Edward Siskel, a deputy White House counsel who left government last month, has joined WilmerHale LLP, the firm announced today.
Siskel, 41, will lead the “next generation” of lawyers in the firm’s Strategic Response Group, practice group leader Jamie Gorelick said in an interview. “He is a perfect fit for us,” she added.
The practice group inside the firm’s regulatory and government affairs department was named about a year ago to provide a focal point for what WilmerHale had already been doing for years: advising companies on navigating complex situations involving regulatory and enforcement issues, political issues in Congress, and reputational issues in the media.
Those representations are often high-stakes and require counsel with broad experience at top levels of government. “Ed is the full package,” Gorelick said.
Siskel served for three years a a counsel to President Barack Obama, most recently as the top deputy in the office under former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. He handled a range of sensitive matters under scrutiny in Congress, from the Solyndra solar panel company that went bankrupt after receiving U.S.-backed loans to the inquiry into the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and other Americans in Benghazi.
From January 2009 to December 2010, he served in a top position at the Department of Justice, where he was an Associate Deputy Attorney General advising senior officials, the FBI and other agencies on litigation, criminal justice and national security matters. In the highly politicized world of congressional investigations, he also found himself on a list of 12 DOJ officials named in a 2011 document request by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) asking about at the department’s handling of the Fast and Furious gun-tracing operation on the southwest border.
A Chicago-area native, Siskel came to Main Justice after serving from 2005 to 2009 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois under then-U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. His time in that office spanned the high-profile criminal investigations of now-former Illinois Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Siskel successfully argued for the conviction of former publisher Conrad Black in a 2007 trial on fraud charges.
He joined WilmerHale’s Washington, D.C., office in 2002 after clerking for Judge Dorothy Nelson on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. He graduated from the University of Chicago school of law, where the president – then teaching constitutional law – was one of his professors.
“I chose Wilmer because of its incredible talent base,” Siskel said in an interview. “It has a proven track record in integrating people coming out of government at senior levels and helping them to build thriving practices, and a strong reputation and client base in counseling companies in complex matters that often involve multiple branches of government and crisis communications.”
Siskel is married to Rebekah Holman, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of Columbia, and is the nephew of the late Chicago film critic Gene Siskel. He and his wife have twin sons.