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Jones Day Hires Trump’s Acting Homeland Security GC Mizelle

Jan. 28, 2021, 4:45 PM

Jones Day has hired Chad Mizelle, a politically appointed lawyer in the Trump administration who worked in the Justice Department and White House before serving as acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security.

The hire extends Jones Day’s connections to former Trump administration lawyers at a time when many Big Law firms are distancing themselves from the former president. After graduating law school in 2013, Mizelle worked as an associate at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, another prominent Big Law firm, before his work at the Justice Department began in 2017.

Among Big Law firms, Jones Day had arguably the closest connections to former President Trump, starting with Don McGahn, who was a lawyer for the 2016 campaign and served as Trump’s first and most prominent White House counsel before returning to Jones Day in 2019. The firm sent more than a dozen lawyers into government positions early in Trump’s term.

Noel Francisco, who served as solicitor general under Trump, was promoted to head Jones Day’s Washington office earlier this week.

Mizelle will be “of counsel” at Jones Day, a position below partner that doesn’t receive compensation from a law firm’s annual profit pool. The firm said Mizelle’s work at DHS included advising on transactions reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). That committee has become more important in the types of international transactions Jones Day and other large law firms compete to handle.

Mizelle will work out of the firm’s Miami and Washington offices as a member of its government regulation practice.

Mizelle’s wife, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, is a former Jones Day associate who was nominated by the Trump administration to serve as a federal judge in central Florida. She became one of the youngest federal judges last year despite the American Bar Association rating her “not qualified” due to lack of experience.

A number of Big Law firms dropped the former president as a client following the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill that resulted in at least five deaths and Trump’s second impeachment. Before that, major law firms working on lawsuits challenging election results received criticism from groups such as The Lincoln Project, which consists of conservative lawyers who opposed president Trump.

Jones Day leaders came under fire for the firm’s role in a Pennsylvania lawsuit that challenged a rule change extending time for mail-in ballots to arrive, Bloomberg reported in November. At the time, Kevyn Orr, now the firm’s partner-in-charge for the U.S., defended the firm’s work in an internal conference call with Jones Day’s own lawyers and said it wouldn’t become involved in any other post-election challenges.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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