WilmerHale hires former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara

The US attorney turned podcast star joins as a partner in the firm’s New York office

Preet Bharara Shutterstock

US firm WilmerHale has landed a high-profile partner hire with the arrival of former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. 

Bharara will join the firm’s New York office where his practice will focus on internal investigations, government matters, congressional investigations, compliance and risk assessments, crisis management and pro bono cases. It marks Bharara’s return to law following his dismissal from his US attorney role in 2017 by then-president Donald Trump after Bharara – a Barack Obama-era appointee – refused to resign following then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request for 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys to quit their posts.

Since then, Bharara has become the host of a popular podcast Stay Tuned with Preet, co-founded podcast company Cafe Studios and authored a New York Times bestseller, Doing Justice. 

Robert Novick, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner, said: “[Bharara] is one of the most public-spirited and dynamic lawyers of his generation, with an enviable record of success in and out of government. As the SDNY’s US Attorney, he oversaw headline-grabbing convictions in cases of public corruption, financial misconduct, narcotics, arms trafficking, violent crime and terrorism.”

Bharara spent just over eight years as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York having been appointed by Obama in 2009. He previously spent four years as chief counsel for Senator Chuck Schumer and five years as an assistant US Attorney, also in the Southern District of New York. Notable work as a federal prosecutor included cases against the Italian mafia, Russian money laundering and Wall Street crime.

Prior to that, Bharara worked in private practice, first at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and later at legacy firm Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman. It is now 22 years since he last worked in private practice.

Bharara said: “WilmerHale resonated for me not just for its reputation for legal excellence and integrity, track record of success and dedication to diversity, but equally for its respect for public service, support for meaningful pro bono work and commitment to the democratic values and principles I have spent my career fighting for.”

WilmerHale has a long track record of providing a home for former government lawyers. In January, the firm hired the former acting deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Frank Gorman as a partner in Washington. And in September last year, it re-hired former Southern District of New York assistant US attorney Robert Boone.

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