MoFo beefs up national security team with hiring of former Mueller prosecutor

DoJ's links underlined as Brandon Van Grack climbs on board as two partners move the other way

Morrison & Foerster has hired a former US prosecutor as co-chair of its national security and global risk and crisis management groups, the latest senior Department of Justice official to join the firm.

Brandon Van Grack, who previously served as a lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation, is the second DOJ lawyer to join the firm this year following the arrival of investigations and white collar defence partner Brian Kidd.

Van Grack will co-chair the firm's national security practice alongside John Smith and Nicholas Spiliotes and the global risk and crisis management group alongside Robert Litt and Alex Iftimie. He also joins as a partner in the firm’s investigations and white collar defence group, leaving his role as chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit.

His arrival comes as two senior MoFo partners move the other way, settling in at the DoJ having been appointed to ‘day one’ leadership roles under the Biden administration. John Carlin is the Acting Deputy Attorney General, ahead of nominee Lisa Monaco’s confirmation, when he will become Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, while David Newman is Associate Deputy Attorney General.

Bradley Wine, co-chair of MoFo’s global litigation department, said: “Brandon is a well known and well respected justice department lawyer whose prosecutorial experience at the DOJ brings unparalleled capabilities in investigations, compliance and enforcement, making MoFo the go-to firm on FARA.” 

Wine said Van Grack’s arrival further bolsters the insights it can provide clients on the inner workings of the DOJ across matters such as investigations and white collar defence, and sanctions and export controls. Van Grack and Kidd are the latest in a long line of former senior government officials to the join the firm in recent years, including Litt and Iftimie, as well as Charles Duross, James Koukios and Lisa Phelan.

During his time in the Special Counsel’s office, Van Grack led the investigation and prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, while also serving as a member of the trial team that prosecuted Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Van Grack also held other roles at the DOJ, including as counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security and a special assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Van Grack said: “I was immediately drawn to MoFo’s expertise and deep bench for handling all manner of investigations and litigation, including matters involving CFIUS, cyber attacks, FCPA and export control.”

Last July, another former Mueller prosecutor – Andrew Weissmann – quit the DOJ to return to Jenner & Block after nine years in public service. Weissmann joined as co-chair of its investigations, compliance and defence practice.

Earlier this week, Above the Law reported that MoFo was laying off 38 employees in the US and a handful in the UK due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the support needed in the firm's physical offices.

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