The Churn

November 14, 2008 4:37 PM

THE CHURN.GOV: Lateral Moves From Feds to Firms

Posted by Rachel Breitman

With an array of U.S. attorney hopefuls poised to join the fledgling Obama administration, many of the prosecutors who have been filling those posts are making the move from public service to the private sector, joining and, in some cases, rejoining top law firms. As the transition unfolds over the next several weeks, we'll feature some of these moves, as well as the the steady flow of lawyers from various Washington agencies into the AmLaw 200 in this new column, THE CHURN.GOV.

This week finds three top U.S. attorneys making the move to law firm life. First, Fulbright & Jaworski's international governmental investigations and white collar defense practice has added Donald DeGabrielle, who stepped down as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas in early November.

In 2002, DeGabrielle was first assistant United States attorney to the late Michael Shelby, and took over the office reins three years later when Shelby made his own move to Fulbright. DeGabrielle scored wins in the areas of drug trafficking and enforcement, firearms, and terrorism and immigration matters.

He has more than 20 years of federal experience, including work in the office's criminal division, the major crimes section, and the public integrity unit. He also sampled other areas of the law as the resident legal adviser to the South African National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, as a special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York and Louisiana, and trial division supervisor at the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office in Louisiana.

Meanwhile, as we noted earlier in the week, Kirkland & Ellis has nabbed Michael Garcia, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. While leading the SDNY, which is known for its white-collar prosecutions, Garcia handled, with mixed results, the Refco securities fraud case, the New York Stock Exchange specialist traders cases, and the KPMG tax shelter fraud matter.

Garcia cut his federal regulatory teeth as commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and later served as assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He had also previously worked at the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Finally, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's Sacramento office scored U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott. Scott will help the office start a white-collar crime practice. McGregor will tap into his experiences as the founder of the district's Mortgage Fraud Crimes Task Force.

At the U.S. Attorney's office since 2003, Scott also handled such high-profile terrorism cases as the conviction of Hamid Hayat for involvement in a terrorist training camp. Before joining the office he had served as Shasta County district attorney.

The churn is constant. Our reports are twice weekly. Send your news to

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