The Talent

November 3, 2010 6:34 PM

Winners/Losers: Am Law 200 Alums and the Midterm Elections

Posted by Brian Baxter

UPDATE: 11/5/10, 11:30 a.m. This post has been updated with new information.

A Howrey appellate litigation partner is the next senator from Utah. A former Davis Polk & Wardwell associate is now the first black woman from Alabama elected to a House seat. These are just a couple of the many candidates running for office in this year's midterm elections who came out on top. How did the rest of the congressional hopefuls with Am Law 200 ties fare? Here is our very rough list* of those lawyers seeking, and hoping to hold on to, higher office.


Russell Feingold (D-Wis.): Perhaps best known for the campaign finance legislation bearing his name, the former Foley & Lardner and LaFollette Sinykin lawyer lost to Republican challenger Ron Johnson. Feingold's campaign coffers felt the sting of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling earlier this year.

Michael Crapo (R-Idaho): An associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in the late seventies before returning to his home state to start Idaho Falls firm Holden, Kidwell, Hahn & Crapo, Crapo easily beat Democratic challenger Tom Sullivan.

Michael Lee (R-Utah): The Salt Lake City-based Howrey appellate litigation partner coasted to an easy win over Democrat Sam Granato in Utah's Senate race to replace 18-year incumbent Bob Bennett. Lee previously worked at Sidley Austin.

Mark Kirk (R-Ill.): An associate with Baker & McKenzie in the mid-nineties, Kirk's win over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias made a bad night for Windy City native Barack Obama even worse. The seat once belonged to the current POTUS.

Robert Portman (R-Ohio): The Patton Boggs alum and former partner at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey defeated Democratic opponent and former Ohio attorney general Lee Fisher for the seat vacated by the retiring George Voinovich.

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): The former Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner and Davis Polk associate was nominated to fill Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat in early 2009. Gillibrand easily won a special election to complete Clinton's term.


Ron Kind (D-Wis.): Kind worked as an associate at Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee during the early nineties before pursuing a career in public service. He won a tight race against Republican challenger Dan Kapanke.

Terri Sewell (D-Ala.): The former Davis Polk associate became the first black woman from Alabama elected to the House when she beat Republican businessman Don Chamberlain for the seat vacated by Artur Davis, a classmate of Obama's from Harvard Law School. After leaving Davis Polk, Sewell returned to Alabama in 2004 and became the first black partner at Birmingham firm Maynard Cooper & Gale.

Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.): The son of former vice president Dan Quayle, writer for an interesting blog on Scottsdale, and ex-associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel and Snell & Wilmer will be spending more time in our nation's capital come January after beating back a challenge by conservative Democrat Jon Hulburd, a former partner at Fennemore Craig.

David Harmer (R-Calif.): The O'Melveny & Myers alum is locked in a race that's still too close to call against Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney. 

Jane Harman (D-Calif.): A former counsel at Jones Day and the second-richest member of the House through her marriage to new Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, the 65-year-old representative faces her ninth term after prevailing over Republican challenger Mattie Fein.

Doug Lamborn (D-Col.): After working in the Denver office of Kutak Rock during the eighties, Lamborn opened his own law practice in Colorado Springs. The Republican incumbent easily dispatched Democratic challenger Betsy Markey on Tuesday.

Alan Grayson (D-Fla.): One of the more controversial members of Congress, the former Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson associate and IDT Corporation president was soundly defeated by Republican challenger Daniel Webster.

Dennis Ross (R.-Fla.): The onetime Walt Disney Company in-house counsel and Holland & Knight associate won a close race against Democrat Lori Edwards on Tuesday. Ross founded his current firm, Lakeland, Fla.-based Ross Vecchio, in 1989.

Ted Deutch (D-Fla.): The former Broad and Cassel partner, who won a special election in April, held off Republican challenger Joe Budd to win his second race of the year.

Michael Pompeo (R-Kan.): Before becoming a successful business executive and entrepreneur in the aerospace industry, the former Harvard Law Review editor spent two years at Williams & Connolly in the early nineties. Pompeo easily waltzed to a win over Democrat Raj Goyle, another Harvard Law Schoool grad.

John Sarbanes (D-Md.): The son of former senator Paul Sarbanes, whose name is also affixed to landmark legislation, the younger Sarbanes previously chaired the health care practice at Venable before assuming public office in 2007. Sarbanes thumped Republican challenger Jim Wilhelm on Tuesday.

Chris Van Hollen, Jr. (D-Md.): An Arent Fox alum first elected to Congress in 2002, Van Hollen easily beat Republican challenger Michael Philips. But the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was outspoken about his party's poor showing at the polls nationwide.

Keith Ellison (D-Minn.): Spent three years at Minneapolis firm Lindquist & Vennum in the early nineties, where he specialized in civil rights, employment, and criminal defense work. Ellison, who first assumed office in 2007, routed Republican challenger Joel Demos on Tuesday.

John Adler (D-N.J.): The former Cozen O'Connor lawyer lost out to ex-NFL lineman Jon Runyan--a Tea Party favorite--after serving only one term.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.): The former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom associate lost a close race to Republican challenger Kristi Noem to claim the state's lone seat in the House. In 2007, Herseth married Max Sandlin, a former congressman from Texas and lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig.


Sean Parnell (R-Alaska): A former lobbying partner at Patton Boggs, where he advised clients on oil and gas projects, Parnell was sworn in as the state's governor after Sarah Palin stepped down in July 2009. He initially left Patton Boggs in December 2006 to work for Palin, and easily won his own term against Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz.

Deval Patrick (D-Mass.): A former partner at defunct Boston firm Hill & Barlow, a predecessor firm of Day Pitney, and general counsel at Coca-Cola, Patrick prevailed in his reelection campaign over Republican challenger Charlie Baker, despite questions about links between his office and Ropes & Gray, where his wife Diane is a labor and employment partner.

Terry Goddard III (D-Ariz.): Arizona's attorney general lost handily to Republican incumbent Jan Brewer. After serving as the mayor of Phoenix in the eighties, Goddard spent three years at Bryan Cave.

Robert Ehrlich, Jr. (R-Md.): After being the only incumbent governor to lose in the November 2006 elections, Ehrlich joined Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice as a founder of the firm's Baltimore office, which became an issue during the current campaign. Ehrlich, who previosly worked at Baltimore firm Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, was unable to beat sitting governor Martin O'Malley on Tuesday.

Eliot Cutler (I-Me.): The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld senior counsel and independent candidate for governor in Maine narrowly lost out to Republican Paul LePage in a tight race that at times focused on Cutler's lobbying work. Cutler merged his Washington, D.C-based environmental law firm Cutler & Stanfield with Akin Gump in 2001.


*NOTE: This list is far from comprehensive. We took a quick look and are presenting the candidates we know have worked at Am Law 200 firms, not those with Am Law ties, such as Colorado congresswoman Diana DeGette, the wife of McKenna Long & Aldridge partner Lino Lipinsky de Orlov. Let know us know of any ommissions by posting a comment here, and we'll update this post as more information becomes available.

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Stephanie Herseth, D-SD, was a summer associate at Crowell & Moring and an associate at Skadden.

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