The Talent

June 1, 2011 7:25 PM

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Joins Katten Muchin

Posted by Brian Baxter

Daley2007 Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has joined Katten Muchin Rosenman as of counsel, the firm announced on Wednesday.

Daley, 69, the city's longest-serving mayor with six terms under his belt, heads to a 600-lawyer Chicago-based firm with close ties to the city. His move comes less than a month after former White House chief of staff and Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as mayor of the Windy City.

In a press release from Katten announcing the new hire, Daley said he chose the firm "for a number of reasons," citing its "well-managed group of talented professionals" and "innovative yet practical approach to helping clients accomplish their goals." Katten's commitment to expanding globally and giving back to the community were draws as well, he said in a statement.

Daley was not available for an interview on Wednesday. His press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, told The Am Law Daily that Katten's legal work for the city was not a factor in Daley's decision to join the firm, and that the ex-mayor will not do any legal work at Katten related to the city of Chicago.

Katten has served as bond counsel for Chicago. The firm also advised on a $1.16 billion privatization of Chicago's parking meter system two years ago. The controversial public-to-private or "P3" deal became a bone of contention between the public and Daley's office after some initial glitches in the project.

The former mayor, profiled in The New Yorker last year, was first elected to that office in 1989; he made it through five reelection campaigns and stayed on to run the Windy City for 22 years. (Along with his late father, also named Richard, the Daleys held the mayor's office in Chicago for 42 of the past 55 years.)

Daley began his legal career at Chicago's Daley & George, the firm cofounded by his father in 1935, despite almost never becoming a lawyer after flunking the Illinois Bar exam on his first two tries before passing the third time. Daley & George still employs Daley's younger brother, Michael, who has been a partner at the firm since 1970. Daley's second younger brother, William, is a former Mayer Brown partner who currently serves as the Obama administration's chief of staff after replacing Rahm Emanuel in January. (Richard Daley himself spent nine years as Cook County State's Attorney from 1981 to 1989.)

Soon after Daley decided against a seventh run, Heard says, the former mayor began receiving letters from several law firms--some, though not all, based in Chicago--and other businesses interested in securing his services. She declines to name the firms, and adds that no recruiter was involved in the move to Katten.

Daley's role at the firm "will develop over time," Heard says, "allow[ing] the mayor to take a look at the variety of work they do and do what he enjoys doing while helping the firm grow nationally and internationally."

Katten has plans to open an office in Shanghai later this year. During his time as mayor of Chicago, Daley made several trips to China, announcing shortly before he left office a "friendship initiative" between the city and the world's most populous country.

One of Daley's closest confidants is current Katten real estate tax partner Terry Newman, also an alum of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and a frequent dining companion of the ex-mayor, according to Chicago Magazine.

According to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data, Katten's gross revenue rose 5.4 percent in 2010 to $443 million; profits per partner increased 6.3 percent to nearly $1.2 million.

"We are honored that Mayor Daley has chosen to join Katten," national managing partner Vincent Sergi said in a statement. "In joining our firm, he clearly recognizes what we have accomplished and that we are poised for significant growth nationally and internationally. His advice and counsel will be invaluable."

It's unclear yet what Daley will earn at Katten. His annual salary as mayor was $179,000 and he stands to receive $100,000 per year as a recently named senior fellow at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, according to Crain's Chicago Business.


Photo courtesy of Katten Muchin

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This is exactly why Chicago is the center of corruption.

Katten partner Terry Newman has been a longtime drinking buddy of Daley, going way back. That's how Katten got so much city business.

Now, Daley gets paid back.

Whatever you want to call it, the reality is this is why the public doesn't have confidence in politics OR our legal profession.

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