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19 November 2020

Freshfields expands national security practice in Washington

Former intelligence official Colin Costello joins as advisor on foreign investment-related issues

By Ben Edwards

Photograph of Washington DC

Washington DC Shutterstock

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired former intelligence official Colin Costello to grow its national security capabilities in Washington DC.

Costello joins the firm’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) team from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and will advise clients on CFIUS-related issues. He was previously acting director of the National Intelligence Council’s Investment Security Group, where he was the council’s primary representative to CFIUS.

Aimen Mir, a partner in Freshfield’s CFIUS team, said: “Colin is a stellar addition to our national security team, having played a highly consequential role in the CFIUS process for the better part of a decade. At a time when government scrutiny of investment flows is at a historical high, our clients will benefit tremendously from the real-world, direct insight that Colin brings from having shaped the outcome of hundreds of CFIUS cases.”

Mir joined Freshfields last year having spent almost a decade in leadership roles at CFIUS and the US Treasury Department, where he managed CFIUS review and resolution on more than 1,000 transactions, and was the US’s main liaison with governments on foreign investment review issues. Freshfields’ CFIUS team also includes special counsel Christine Laciak, who has been at the firm since 2005 and specialises in CFIUS issues and foreign investment law 

During his nearly five years at the National Intelligence office, Costello developed the threat analysis methodology the United States Intelligence Community uses to scrutinise CFIUS transactions and other foreign investment-related regulatory filings. He also played a role in the introduction of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernisation Act of 2018 and corresponding regulations.

Prior to joining the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Costello was a senior associate at PwC, were he provided intelligence analysis on national security threats related to foreign investments into the US, working alongside CFIUS.

Earlier this year, Freshfields opened an office in Silicon Valley after assembling a team of senior lawyers hired from US rivals including Davis Polk, Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin and Wilson Sonsini. The office is the Magic Circle’s third in the US after New York and Washington. 

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