Wake Up Call: With Liu Out, Barr Mulls Ex-White House Lawyer for No. 3 DOJ Slot, Report Says

April 5, 2019, 11:11 AM
  • Attorney General William Barr is said to be considering former White House lawyer Claire Murray to be the Justice Department’s No. 3 attorney, which would put her in charge of DOJ civil litigation. Murray, already on Barr’s staff, is a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis, where Barr previously worked. She also previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a federal appeals judge. (National Law Journal)

  • Those are conservative creds that D.C. federal attorney Jessie Liu apparently lacked. Liu withdrew last week as President Donald Trump’s pick for the No. 3 justice job, after some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee complained about her membership a decade ago in the National Association of Women Lawyers, in particular because the group supported abortion and fought Alito’s nomination to the court. (BLAW via BLB)

  • In the House, the Democratic leader of a key committee made a narrow request for several of Trump’s business tax returns. That could be the first step in unraveling the president’s business empire, according to a report. (Bloomberg Tax)

  • But Trump told reporters yesterday that if Democrats want to see his tax returns, they’ll have to go through his lawyers. (New York Post) Meanwhile, the Times reports that the president has been pushing Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get California lawyer Michael Desmond confirmed as chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. Bloomberg reported last year that Desmond briefly advised Trump’s real estate company on taxes, before Trump was elected president. (NYT) (BN)

  • The Motel 6 chain agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it voluntarily gave guest lists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for more than two years, the Washington state’s attorney general announced. According to the court’s consent decree document, Motel 6 was advised by Davis Wright Tremaine. (BLAW)


  • Skadden is representing E. & J. Gallo Winery on its $1.7 billion acquisition of a portfolio of about 30 lower-priced wine and spirits brands from Constellation Brands, Inc., which is going to focus on its high-end spirits, including Corona beer. (Skadden.com) (CNN Business) (BN)

  • Proskauer said it advised longtime client Discovery, Inc. on its 300 million pounds ($393 million) streaming deal with the U.K.'s BBC for a new subscription-based video service focused on natural history and factual programming. (Proskauer.com) (TechCrunch)

  • DLA Piper advised Custom Ink, a Washington based online t-shirt company, in a recapitalization by private equity firm Great Hill Partners and another PE firm, in which major investors are cashing out their shares. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, but the Post cited industry experts’ estimates that Custom Ink, which has $400 million in annual revenue, has a value of greater than $500 million. (WaPo) (DLAPiper)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Morgan Lewis poached a three-partner energy transactions team from Bracewell and expects several New York-based associates to follow. John Klauberg, who was co-head of Bracewell’s power projects practice, and Michael Espinoza are based in New York, while Charles Vandenburgh is in Hartford, Connecticut. (MorganLewis.com)

  • McGuireWoods said restructuring lawyer Kris Wigness joined the firm as senior counsel in New York. A former partner at Katten Munchin Rosenman and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Wigness arrives from Israel Discount Bank of New York, where he was SVP and associate general counsel. (McGuireWoods.com)

  • McGuireWoods also got Winston & Strawn aviation finance lawyer Deepak Reddy as a partner in New York. (McGuireWoods.com)

  • The New York-based Ford Foundation promoted deputy GC Nishka Chandrasoma to be its next vice president, secretary, and general counsel. Before joining the foundation in 2015, Chandrasoma advised tax-exempt and charitable organizations at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. (PR Newswire)

  • The Philadelphia Bar Association launched an online tool it said is aimed at helping voters make informed decisions in the city’s upcoming judicial elections. (Judges.Philadelphiabar.org)

  • A law firm angry at a workers’ compensation judge who frequently ruled against them got the judge fired by exposing her alleged romantic relationship with a lawyer, which led to other revelations, according to a report. (Philly.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Covington & Burling hired intellectual property litigator Teena Sankoorikal as a partner. She arrives from boutique Levine Lee, where she spent two years, after 17-plus years at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. (New York Law Journal)

  • Winston & Strawn said corporate energy lawyer Jimmy Vallee, who has advised on more than $100 billion worth of global energy transactions, joined the firm’s Houston office, arriving from Paul Hastings, where he was a corporate partner. (Winston.com)

  • King & Spalding said litigator Rachael Trummel joined the firm as a partner in its trial and global disputes practice group in Chicago, arriving from Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg. (KSLaw.com)

  • Nippon Steel & Sumikin Bussan Americas Inc. appointed a new general counsel, Thomas J. Welsh, a principal at Connecticut law firm Updike, Kelly, & Spellacy. (MyRecordJournal.com)

Legal Education

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently told students at Pepperdine University School of Law that he had no plans to retire from the court. (The Recorder)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Molly Ward at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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