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Amazon, Google Tap Big Law to Bolster In-House Ranks

July 21, 2020, 10:47 PM Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google LLC have hired a pair of public policy experts to expand their antitrust and energy capabilities.

Sean Pugh and James “Jamey” Goldin left Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, respectively, this month for in-house legal roles at the technology giants.

Pugh, a former Senate Judiciary Committee staffer who served as antitrust counsel to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), confirmed in an email that he joined Amazon’s public policy shop July 6.

“I will be working on competition issues, primarily speaking to Republicans on the Hill about antitrust topics, first in the House and later in the Senate once my one-year lobbying ban lifts next March,” said Pugh, now a senior manager for public policy at Amazon.

Pugh joined Amazon after five months at Faegre Drinker, a law firm that hired him as counsel in March for its litigation group in Washington. Faegre Drinker advised Boulder, Colo.-based warehouse robotics startup Canvas Technology LLC on its $100 million sale to Amazon in 2019.

Amazon faces an array of antitrust issues as it delivers goods to customers home bound due to the coronavirus crisis. Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that Amazon set a new quarterly record by spending $4.38 million on lobbying.

Google, currently coping with its own myriad antitrust and regulatory issues, brought on another Big Law refugee in Goldin as the company looks to make inroads in the renewable energy arena.

Goldin, a former chief legal counsel and chief of staff in the South Carolina House, is now an energy regulatory counsel for global energy markets and policy at Google, where he’s responsible for the company’s legal, regulatory, and policy initiatives in eastern North America.

More Internal Additions

Nelson Mullins hired Goldin in June 2019 as a government relations partner in Columbia, S.C.

During his time at the firm, Goldin did client work for Google, which helped streamline his move in-house to advise the company as it seeks to “achieve its carbon free reliable energy goals,” he wrote in an email.

Goldin added that once Google lifts its coronavirus-related relocation restrictions he will be based out of Atlanta, where Google has invested heavily in offices and data centers. Goldin isn’t the only lawyer to have recently taken a new legal and regulatory role at Google.

Reginald McKnight, a former Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr counsel in Washington who in 2018 became head of state policy and government affairs at Waymo LLC, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, earlier this year became Google’s new head of public policy, external affairs, and community development. Google also added former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld litigation counsel Diana Schaffner in San Francisco as a product counsel in May.

Amazon, which in June paid an undisclosed sum to acquire driverless technology company Zoox Inc., has also been busy this year building out its in-house workplace safety and health compliance team and launching a counterfeit crimes unit led by former federal prosecutor Cristina Posa.

Other in-house additions at Amazon include former Davis Wright Tremaine counsel James Wendell in Seattle and former Cozen O’Connor partner Samantha Mazo in Washington. In June, Amazon brought on former Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart labor and employment partner Douglas Topolski.