WilmerHale Forms Public Policy Practice

WilmerHale Forms Public Policy Practice


WilmerHale announced today the formation of a Public Policy and Strategy practice to be co-chaired by C. Boyden Gray, former Counsel to President George H.W. Bush, and Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General and Department of Defense General Counsel.

Three lawyers returning to the firm – Robert M. Kimmitt, former Ambassador to Germany; Edward T. Tobin III, former Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association; and Reginald J. Brown, former Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush – will help lead this practice.

Tobin will serve as Vice Chair of the practice group. The practice will call upon the skills of scores of partners with senior level government experience.

Business today increasingly faces the challenge of limiting reputational as well as legal exposure, and major companies at home and abroad are seeking seasoned counsel capable of providing strategic advice that integrates legal, public policy, political and even media considerations. The Public Policy and Strategy practice consolidates the extensive work that the firm’s lawyers do across the public policy landscape, from providing broad-gauged advice to companies or industries on how to manage public policy risk, to crafting legislative or regulatory solutions to problems, to strategic support for proposed business transactions or initiatives, to crisis management and the response to congressional investigations.

“We are pleased to be able to offer our clients bi-partisan solutions to the policy challenges they face,” said William F. Lee and William J. Perlstein, co-managing partners of WilmerHale. “Today, businesses must manage policy risk just as they manage financial and operational risk. The Public Policy and Strategy practice will fill that role for our clients.”

Kimmitt, Tobin, and Brown will join the new practice group. Kimmitt practiced at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering from 1997-2000; Tobin previously practiced at Hale and Dorr from 1990-1993; and Brown practiced at the firm from 1997-99. The two firms merged in May 2004.

“These three lawyers bring a wealth of experience in the public policy arena,” said Perlstein and Lee, “and we are confident they, along with Jamie Gorelick, Boyden Gray and other Wilmer Hale lawyers here with relevant government experience will quickly establish the Public Policy and Strategy practice as a leader in the area.”

Robert M. Kimmitt

Kimmitt is the former US Ambassador to Germany, a position he held from 1991-93. From 1989-91, Kimmitt was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Kimmitt served as General Counsel to the US Treasury Department. From 1983-85 he was Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the White House.

In a career spanning four decades, he has not only served in numerous capacities in the US government, but he has also worked at the highest levels of major corporations and spent many years in private legal practice. His varied legal, government and executive experience will be invaluable to companies doing business across oceans and international borders.

Most recently, Kimmitt was Executive Vice President for Global Public Policy at Time Warner, where he now serves as Chairman of the Time Warner International Advisory Council. Prior to joining Time Warner, he was Vice Chairman and President of Commerce One, a software company headquartered in San Francisco. As partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering until 2000, Kimmitt focused on international transactions in regulated industries, especially in areas of defense, aerospace, telecommunications and banking.

In addition to joining the Public Policy and Strategy practice, Kimmitt will also be a member of the firm’s Defense, National Security and Government Contracts practice group.

Edward T. Tobin III

As Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Tobin successfully established the RGA as an independent political organization and served as the Republican Governors’ primary liaison to the White House, senior Administration officials and Congressional leaders regarding public policy matters. During his three-year tenure, Tobin helped increase the Republican majority in the nation’s statehouses. Earlier in his career, Tobin served as Chief Secretary to Massachusetts Governor William Weld.

Tobin brings to the practice experience in both state and federal policy making and a practical understanding of the policy needs of the firm’s corporate clients. He served as Deputy General Counsel for Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington and Vice President for Public Policy at US WEST, Inc. As a litigator at Hale and Dorr, Tobin handled white-collar criminal cases and business litigation.

In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the Public Policy and Strategy practice, Tobin will be a member of the Government Litigation and Strategy practice group and the Investigations and Criminal Litigation practice group.

Reginald J. Brown

Brown most recently served as Special Assistant and Associate White House Counsel to President George W. Bush. He was the lead lawyer for the White House Office of Political Affairs through the 2004 Presidential election cycle, and served as the White House Counsel’s Office liaison to the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development. Like Kimmitt and Tobin, Brown’s practical experience also spans the policy and corporate landscape. He previously served as Assistant to the CEO and Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and as the Deputy General Counsel to Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Brown was a regulatory lawyer and litigator at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering from 1997-99 in the firm’s Financial Services and International practice groups.

In addition to joining the Public Policy and Strategy practice, Brown will also be a member of the firm’s Financial Institutions practice group.