The Talent

June 13, 2011 6:17 PM

George Mitchell Returns to DLA Piper

Posted by Brian Baxter

DLA Piper announced Monday that its ex-chairman, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, Jr., is returning to the firm after a two-year absence.

Mitchell was as serving chairman emeritus of DLA when he resigned from the firm in February 2009 to serve as the Obama administration's special envoy for the Middle East. But peace in that troubled region has been elusive, and Mitchell, who helped broker a historic agreement in Northern Ireland during the Clinton administration, stepped down last month amid an impasse in negotiations. (Mitchell spoke with Reuters on Monday about the stalled peace process and returning to DLA.)

In May, DLA became the world's largest law firm by attorney head count after expanding to 4,200 lawyers through a merger with Australian alliance partner DLA Phillips Fox. In returning to DLA as chairman emeritus, Mitchell will work with firm leaders on client development and management, implement strategic initiatives and succession planning, and advise on arbitration and mediation projects, according to a statement by the firm.

"[DLA] has achieved impressive international expansion in the two-and-a-half years since I've left," Mitchell said in the firm's statment. "I am eager to return to work with the outstanding global lawyers at DLA Piper, and it will be rewarding to collaborate with them on future strategies and goals."

As recently reported by The Am Law Daily, DLA has been on a lateral hiring spree lately. In addition to luring Mitchell back to the firm, U.K. publication Legal Week reports that DLA has also recruited Hilary Stewart-Jones, the head of Berwin Leighton Paisner's gaming practice, along with partner Stephen Ketteley in London. (Legal Week also reported on Monday that DLA lost one partner to Addleshaw Goddard in Manchester.)

DLA became a familiar name to U.S. sports fans thanks to Mitchell's role in leading Major League Baseball's internal investigation into players' use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. That probe, which culminated in the release of the so-called Mitchell Report in December 2007, was the subject of this March 2008 feature story from The American Lawyer.

Last week a federal judge left open the possibility that DLA lawyers who helped Mitchell put together the report with which he is closely associated will have to turn over their notes to attorneys for retired pitcher Roger Clemens, who is scheduled to go on trial next month in connection with charges that he lied to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

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