Welcome
Business & Practice

Boies Schiller Partners Wolosky, Smalls Depart to Jenner & Block

Feb. 2, 2020, 6:01 PM

Lee Wolosky, a former U.S. ambassador and an influential Boies Schiller Flexner partner, has left the firm to join Jenner & Block.

Dawn Smalls, who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, also left her position as a partner at David Boies’ law firm to join the Chicago-founded Jenner & Block.

The departures come a little over a month after Boies Schiller named a next generation of leaders by tapping New York-based Nick Gravante and London-based Natasha Harrison as managing partners alongside Boies and Jonathan Schiller, who have controlled the firm since its 1997 founding. The firm has seen multiple partner departures since.

Jenner & Block late last year named New York-based Katya Jestin and Chicago’s Randy Mehrberg as its new managing partners.

Wolosky and Smalls currently serve as independent monitors of Deutsche Bank related to consent decrees the German bank entered into with the New York State Department of Financial Services, the New York Law Journal reported in October. The consent decrees were related to allegations that the bank had allowed governments including Russia, Iran, and Syria to flout sanctions ordered by the U.S.

Jenner & Block is well-known for conducting large-scale investigations of governments and corporations, as well as for its monitorship practice.

Partner Neil Barofsky has served as an independent monitor of Credit Suisse for two major cases and served as the first special inspector general of the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program. The firm’s lawyers investigated the “Bridgegate” scandal involving former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and notably produced a 2,200-page report on the demise of financial services firm Lehman Brothers.

“There are very few firms that have the bench and background, expertise and resources to do the type of big civil litigation, governmental investigations and crisis response that I do,” Wolosky, who is based in New York and Washington, said. “There is really only one firm that combines all of that and that is why Jenner is really a perfect fit for my practice.”

Wolosky recently served as counsel to former National Security Council member Fiona Hill in her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee as part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He has co-led with Boies the firm’s decade-long representation of former American International Group CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.

He also served as President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, leading U.S. diplomatic efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Obama accorded him the personal rank of ambassador in 2016. He also served in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as director of transnational threats on the National Security Council.

In a 2013 Bloomberg News story detailing Wolosky’s work pursuing a case against the Bank of China, Boies said Wolosky had “developed an increasingly significant part of our practice.”

Smalls served in the Obama administration as the executive secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. In the Clinton administration, she served as assistant to White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. Smalls is based in New York and has been active in politics, competing in the February 2019 special election to serve as New York City Public Advocate.

In addition to Jenner & Block having the capability to serve the duo’s monitorship role, Smalls said she was drawn to the firm by its commitment to public service.

“What was really attractive about Jenner was not only its commitment to pro bono—which is not a one-year thing; it’s a continued commitment—but also, frankly, its commitment to public service,” Smalls said.

Earlier this month, seven partners from Boies Schiller left to launch a boutique firm, Roche Cyrulnik Freedman. A separate three-partner group left Boies Schiller this month to start their own firm in Florida.

“We wish Dawn and Lee well in their future endeavors,” Boies Schiller managing partner Gravante said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in. To learn more about a subscription click here.