The top lawyer from the Trump administration is opening an office in Washington for a West Coast law firm alongside two of his former White House deputies.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone will lead a new branch for Los Angeles-based Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis LLP, the firm said in a statement on Thursday. He’ll be joined by Pat Philbin and Kate Todd, who worked for him in the Trump administration. Cipollone will become a name partner at the firm, which is being re-branded as Ellis George Cipollone.
Cipollone rose to national prominence in 2020 when he defended President Donald Trump at his first impeachment trial in the Senate. He was appointed White House counsel in 2018 and played a central role in the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. He was previously a partner at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner.
Philbin, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, worked in the Justice Department and at Kirkland & Ellis LLP before joining the White House Counsel’s office in 2019. Todd, another Thomas clerk, led the litigation arm of the Chamber of Commerce and was included on Trump’s short list of candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy that Barrett ultimately filled.
In the final days of the administration, Cipollone and Philbin pushed back against Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results, according to a report released this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were both present at a tense meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed installing new leadership at the Justice Department to advance his voter-fraud claims. Participants in the meeting recalled Cipollone describing the plan as a “murder-suicide pact,” the report said.
His new project promises to be less contentious. The office will focus on complex business litigation, investigations and plaintiffs’ work rather than political cases, according to a person familiar with the planning.
Also joining the firm’s Washington office are Sidley Austin LLP’s Richard Klingler, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico Chris Landau, and Katherine Petti, who previously worked at the Washington law firm Williams & Connolly LLP.
(Updates with Senate report in fifth paragraph.)
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