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June 2, 2011 4:03 PM

Bauer Leaves White House to Rejoin Perkins Coie

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

The White House announced on Thursday that Robert Bauer is returning to Perkins Coie and stepping down as President Barack Obama's counsel, Am Law Daily sibling publication The National Law Journal reports.

Bauer's departure creates a vacancy that the White House says it will fill with former Latham & Watkins partner Kathryn Ruemmler, who has been serving as Bauer's principal deputy. The moves take effect at the end of the month, NLJ reports.

Bauer formerly headed Perkins Coie's election law practice, serving as President Obama's chief campaign lawyer in 2008 and as general counsel to the Democratic National Committee. The White House said that he will return to that role and serve as general counsel to the president's reelection campaign.

He succeeded Gregory Craig as White House counsel in January 2010, NLJ reports. Craig went on to join the D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as a litigation partner.

As we reported at the time, Ruemmler left Latham in January 2009 to accept the role of principal associate deputy attorney general in the Obama administration, before moving to the White House last year. She previously served as deputy director of the Enron Task Force for the U.S. Department of Justice, before joining Latham in 2007. While with the firm, she worked with such clients as Lehman Brothers and The Carlyle Group.

In the White House's press release, Obama said Bauer "is a good friend and has served as a trusted adviser for many years." He called Ruemmler "an outstanding lawyer with impeccable judgment."

Duties of the White House counsel include running the judicial nominee process, leading the response to congressional invitations, drafting potential executive orders, and defending the president's constitutional powers.

In March, NLJ named Bauer one of its "Most Influential Lawyers," citing his influence on major legal decisions in the White House, including planning for military trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees and the president's position on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

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