Damian Williams, the man poised to be nominated as the next top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, shares a credential with several other New York power players associated with the Biden administration: he’s been a lawyer at the elite firm
Williams was put forth for the role by a panel that includes
In many ways, it’s unsurprising that Paul Weiss has emerged as a power center in the Biden era. The New York-based law firm has ties to the Democratic Party and liberal causes dating back to the
“We have many alumni and friends in senior positions in the Biden-Harris administration,” Karp said in an email.
There’s also the possibility that a Paul Weiss alumnus, Representative
That’s good news to the Wall Street banks for whom Paul Weiss is the go-to firm to handle allegations of wrongdoing. The firm of more than 1,000 lawyers also represents private equity funds, oil companies, Chinese tech giants and other large corporations in a variety of matters that generate over $1 billion a year in revenue, according to The American Lawyer magazine. That client list increasingly sits uneasily with the Democratic Party’s progressive tilt.
Law firms generally benefit from being seen as having proximity to power, and many hire lawyers from both sides of the aisle to account for shifts in the political winds. But Paul Weiss is notable in how strongly it aligns with one party -- in the 2020 election cycle, the firm’s lawyers donated $4 million to federal candidates, with 90% of it going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Neither Lynch nor Johnson responded to requests for comment.
Williams worked at Paul Weiss from 2009 to 2012 before leaving to join the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, where he is currently head of the securities-fraud unit. According to people familiar with the matter, Williams’s candidacy for U.S. attorney was boosted by an endorsement from Paul Weiss partner
Democrats are expecting the next Manhattan U.S. attorney to revive scrutiny of Wall Street that waned under Trump. Few law firms would benefit more from that than Paul Weiss, which has one of the nation’s leading practice representing financial institutions facing federal investigations.
The firm represented
Paul Weiss also regularly represents
More recently, Paul Weiss has lobbied the Commerce and Treasury departments on behalf of China’s
Robert Schumer, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Paul Weiss, serves with lawyers at other firms on his brother’s panel screening candidates for judicial and U.S. attorney nominations. Though the panel has been chaired since 1999 by
O’Donoghue didn’t respond to a request for comment. Both Schumers also didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The panel wasn’t very active under Trump, who largely relied on groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society to draw up lists of conservative candidates. Democrats are now eager to appoint as many liberal judges as they can while they hold the Senate and White House. There are currently two appeals court and seven trial court vacancies in New York, with more expected.
If history’s any guide, some of the judges Biden appoints could have Paul Weiss ties. Manhattan’s chief federal trial judge,
The site omits the fact that Sotomayor didn’t receive an offer of full-time employment at the end of her summer. In her 2013 memoir, the nation’s first Latina supreme court justice largely blamed herself for not being ready but called the rejection a “trauma” that “would overhang my every career choice until I became a judge.”
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Anthony Lin, David Glovin
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