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Yates, Rosenstein Among 20 in Big Law Hit by Russia Ban (1)

May 26, 2022, 4:28 PMUpdated: May 26, 2022, 6:17 PM

Former US deputy attorneys general Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, now King & Spalding partners, are among about 20 Big Law lawyers that Russia has banned from entering its country.

“I’m honored to be included on the list,” said Kevin Wolf, an Akin Gump partner and former assistant secretary of Commerce for export administration in the Obama administration.

Also among the banned are WilmerHale’s Robert Mueller III, the former FBI director who oversaw the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and former House Speaker John Boehner, now senior strategic adviser at Squire Patton Boggs.

Russia releaseda list of 936 Americans it said were banned from entering the country in a retaliatory move against the U.S. following its sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The list includes President Joe Biden and other top government officials including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Second Gentleman and former DLA Piper partner Doug Emhoff is also listed.

The Big Law lawyers who are listed include former government officials and prosecutors who dealt directly or indirectly with Russia and its entities over the last decade or so.

Shira Scheindlin was the judge in the trial of Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer sentenced in 2012 on federal narco-terrorism charges. Russia is now looking to exchange WNBA star Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap for Bout, according to state-owned Russian news outlets.

“I had no idea I was on the banned list,” said Scheindlin, a former federal district judge in the Southern District of New York. Now of counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, she said the Bout family has been seeking her support for the prisoner swap.

Also banned are several of the former U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York that prosecuted Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot convicted of drug-smuggling. Yaroshenko was released as a part of a prisoner swap for former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed in April.

Katten Muchin Rosenman’s Michael Rosensaft, Shearman & Sterling’s Christoper LaVigne and Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Randall Jackson all worked on the team that convicted Yaroshenko.

“It’s this tit-for-tat Putin engages in,” Rosensaft said of his inclusion on the list.

Rosensaft was on a list published in 2013 that barred his entry into Russia. LaVigne, WilmerHale’s Anjan Sahni and Brendan McGuire, and Kaplan Hecker & Fink’s Jenna Dabbs were also listed then.

“I consider it a badge of honor,” Dabbs said.

Others listed include Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz’s Sarah Eddy, Cooley’s Annie Froehlich, Vinson & Elkins’ Zachary Terwilliger, and Williams & Connolly’s David Aufhauser, the former chief legal counsel for the Treasury Department.

Wolf is named after he took actions against Russia following its 2014 invasion of Crimea. He said being included doesn’t hamper any plans and that he remains focused on what is happening on the ground in Ukraine.

“I am less interested in the listing issue,” he said, “than the fact that Russia is indiscriminately bombing Ukrainian civilians.”

(Adds listed attorneys in 14th paragraph. Earlier version corrected second paragraph to note Wolf did not serve in the Trump administration.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com