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As the Trump White House and federal agencies filled their ranks with political appointees, they hired heavily from two law firms — Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis. In the few months since Trump left office, only one of them has been interested in bringing those lawyers back.
Jones Day has been on a tear hiring Trump administration alumni, including some who hadn’t previously worked at the firm. Since January, the firm has hired seven Trump-appointed US attorneys and top officials from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, after previously recruiting or welcoming back several other top officials.
But Kirkland & Ellis has hired only one top Trump administration official back. Some Kirkland alumni have joined other firms since leaving the Trump administration, but most others — including former Attorney General William Barr and Jeffrey Rosen, who served as the second-ranking Justice Department official — have yet to find homes in the private sector.
It’s common for law firms to rehire partners after they spend time in government, and lawyers frequently shuffle back into private practice at the end of any administration. But within the legal industry, many are taking note of how Kirkland has apparently washed its hands of prominent alumni who held Senate-confirmed roles in the Trump administration.
“Trump was different. The firm can’t have these senior officials back,” said one person familiar with the firm.
Some Kirkland alumni weren’t necessarily interested in coming back. For others, the Trump administration came at a natural time of separation from the firm, and a return was never up for consideration.
Kirkland is still open to hiring lower-level Trump administration officials, but the pool of prospective recruits is small, according to three people familiar with the firm’s approach.
The riot at the Capitol on January 6 only further complicated the job prospects for lawyers leaving the Trump administration, creating one more delicate topic during job interviews.
“After January 6, it became much more of a real thing than it was before,” a former Trump administration official said. “It was really bad for people who had nothing to do with it, probably abhorred it, but still were in the administration when it happened or were on the market. There’s definitely a reluctance to hire people out of the administration.”
But the differences between Jones Day and Kirkland run deeper than the current political moment. In 11 interviews, people familiar with the firms’ divergent approaches to hiring from the Trump administration said the pattern reflected more than just a reaction to what some call the “Trump taint.”
The differences in firm culture and clientele, and differences in the career arcs of the lawyers who came from the firms into the Trump administration, help explain what happened. The people who spoke with Insider for this story did so on the condition of anonymity because they didn’t want to jeopardize relationships in government and the legal industry.
Despite sharing deep conservative roots, the firms have taken different paths
Neither Kirkland nor Jones Day is particularly vocal about its politics, but both firms have …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics
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