Latham & Watkins announced Monday that Nick McQuaid, who spent more than four years in the White House Counsel’s office under President Obama, is joining in New York as a white collar attorney.
At the firm, McQuaid will be reunited with Kathyrn Ruemmler, now global co-chair of Latham’s White Collar practice and who was White House Counsel in 2013 when he joined that office.
He adds to a growing list of partners joining the firm in New York, including four lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis last week, as it looks to grow out its litigation and trial department. It also marks the fifth lawyer who served as counsel to Obama to join Latham, a list which also includes Steven Croley, who was also a deputy counsel, Jonathan Su, a special counsel, and Daniel Dominguez, an associate counsel.
At the White House, McQuaid rose to be one of four deputy counsels, also serving under Neil Eggleston, and provided oversight into investigations and litigation — everything from Republican’s investigation of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
His role was to prepare White House staff when they were called as witnesses in congressional investigations, to negotiate document production in response to subpoenas and various other related responsibilities.
Before joining the White House, McQuaid served as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan, where he worked in the organized crime unit and prosecuted bank and mortgage fraud cases. Below is a condensed interview we conducted with him.
Big Law Business: At the White House, did you find the same level of civility with your opponents as when you were litigating in U.S. courts?
McQuaid: The experience is very similar, it’s much like litigation. It’s adversarial as all litigation is, but you still comport yourself with professional respect. You would be negotiating with other lawyers who would represent the [congressional] committees. There’s a public arena where people can be pretty outspoken but the process of being a lawyer is very much the same.
Big Law Business: How did this role prepare you for private practice?
McQuaid: Working in the White House, you are called upon to handle sensitive investigation matters in a high paced environment … That is similar to what Latham does for its clients.
For an investigation like the Benghazi investigation, you would need to communicate with clients about what was happening in the investigation so they could respond to media inquiries, but also the legal strategy we would pursue. Also, if someone was going to be interviewed in the investigation, you would talk to them about that process and what to expect in that environment. When I say clients I mean the senior officials who are working in the White House.
Big Law Business: You’re joining to focus on white collar. Any major investigations or trends that you see brewing?
McQuaid: I don’t have one in my mind that I’ve identified as a next big thing. Certainly in the D.C. market, there’ll be a lot of interest in the Russia investigation into collusion in the 2016 election. The DOJ investigation seems to be going strong. That’ll be an area that will certainly get a lot of attention. I’m not sure that it will lead to any particular boom of business. I do think that I’ll kind of join up and be staffed up on things that Latham’s already working on as I get integrated.
Big Law Business: Will the resignation of all the U.S. Attorneys cause a slowdown for white collar attorneys?
McQuaid: While it is true that they’ve had the resignation of all US attorneys — I do think that in the broader environment of white collar investigations, the work that is done in those offices will continue on. That will be done by the career prosecutors. I don’t expect any slowdown.
Write to Big Law Business at firstname.lastname@example.org.