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October 5, 2011 5:17 PM

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Join Nashville Law Firm

Posted by Brian Baxter

Former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales will join Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as of counsel, the firm announced Wednesday.

Gonzales's move to the Nashville-based firm follows by a day the news that he had left his job as a visiting professor at Texas Tech University to take a full-time teaching position at Belmont University School of Law, also in Nashville, sibling publication The National Law Journal reported earlier this week. Belmont's law school opened its doors and welcomed its first class of students just two months ago.

Gonzales, a Harvard Law School graduate and ex–Vinson & Elkins partner, had a hard time finding a job  following his resignation from the Bush administration in August 2007. In the year after leaving public service, the nation's first Hispanic attorney general helped oversee settlement talks in a federal patent case in Texas before taking the teaching position at Texas Tech in the summer of 2009. In a statement issued by Waller Lansden, Gonzales lauded his new employer.

"It is a great honor for me to join Waller Lansden, a firm that I greatly admire," Gonzales said. "Waller Lansden has a reputation for providing incisive legal representation while caring deeply for its clients. The firm's breakthrough initiatives to encourage diversity in the workplace are admirable. I am eager to work in partnership with the firm's attorneys in serving clients throughout the country."

Waller Lansden chairman John Tishler said in a statement announcing Gonzales's hire that he would work with the firm's government relations, government investigations, and white-collar defense teams, as well as play a role in its diversity initiatives. Waller Lansden, which has about 180 lawyers working in Nashville and Birmingham, made some news this summer with the launch of a new associate recruiting program.

Following his departure from the U.S. Department of Justice almost four years ago, Gonzales faced an investigation into his role in the dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys, allegedly for political purposes, in 2006. A special prosecutor determined in July 2010 that there wasn't enough evidence to implicate Gonzales in any wrongdoing, leading the former attorney general to proclaim that he was unfairly targeted in the probe.

As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, White & Case global white-collar defense head George Terwilliger III represented Gonzales in that inquiry. Terwilliger withdrew from advising Gonzales in a separate lawsuit filed over allegedly politicized hiring practices at Main Justice under Gonzales's leadership. A federal judge largely dismissed that suit in September 2009.

We left a message for Gonzales—who served as White House counsel before his appointment to the attorney general's post in February 2005—with a Waller Lansden spokesman to talk about his new job, but did not immediately hear back.

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