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03 December 2019

High profile hires see Supreme Court advocate and bitcoin regulator sign up with US firms

O'Melveny and Willkie Farr celebrate as leading practitioners quit public office for private practice

Former Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben

US top 100 law firms O’Melveny and Willkie Farr & Gallagher have each secured the services of leading US public lawyers - former Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben and former commodity futures trading head J. Christopher Giancarlo respectively. The eye-catching hires underline the ongoing revolving door between public office and leading law firms in the US. 

Dreeben argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court and was a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

Giancarlo oversaw the entry of the first bitcoin futures products into the US market and his Twitter account @giancarloMKTS boasts an impressive 45,000 followers.

Hate crimes

Dreeben joins O’Melveny, which ranks at 65 in the Am Law 100, as a partner after stepping down from his role as Deputy Solicitor General of the United States in the summer. His case load covered public corruption, technology, privacy and hate crimes.

In 2017, he took a leave of absence to join special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Responsibilities included defending the special counsel’s authority against statutory and constitutional challenges.

“The Solicitor General’s office is a proving ground for legal theories,” he wrote in a guest post on The Supreme Court’s official blog on 8 August.

“Nothing so forces an advocate to confront the weaknesses or limits of his or her position as knowing that it will undergo the crucible of public testing in oral argument before the highest court in the land.”

At O’Melveny, he will work across the Washington DC-based firm’s appellate, white collar, cybersecurity and data privacy and securities litigation practices as well as providing crisis management counsel to boardroom clients, especially those facing government investigations.

New York office

Meanwhile, Giancarlo is making his way to the New York office of Willkie Farr, which sits at 50 in the AM Law 100 ranking of the largest law firms by revenue.

He joins as senior counsel after his term as chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) ended in July.

At the CFTC, he oversaw guidance for emerging technologies including blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, including the first bitcoin futures products entering the marketplace.

He will work across the firm’s financial services, technology and commodities sectors. He has written and spoken extensively on public policy, legal and other matters involving technology and the financial markets.

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