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Obama Lawyers Join Big Law Firms

Casey Sullivan bol.bna.com

Lawyers from the Obama administration are finding new jobs at corporate law firms.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles-founded O’Melveny & Myers announced the latest catch in a series of revolving door Obama exits: Steven Bunnell, outgoing general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will be rejoining the law firm in Washington, D.C.

“You saw this huge flood of people looking to go into private practice; they had assumed they would have some position in the Clinton Administration,” recalled Jeffrey Lowe, a headhunter at Major Lindsey & Africa, who specializes helping government attorneys find a job at a corporate law firm.

Lowe said that seeing top level lawyers in the Obama administration seek a transition back to Big Law was not surprising and the so-called revolving door is regularly active, even during the course of the same administration. What was different about November, though, was that top lawyers who had been entrenched in government workplace for the past eight years all of a sudden and urgently needed to find another job, and in a saturated market where others were looking, too.

“For a lot of them, it’s been a challenge,” he said. “Some who are at the very top can afford to not look at all until they formally step down. They know they are going to find something good; it’s just a question of what. But there are others slightly down the food chain, and they don’t have the luxury of living with that uncertainty and they started the [search] process in the summer and early fall and were well on their way before the election even occurred.”


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