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October 1, 2009 12:55 PM

Lanny Davis Jumps from Orrick to McDermott

Posted by Zach Lowe

Lanny Davis, a longtime Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported Hillary Clinton's presidential bid and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush, is taking his unique practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott, Will & Emery

Davis, who previously moved to Orrick in 2003 from Patton Boggs, will bring counsel Eileen O'Connor, a former ABC News and CNN reporter, with him. 

If you follow politics, you know Davis well. He's a regular columnist for the Hill and the Washington Times, and he remains friends with Bush and Clinton, who was two years behind him at Yale Law School. 

"Lanny is the only person I know who considers both Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush good friends," says Bobby Burchfield, cohead of McDermott's Washington office and a longtime go-to lawyer for Republican politicians and campaigns. 

Davis was drawn to McDermott in part because of its strong lobbying practice, which would mix well with Davis's unusual combination of government regulatory work and media relations, Burchfield says.  

"It's really a kind of match made in heaven," he says.

Davis declined to comment beyond a joint statement that he and O'Connor released this morning. "We look forward to expanding our practice further with the regulatory and government strategies group at McDermott," the lawyers said in the statement. 

A spokesman for Orrick says the firm wishes Davis and O'Connor well and that the firm's "legal strategy and crisis management practice remains vibrant." (The other two partners that jumped from Patton Boggs to Orrick with Davis are staying at Orrick).

Davis has been at the center of several high-profile cases in recent years. He is one of several lawyers (along with Abbe Lowell, his new colleague at McDermott) who represented HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, and he spent part of this summer lobbying against the deposed president of Honduras

Last year, Davis led a novel (and ultimately unsuccessful) effort on behalf of Whole Foods by filing suit against the Federal Trade Commission, claiming the FTC showed an unfair bias against the proposed merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats Marketplace.

Burchfield says the firm has been discussing a potential move with Davis and O'Connor for several months, and did not use a headhunter for the search. He would not comment on Davis's compensation. 

For more on Davis and O'Connor, see this story from the Legal Times, an Am Law Daily sibling publication.

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