorneys and co-chair of the AGAC's White Collar Crime Subcommittee. He ran for US Senate from Colorado before returning as a partner to WilmerHale. He co-hosts WilmerHale’s In the Public Interest podcast, whose guests share their unique perspectives on challenging issues and topics making headlines. 



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