The speculation is over: Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is joining Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as a partner in the firm’s Chicago office.
Fitzgerald served a record ten years and eight months as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He starts at Skadden next week, where the average profit per partner last year was $2.48 million, according to American Lawyer magazine. He will focus on internal corporate investigations and civil litigation and arbitration, the firm announced today.
Fitzgerald, 51, is perhaps the most famous prosecutor in America,
While in Chicago, he successfully prosecuted former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. He was also the special prosecutor assigned to investigate who outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in the media, in apparent retaliation for her husband’s writing of an editorial questioning the rationale for the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. That probe led to the conviction then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Appointed U.S. Attorney in Chicago in 2001 by George W. Bush, the New York native ended up staying on in the post through President Barack Obama’s election, one of only a handful of Bush U.S. attorney holdovers. He retired in June.
Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune said he has no interest in defending the kind of people he once prosecuted as U.S. Attorney. ”I’m not changing who I am,” he said. “I’m just changing who my client is.”
The former prosecutor said he chose Skadden because of its “extensive international business, comfort level with its lawyers and the opportunity to do some public-interest work,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Before his appointment as U.S. Attorney, he spent 13 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted among others the “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, who was linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
His replacement hasn’t been named. However, the names of eight candidates for U.S. Attorney have been released, including a federal judge and the Illinois Inspector General. A final selection is likely to be delayed pending the outcome of the presidential election in November.